September 30, 2014

Mountain Lion Dictation time limit

I was not particularly excited to upgrade to Mountain Lion, OS X 10.8. There was one feature however that I really wanted to take advantage of,  namely Dictation.

I’ve been using Dragon Dictation on my iPhone and find it quite accurate and very helpful for creating quick emails and notes in lieu of using the abysmal on-screen keyboard. I figured that Mountain Lion would have a great implementation of a dictation app and it does, sort of.

The accuracy is quite good. I can speak rather normally and have had very few mistakes in the text output. The most glaring limitation I’ve found is that there is a roughly 30-second time limit for dictation. This reduces the usefulness of the app to almost that of a novelty.

Try this… start dictating and count from “1.” See how far you get before Dictation beeps at you and stops.

Better yet, I’ll do it right now and paste the text result right here:

123 456-789-1011 1213 1415 1617 1819 2021 2223 2425 2627

A couple things to point out here… I was counting normally with a slight pause between each number. As you can see by the transcript, Dictation combined my numbers into groups, in some cases placing dashes between numbers and didn’t make a single mistake other than the formatting of the numbers. Speaking normal sentences gives a much more satisfying result, but with the time limitation it is not very practical.

I’m extremely disappointed that I cannot dictate for longer than 30 seconds. The time limitation makes Dictation a mostly useless feature for dictating emails, letters or anything other than very short blurbs.

Dictation was the main impetus for me to upgrade to Mountain Lion. I’m just beginning to explore the other features of the OS, but Dictation is a big disappointment primarily because of the time limitation.

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