The more I’ve heard about dictation as a means of text entry I’ve wondered if it’s something that I could be more efficient by using. Nuance, makers of Dragon Dictate, are by far the best game in town. After a bit of research I decided to get Dragon Express (AppStore). At $50 it was a quarter the price of the full version of Dragon Dictate and there there is an upgrade path to the full version. Here are a few thoughts on Dragon Express after a day.

The biggest issue was the setup of the application. Yes I knew I was in for a bit of training, but I did not realize I was in for almost an hour of watching the app ‘beach ball’ on every preference pane. Nor did I realize that I was going to break It seems that Dragon Express steals focus from Alfred all the time, but it’s not only Alfred. Dragon Express steals focus from any type of launcher application, Alfred just seems to be the worst one for it.

This stealing focus bug has been sitting around in Dragon Express since the update in April. So that means it’s been ignored for four months. Almost by definition dictation users are going to be ‘power users’, and I would think that ‘power users’ are pretty likely to have an application launcher of some type.

With, what I expect to be a large overlap between the communities using Dragon Express and Alfred, this bug is pretty inexcusable.

To compound this bug, the bug submission/support query process is terrible. I can’t even submit a bug yet because Apple has not emailed me my order of Dragon Express. Nuance requires your order number to submit a support ticket. I develop web applications and I want to make bug reporting as frictionless as possible. It’s rare you get a user to submit a bug at all, so making it hard is a sure fire way to make sure that few will submit a bug at all.

It’s almost like Nuance doesn’t want bugs submitted because they have little interest in fixing them.

Overall I do like being on the speak my text. It takes a bit of getting used to but I’m not sure that I really love Dragon Express at this point. Since I can’t leave it running and have Alfred work I can’t take advantage of the quick key to bring up the dialogue. That makes Dragon Express way less useful than it should be.

I’ll write a longer review at some point too.

2 responses to “Dragon Express, buggy buggy”

  1. James Strocel Avatar

    Now that Mountain Lion takes dictation, won’t Dragon be pushed out of the Mac market now?

  2. curtismchale Avatar

    Not likely. Dragon does live dictation (you can watch the words appear). Mac works like Siri, you speak the text then wait for it to hit the server and come back. That means you could speak a whole sentence and not know there was an error. Also if the server rejects it for any reason you just lost everything you said.

    They were just talking about it on the last Hypercritical episode and John is a big dictation guy.