IBM has posted the free 1.0.2 update to its ViaVoice continuous speech recognition software, correcting some annoying minor bugs such as problems with extra spaces, backtracking over errors, and training words with special characters. However, selection glitches remain, plus the program’s understanding of how spacing, punctuation, and capitalization relate is also still decidedly primitive. For more comments on ViaVoice, see the TidBITS Talk discussion on the topic. ViaVoice has a street price of $80 from companies like TidBITS sponsors Outpost.com and Aladdin Systems, which includes a noise-cancelling microphone headset.
Meanwhile, Dragon Systems has informed its beta testers that it will renege on its May 1999 joint pledge with Apple to bring NaturallySpeaking to the Mac, pending the release of Mac OS X. We and others in TidBITS Talk were skeptical of Dragon’s ability to produce a continuous speech recognition product for the current Mac OS; it seems our skepticism was well-founded. (Their Voice Power Pro – an update to Power Secretary – is apparently still available, primarily in the UK market.) And MacSpeech has promised its new iListen and iDictate products, based on the Philips speech recognition engine, for "late spring" (read: aim for July’s Macworld Expo and pray).