Voice Dictation Apps to Assist in Creating Journals? - CycleBlaze

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Voice Dictation Apps to Assist in Creating Journals?

Jeff Lee

Has anyone successfully used voice dictation software to help write journal entries  while on tour?

A lot of the time I'll have ideas for the day's journal while I'm riding, but it's a hassle to stop and type something on my phone. Several years ago, in the pre-smartphone era, I had a tiny voice recorder that I used on one tour to record my "insights" and "amusing" anecdotes while I rode. Then, at the end of the day, I would listen to the recordings to give me ideas for the day's journal. That worked fairly well for me - better than handwriting  notes on paper, anyway, even though it was something of a chore to listen to my own voice repeatedly (ugh), and then transcribe by hand.

I'm wondering if technology has now progressed enough that software for a smartphone can reliably convert speech to text. It would need to work without an internet connection, since that's not always available, of course. Has anyone tried something like this?

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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Jeff Lee

Good question.  I’ll be interested to hear what you learn.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the technology is there though.  Starting with our current tour, Rachael has been using the voice recognition feature of her new GoPro to issue simple commands while she’s biking - “GoPro, stop recording!” - to good effect.  She also used the phone to take verbal notes on rides back home, but only when we were stopped, and when we were connected.

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3 months ago
Gregory GarceauTo Jeff Lee

I don't know if there are any apps specifically for that purpose or not, but I can say that I have very little confidence in my Galaxy 8's voice-to-text capabilities.  And from what I've seen of some friends' texts from their i-phones, it isn't any better.  Some of the craziest mis-interpretations of words and sentences come out of those things no matter how much care you take to annunciate correctly.

On a bike trip a few years ago I met a guy who was posting on CrazyGuy and I read his well-written journal.  A year later he wrote another one.  Also pretty good.  The next journal he wrote was so full of strange phrasings that, based on what I've seen of voice-to-text messages, it was clear to me HAD to be vocalizing his pages and posting them directly onto his blog.

Personally, I want to be in control of every word of my journals and I would not be comfortable relying on a voice-to-text app without some heavy editing.  Editing which, I think, would defeat the purpose of such an app.

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3 months ago
Scott AndersonTo Gregory Garceau

I agree, Greg.  I would never use discretion as a method for posting to the journal.  It might be helpful though as a memory enhanced to remind me of things I saw or thought of as I biked along.  I’m pretty sure that however mangled it came out it would be sufficient to jog my memory.  Mostly though I’d be afraid of careening off into a ditch or incoming car because I was focusing on the device instead of the real world.

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3 months ago
John PescatoreTo Scott Anderson

I use a Wahoo Elemnt bike computer on trips and don't have my cellphone running all day or mounted on the bars, I keep it packed away for emergency use or use at night. So, have never tried voice recognition while riding.

I did try using the software at night to create an email journal I sent out to friends/family each night and posted on my blog afterwards. I found the software has gotten better but there were enough typos that it was just as much work to correct them as it was to type the whole damn thing.

A few years ago I tore my rotator cuff and had surgery that put my right arm in a brace for a week or so and a sling for a few more weeks. To continue to work (biking was out obviously) I bought the Dragon voice to text software for my work PC, which was the top rated.  It was much, much better - but if I was carrying a Windows laptop on a bike trip, I think it would still be easier to  type.

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3 months ago
Jeff LeeTo Gregory Garceau

Oh, I would definitely need to edit the notes (transcribed from audio or otherwise) that I take during the day, in order to create the final version of the day's entry.

I'm interested in using a transcription app for a couple of reasons: First, I think that making notes by talking will be much faster than typing on a smart phone, and second, when riding I often think of things that I want to write about later, and I find myself composing nearly entire paragraphs in my head, which  then (because it's too much hassle to type them), I end up forgetting by the end of the day.

You might be right, of course - but I think the only way to really know will be to test out this approach.

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3 months ago