Sunday, November 16, 2008

Naturally Speaking, Ghost Hunters, EVP, Walt Disney World

Sorry for the lack of posts over the past week but I took my wife and kids on a spontaneous trip to Walt Disney World and we got back last night at 2:30 in the morning. It was a hard 14-hour ride in the car with two screaming kids! I take that back as they were actually very good but today they have been quite restless. The week was so busy that now they are having a hard time adjusting to the slow-down since we are home.

The trip was nice but we all had the stomach flu, pretty much one after the other, and my wife and I were the last ones to get it. I have had a migraine headache all day so I pretty much sat here and watched Ghost Hunters…one of my favorite shows. It ties in with genealogy a little bit in that we both deal with dead people. We as genealogists try to find traces of past lives on paper whereas the Ghost Hunters try to find them literally. I have actually consider volunteering my services to a local ghost hunting group but I just have not had the time to dedicate to that cause.

While I was sitting here today, I stated thinking about getting a little tape recorder and taking it with me to all of cemeteries that I visit. That is one of the things that the Ghost Hunters do…collect EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) samples. You can apparently pick up disembodied sounds, things that you would not necessarily hear with your naked ear, but can be heard on playback. I know it sounds crazy but sometimes these recordings are pretty impressive. I trust the Ghost Hunters a lot as I have been watching the show for about five years now. I respect their honesty and integrity and trust the evidence that they present.

Being bored tonight, I ended up going to Target. I was thinking about getting one of those voice recorders. While searching I got sidetracked, noticing a program called Naturally Speaking. This program comes with a little headset where you speak into your computer and it types what you say, in real time. I am actually using it right now and it seems to be doing fairly well. I am sure I will go back and do some proofreading but I would do that anyway!

I started thinking of ways that Naturally Speaking could be beneficial for genealogists. It could help those who would love to write their life story but are not good at typing or are perhaps not extremely computer-literate. Either way this program could be beneficial to the genealogy market. I personally have found myself many times sitting there, talking out loud, repeating some of the stories I have learned about my ancestors over the years. Now you can put those words to use and let the computer jot them down!

You can speak supposedly six times faster than you can type so there is the possibility of getting a lot more information on paper in a shorter amount of time. Take a blog like this one, I need written content but I do not always have a lot of time to sit there and type. This is perhaps something that could open new doors for me but I have to check out the proofreading aspect of it in detail. If I spend three-times longer proofreading, it might not be worth the effort.

I also noticed there is at least one accessory that I can add on to Naturally Speaking…the portable, digital tape recorder. The same recorder that could capture EVP samples can be plugged into your computer and the program will go back and type the things that you recorded. That could ultimately solve one major conflict that I have with video on my blog…indexing. I have been reluctant to create videos for the blog, despite being mentioned in the past as a possibility, because you cannot index the contents of a video in a search engine unless you transcribe it first. Naturally Speaking may be able to transcribe my videos. If that proves to be true, I might be more prone to adding videos to the site.

With that said, I just wanted to give this a whirl and see where it took me tonight. I am going to stop now and do a little editing. I am however going to say a popular verse and see how the program does with it. I am not going to make any corrections to the section below, so you can see how well the program fares…

“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all”

I am going to go ahead and do one more thing since it did pretty good there…

“20:20 call liberals thought how I wonder what you are up for the world so I like to dining in the sky between cool twinkle to the post on how I wonder what you or”

(Needless to say…it did not do well with my singing of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star!)

[After going back and editing this piece, it feels like the program was not worth the time it took to make corrections. I am going to try it a few more times but so far I would have saved time by simply typing].

1 comment:

Keta said...

I liked this little blog. Ghost Hunters huh? That is also one of my faves. Have even tried some evp work myself. Anyway, your suggestions have helped me alot over the last couple of weeks. I am kinda lucky though, I have, on both sides of my family, genealogist (or family historians if you prefer) so I get alot of help there. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

Keta