Dragon 11.5 with a Lenovo ThinkPad T420, Flash, and a few considerations

O yeah, I owe reviews. Handy is rusty. The retaliation for speaking up for myself continues to be nasty and subtle and draining. This is not a post-ADA world. So, as I’m taking a snow day and dictating over the  freezing rain, a few things.

My new laptop is a refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad, which I bought because it’s the most accessible laptop brand out there in terms of hardware. I like to support that, even if I can’t physically use every feature. I’m using Dragon on it rather than Windows Speech Recognition, primarily because it’s easier to force Dragon to work with noncompliant programs. When I set it up, though, I had to do some tweaks. In no particular order:

The ThinkPad came with Word 2010 Starter, and Dragon will not cooperate with it because the starter edition doesn’t support plug-ins. Also, Dragon will hang or return error messages if the related processes are running in the background: CVH.exe, OSPP.exe. So I went into Control Panel — Administrative Tools — Services and right-clicked Cloud Virtualization Handler and Office Software Protection Platform, and clicked Properties. Then, under Startup Type, I chose Disabled. Then I just went back to using Jarte, which still works with Dragon.

IMPORTANT: I don’t think Dragon ever liked Flash, but now it really doesn’t like it. Every time I tried to use Firefox, Dragon would eventually hang and/or return hookerr_mutex or nonotifywindow errors, both when it ran in the foreground and the background. Through process of elimination, I figured out it was probably Flash, and killed it. That worked, except it rendered a large portion of the Internet invisible. So I did a couple of things. First, I joined the YouTube HTML 5 trial, which lets you watch compliant videos without Flash. Then I downloaded FlashBlock, which lets you turn Flash on or off at your discretion. If you also have NoScript installed, be aware that FlashBlock needs JavaScript to run. NOTE: if you have Netflix, Dragon will still work with Silverlight.

The specifications of my laptop are midrange: an i5 processor and 4 GB of RAM. Dragon is totally fine with this; dictation and commands are as fast as I need them to be, and the accuracy is unchanged. One thing I did, to be on the safe side, was to go into the Power Options in the Control Panel and click Maximum Performance. It’s been working beautifully.

One more thing, which might just have been me: when I installed the newest control software for the Andrea SuperBeam microphone, I couldn’t get the beam settings to show up in the Control Panel Sound option. Fortunately, I had saved the older drivers to a flash drive, and it’s working fine now.

In other news: the development of Mouseless Browsing has stopped. Fortunately, there is still typeaheadfind.linksonly. Upcoming reviews: another way to auto scroll Kindle for PC by voice.

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