This is a one of the most strange and uncomfortable columns I’ve had to write in the past six months or so.
The problem is that I had to type it all out manually instead of dictating it, as I’ve been doing since getting my hands on a copy Dragon Naturally Speaking. The program transcribes my spoken words into a wordprocessor file and, having learnt from all the corrections I’ve made, it’s pretty accurate.
I like dictating and have found that, if I sit quietly and note down the important points, I can dictate the column, have it transcribed onto my computer, edit it, and send it off in just over half the time it used to take to type it out. Unfortunately, I’m in the midst of reinstalling all my software on a new hard drive and didn’t manage to get Dragon moved across in time.
Canopus, my computer, was starting to show signs of age was sometimes cranky, like its owner, some might say, and unwilling to start. It had been running more or less continuously for four years and I got the message that I should probably be getting a new computer before it failed altogether. I am not a fan of Microsoft’s Windows Vista and I had been hoping that Canopus would last until the arrival of the next version of Windows, Windows 7, or until I won the Lotto and could buy an Apple.
That wasn’t to be, however, and I was wondering what to do about an operating system, when I noticed an article in a computer magazine. It reported many users of the test, or Beta, version of Windows 7 were so impressed that they were already using it as their main operating system.
Microsoft recently made the first release candidate of Windows 7 available on the internet and, seeing that a release candidate should be very close to the finished product, with most major bugs ironed out, I decided to take a chance and install it on the upgraded machine.
A friendly guru, Vaughan Willcox, stepped in with a copy of Windows 7 RC1 on a flash disk and I soon copied it to DVD disc and plugged it into the machine, now known as Cambria. So there I was with a copy of Windows 7 loading itself onto a completely fresh hard drive.
Quite frankly, I wasn’t expecting too much, having been a bit bitter and twisted about Microsoft in the past few years. The first surprise came when Windows 7, after asking a few questions about me and which part of the world I live in, breezed through the installation process and was ready for action, a bare 20 minutes later.
I have sat through many program and operating system installations over the years and this was about as quick and trouble-free as its gets. A far cry from the longest installation I can remember doing, which was Microsoft Office which, in those days, came on 50 floppy disks.
Installing Windows 7 was much better than that but, to hear exactly whether I managed to get to grips with it, and whether Dragon Dictate will agree to work on the new system, you’ll have to wait until next week.
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