I bumped into the Microsoft Speech Recognition Package on my Windows Vista accidentally. And I am fascinated by the fact that now I can talk my computer into doing many things. It listens and almost listens well.
This is what I did: I opened my Start Menu. I went to Control Panel and clicked on Speech Recognition. I was taken through what ever I had to do to help by computer capable of listening to what I say. And then there was a tutorial, which helped me understand how my computer listens and what I must do to make it listen better.
I am an Indian. So I have this accent that native speakers may not understand and my computer speaks English the way a native speaker would. Initially, I had trouble making it understand what I am trying to say and often made me feel frustrated. That was when I noticed an option that helps me train my computer to understand my accent. I trained my computer for sometime and realized that it was getting better the more I used Speech Recognition to interact with my computer.
I am told two things really matter when it comes to using the Speech Recognition on Vista. One, you should have a good microphone. A microphone that picks less background noise. Two, you should speak clearly. Not too fast and not too slow.
I am also told that you can add words to the Speech Recognition Dictionary. I tried this. I went to Speech Recognition and clicked on Speech Dictionary. There you get a link to add a new word. All that i had to do was to click the link, add the word and teach my computer how I pronounced it. You can also decide if you want the word to be always start with a capital letter or only sometimes with a capital letter.
Initially, it was fun making my computer listen to me. But then as days went by, I realized that this function has such power that it can change the way you look at technology. [Make you more lazy, I mean ... !!] Now i use Speech Recognition to dictate my mails to the computer and what not. It's really making life easy!!]
Guys, guess what, you can install this programme on your XP too. Try visiting the Microsoft Speech Site.