IBM Ships ViaVoice Speech Recognition — IBM has shipped ViaVoice for Macintosh, the first continuous speech recognition program available for the Mac OS. (IBM announced the product last July at Macworld.) The $80 ViaVoice includes a noise-cancelling headset microphone and requires a PowerPC G3 or G4 Macintosh introduced after August 1998 (233 MHz or faster), Mac OS 8.5.1 or later, 48 MB of RAM, and 200 MB of disk space. ViaVoice needs to be trained to an individual user’s voice profile, but thereafter users can dictate text into its SpeakPad application, then transfer the spoken text to directly supported programs or another application via the clipboard.
Longtime TidBITS contributor Glenn Fleishman <[email protected]> has described his ongoing difficulties with ViaVoice in TidBITS Talk; possible early adopters might wish to read his experiences. Glenn did discover the lone Macintosh ViaVoice support person happened to be an Italian in Scotland. As Glenn put it, "So I’m on the phone to New York, transferred to Scotland, talking to an Italian person about standard English voice recognition. (The next line should be, "and a priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into my office.")" [ACE]