Continuous Speech Recognition Pipes Up -- Following closely on Dragon Systems' announcement last May of plans to develop a version of NaturallySpeaking for the Macintosh, both IBM and MacSpeech are raising the stakes for continuous speech recognition technologies on the Mac. During Steve Jobs's Macworld keynote, IBM's W.S. "Ozzie" Osborne demonstrated a version of IBM's ViaVoice system for the Mac OS, which both handles continuous speech input from a user and also reads text back using the Mac OS's existing text-to-speech technology. According to IBM, versions of ViaVoice for U.S. and U.K. English should be available by the end of 1999, with support for other languages to follow; no information on pricing or system requirements was released. Not to be outdone, Andrew Taylor's upstart MacSpeech, sporting the development team from Articulate Systems' PowerSecretary, announced an agreement to license continuous speech recognition technology from Philips Speech Processing to create continuous speech recognition products exclusively for the Mac. Although MacSpeech also hasn't released details on product pricing or system requirements, they also claim English-language products should be available by the end of 1999. [GD]
Extend Mac OS X's Screenshots
Mac OS X has a variety of built in screenshot methods. Here's a look at a few that offer more versatility than the basic full-screen capture (Command-Shift-3):
• Press Command-Shift-4 and you'll get a crosshair cursor with which you can drag to select and capture a certain area of the screen.
• Press Command-Shift-4-Space to select the entire window that the cursor is over, clicking on the window will then capture it. The resulting screenshot will even get a nice drop shadow.
• Hold down the Space bar after dragging out a selection window to move your selection rectangle around on the screen.
• Hold down Shift after dragging out a selection to constrain the selection in either horizontal or vertical orientation, depending on the direction of your drag.
• Hold down Option after dragging out a selection to expand the selection window around a center point.
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