A few months ago, I decided to try out a new speech recognition program for the Mac. The program is called MacSpeech Dictate. It retails for $199, and comes complete with a USB microphone that works great. (In fact, I am using it to dictate this blog post).
Back when I first decided to try it, I found that worked fine as far as set up and basic dictation went. Unfortunately, I don't think my computer had enough RAM, or the program itself was not quite adept at capturing all of my dictation. Recently, MacSpeech Dictate was upgraded. I can say after trying the upgraded version for just a few hours that I will now be using it regularly. The new version includes spelling and phrase training, which are welcome additions.
One thing that held me back before, is that I type pretty well. So, unless a dictation program can help me output text faster than I can type, it would actually be a hindrance. Part of using a dictation program like MacSpeech, involves getting used to the process of dictating. Obviously, you can't do it in a noisy environment. But, assuming you are working in an office with privacy and minimal noise, dictating is much faster than typing—even if you are a very fast typist.
On the Windows side, I have heard that Dragon NaturallySpeaking works extremely well (much better than MacSpeech Dictate). David Pogue, the technology columnist for the New York Times, swears by Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I can now swear by MacSpeech Dictate. So, whether you're on the Windows side or the Mac side, if you've been tempted to try dictation software that time has come. Especially if your typing skills are mediocre.