Monday, August 8, 2016

The Advantage of Earbuds

I have been playing with gadgets for a couple days. I have set up my iPhone on the Dell monitor. The monitor displays huge letters on the big space. I am preparing myself for when I am almost blind. With this set up I should be able to continue to write though almost blind. You can clearly parse the words; all the easier to pick out errors. And now I am dictating. It is an interesting experiment, but I think that my base model iPhone is too short on power to do the job consistently. I have to speak very slowly. The program gets hung up on grammar, and the vocabulary is limited. Also a corner of the screen tends to flicker when the iPhone is turned in landscape mode. Dictation is laggy, you have to speak very slowly. When, ceasing dictation, I pair up my Apple keyboard and wire my iPhone to the Dell monitor, that also is laggy. I intend to upgrade my iPhone soon. It is the direction I am going. But the iPhone comes nowhere near to being a desktop yet.

(By the way, you can use Emacs shortcuts in the app Plain Text. There are quite a few apps for writing on the iPhone. I pair Plain Text with Dropbox because Dropbox has never let me down in the five years or so I have been using it. But I am starting to use iCloud more and more. No particular reason.)

Very nice. Back to dictation. The number of characters that can be dictated at a time is limited. But with a more powerful iPhone I think dictation would be serviceable enough to write a major work with such as a novel. And you could write while moving around. Your basic writing machine would be in your pocket! Learn how to tell Siri to take a note, a name, a shopping list.

In order to enhance dictation I also purchased Bluetooth earphones. They weigh nothing. And they have range from the phone of perhaps 30 feet.

So there are three basic ways to write on your iPhone. You can dictate into the microphone in your earbuds. This way you can walk around and you don't need to stay right on top of your iPhone. You have to renew the done button after a short time or a certain number of characters, so you can't go very far away from it. Or you can dictate directly to the machine. In which case you have to carry it around. Or you can pair up your Bluetooth keyboard. Happy Hacker has recently brought out a Bluetooth keyboard. I don't know why the number of characters in dictation is so limited. Still each method has particular advantages. Unless you jailbreak there is no way to set up a mouse. You have to poke the phone to move the cursor. I don't see that as a deal breaker.

I personally like to use Dropbox. But there are other ways to go such as iCloud or directly to iPhone notes. I have done all of this blog by dictation. I notice that the sentences are shorter and inelegant. (Do you care?) I like the feeling of thinking and speaking. In my set up I have the monitor higher up than eye level. They say that is a good posture to think with. I need all of the help I can get. And I can walk around!

At first about six months ago when I began my career in dictation into my iPhone I never thought it would be worthwhile, or develop into something I could use for substantial writing. But the program has learned my voice and for the most part I can dictate for quite a while without having to go back and correct an error. Sometimes the program falters. It doesn't have a big vocabulary. Rebuke can come out as Reb Uker or delete as Del Eat. Sometimes you can go back and try to change it and the program will immediately change it back to something like deli eats, and so on. (You can change some tendencies in settings. For awhile the distinction between to and too was not accurately maintained. The program insisted on "to", but lately it has been doing better.) My personal style is uncomplicated; I blog as clearly and simply as I can for the few people left in the world who, suspicious of pictures, still love to read. The idea of dictation insists on brevity and simplicity.

When I dictate, I like how my sentences look and sound. I also like that when I dictate it is too much effort to figure out how to put bullshit so that it doesn't seem like bullshit.

Also, people you are not interested in talking to just plain hate people that have earbuds sticking out. It is a great advantage to wearing earbuds. God works in strange ways.

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