Dragon NaturallySpeaking: Dictation actually works!
As you probably know, I am writing quite a bit of stuff. Since I am in fact not a very fast typer, writing takes a lot of time. So two weeks ago I decided to give Dragon NaturallySpeaking
a try. In case you'd haven't heard about the product: it is voice-recognition/dictation software. It promises that you can dictate basically everything to your computer and have your computer transcribe it.
So I got a trial version from the German distributor
(who is also named Voelter :-)) and gave it a try over the last couple of days.
I have to say this stuff works really well. I am using it in German and English, and I have written a number of papers and articles with it. Although sometimes it makes mistakes, it generally works really well and makes me quite a bit more productive. A nice feature is, that it can scan your existing writings to learn new words including technical terms. So after of doing that, and training the system for a couple of minutes, you can dictate whole paragraphs without much manual correction. Of course you have to pronounce clearly ( I actually have to try to speak Hochdeutsch when I dictate German :-)) but you don't have to speak especially slow.
If you look around the Internet you will find that there are various different versions of Dragon. I am using the Professional version. The biggest difference to the cheaper versions is that it can keep track of and remember a much bigger vocabulary, so I guess if you want to write technical articles using Dragon you have to bite the bullet and buy the somewhat more expensive version. For me it will have paid for itself after a couple of technical papers and articles.
So if you're a writer I suggest you give it a try!
Embedding DSLs in Statically Typed Languages
I recently stumbled over two articles about embedding DSLs into compiled, statically typed languages (such as Java). While I am not a big fan of the approach (aka fluent APIs in Java) this article
by Miguel Garcia shows the only sane way of doing it: generating the necessary interfaces, classes and builders from grammars and meta models.
The other paper is one by Gilles Dubochet, and is called On Embedding Domain-specific Languages with User-friendly Syntax
. He talks about the features a programming language should provide to make embedding DSLs with (almost) arbitrary textual syntax feasible, going beyond fluent APIs. He illustrates the idea using Scala, which provides all these concepts.
DSL Devcon @ Microsoft
is organising a small conference on DSLs on the Microsoft capus in Redmond. They are looking for speakers.... see here
A new kind of Energy Storage?
If this really works, batteries might be a thing of the past, and notebooks, electric cars as well as this neat device
will be revolutionized: Supercaps, highly powerful capacitors. There's a new patent
that has been granted, and there's also interesting stuff on Wikipedia