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                            Mind Your Words

                                                                                         Humor by Lance K. Pugh

                                                             April 1, 2009


A lot of writers are only limited by their ability to type information via their keyboards into their word processor of choice. Some of us hunt and peck at 35 words per minute while a few can reach and sometimes exceed 100. I chug along at about 65 which is almost right, though I do, in fact, think faster than my digits deign delightful.

While pondering the problem I realized that the solution was already at hand. I simply hooked up a high quality microphone, installed the already trained voice recognition software, integrated the word processor and was off, at about 150 words per minute. It seemed the answer to my prayers as I splashed words across the screen like a house painter in a hurricane. Editing would come later, but for covering large expanses like a spray gun, my solution seemed well-suited for those who can speak like a tobacco auctioneer trying to complete the day’s sale before the next tornado touched down.

As with everything in this world, there are always drawbacks to innovation. For instance, I discovered that mumbling a blur of wandering words into a headset microphone can be a major distraction to the uninitiated. It also prompts more editing as intent is muddied by bull-whipped gasps of inspiration that threaten to overflow the buffers and leak into other files, which might easily result in a host of epithets being incorporated into your computerized tax filings. Serving twenty years for thinking out loud is not my goal.

Training your system to recognize your speech patterns can cause some concerns, as exemplified by one of my first attempts below:

“Just the nother ray I wuz talking my frog, Splinky, for some exorcism along the mailroad tacks, when puddingly, we were hailed astride and reminded that Splinky needed to be on a six beet lash and under komptrol at all limes.”

Though it took me only three seconds to enter the above text, the time spent editing it back into English and into the wee hours of the night like a handful of piranha after a slow swimming fat hog.

TypingHatThings got worse before they got better. You can only imagine how embarrassed I was when I realized that out-going emails contained not only my intended message by the audio, translated to text, of any background noise available…from radio talk shows to television commercials. My usual tsunami of inbox messages fell off a cliff and anything left to read was as dry as California.

To simplify things, I began to speak in macros, using code words to signify a much more vast message. The problem then was that a hiccup could initiate a three page rant about healthcare, the economy or other topics too delicate to mention here.

I am now experimenting with direct mental input, having wired up a colander to my cell phone. Once I can get things automatically translated from Italian to English I think the technique won’t be so draining, though it is distracting and disconcerting to keep on reading that all time references are “half-pasta.”


Travel writing from afar

( was last heard blabbering to his two new best friends: Marinara and Alfredo.)

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