Jon Aquino's Mental Garden

Engineering beautiful software jon aquino labs | personal blog

Friday, May 19, 2006

Voice recognition establishing a kind of bond with the computer

As I say, I've recently been using voice commands to launch programs, run macros, and start mp3s ("Computer, play Danger Zone please") and am realizing that even though these commands may take longer to say than to type or click, interacting verbally with the computer is giving me a new level of consciousness as I work. It's the consciousness of a surgeon who says "scalpel", "scissors", except in my case as my left hand holds down keys and right hand drags the mouse I'm saying "Computer, calipers please", "Firefox please", "Close window please". Some others:
  • Copy window please (Snag-It)
  • iTunes please
  • Page down please
  • jEdit please
  • Toggle Firebug please
  • View Source please (Ctrl+U)
I'd originally added "please" to the commands to distinguish them from background noise, but am finding that it does add something a bit human (or at least sentient) to the machine. And the ability to make verbal requests for programs and actions allows me to maintain focus on whatever I'm working on (as opposed to hunting through menus to find the tools I need; even working the keyboard to get some tool can degrade concentration).

"Computer, Blogger please."


  • I dare you to throw basic mouse gestures in there; minimize; maximize, close tab/document, close window, new tab/document, cut, copy, paste

    I suggest:
    minimize: top-right to bottom left
    maximize: bottom-left to top-right
    close tab/document/tabless window: L shape (down then right)
    Close application (including all tabs): down then left
    New window/tab/document: Down
    Cut: bottom-right to top-left
    copy: Up
    paste: Top-left to bottom-right

    Once you are used to this, each command becomes a flick of the wrist, and it's even faster than talking or using the cursor.

    It becomes less like:
    Nurse, prep my hands, please
    Nurse, put on my gloves, please
    Nurse, hand me scalpel, please
    Nurse, towel my forehead, please

    And turns it into:
    [washed my hands, put on the gloves that were waiting for me]
    Nurse; Scalpel, please
    [move head towards nurse; forehead is towelled]

    It further humanizes the interface and increases your involvement by adding another 'sense' to the equation.

    [note; I am still waiting for a linux gesture app as good as strokeit for the pc; there are a couple that work, though. It was almost a deal-breaker during the switch, and no; individual apps using gestures doesn't count]

    I offer because I can see we think alot alike, and you've given me a new perspective; I thought I would repay in kind :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/19/2006 11:02 p.m.  

  • Anon - gestures - great idea!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/19/2006 11:31 p.m.  

  • On a pure emotional level I would have a hard time saying please to my computer. Let us know when it answers back.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/20/2006 11:40 p.m.  

  • Heh - actually I've got text-to-speech turned on in my IRC program (mIRC) so it does talk back to me in a sense :-)

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 5/21/2006 1:02 p.m.  

Post a Comment

<< Home