Thursday, May 8, 2008

Can I phase out capitalization?

I speculate that I can improve my productivity by 45% if I could just ignore capitalization rules. Usually Microsoft Office applications will capitalize the first word in a sentence (which is tremendously helpful) , but there are many situations where it does not work. Also some words will be capitalized when they shouldn't be, I suspect DNS is responsible for this problem - the vocabulary uses the capitalized version of the word even though I intended to use the other. I spend so much time correcting capitalization errors. I'm sure I miss up to 10% of the errors in my documents. My life would be so much easier if I could just set the computer to all lowercase and get away with it!

I think part of the problem is the word "cap". I wish I could replace this or with another word that is more recognizable and easier to say.

I also get very confused when I train words. Sometimes the word appears capitalized in the training dialog box, and other times the spoken version appears, "Cap+word". I don't say "cap" when I see a capitalized word in the training dialog box, but I say the word "cap” + word when the spoken form is in the training dialog box. I wonder if there are best practices to improve the situation.


Todd Chapin said...

Hi Molly,

What applications are typically dictating into? I find that with most web forms, like Gmail or blogger posts or comments, a dragon treats them as a nonstandard window and so cannot use all the tips and tricks that it does in a 'standard' window. One way around that is use the dictation box, dictate Internet, and then paste the text into the field that you want to import to.

I dictated this post with the dictation box, and all of my capitalization was correct.


Todd Chapin said...

Hi again Molly,

I forgot to mention that I've been interested in reading about your thoughts about the Utter Command product. What do you find that it does better than Dragon NaturallySpeaking by itself? What things does Utter Command allow you to a Dragon does not allow you to do at all?



Molly said...


Yes, capitalization does behave differentially standard & nonstandard Windows. the Web can be a truly bizarre experience because different text fields on same page may behave differently depending upon how they were constructed.

I am going to try to troubleshoot by listing the occasions when I use capitalization.

(1) the first letter of the first word in a sentence (or the first letter of a first word in a list :-). Microsoft handles this very well in some cases. I do run spelling/grammar correction in Microsoft office (despite some advice that keeping the use running may be bad for DNS performance). However, this is not foolproof. I have not been able to detect when this works, and when this does not work. I often find that I do need to manually capitalize the first letter of the first word in a sentence. This could be due to improper use of punctuation! For example, as I created this very list I pressed the character "1" followed by ")". The first letter of my first word was not capitalized. I will see what happens on the second item if I follow the number by using a period not a parentheses.

2. My second capitalization pain point is proper nouns. I think I get the most errors from in-line caps. (oh look, the first letter of the first word was actually capitalized here after I typed "2."). I guess an example of this type of capitalization would be when I type project management. Sometimes I want to capitalize this, Project Management, and sometimes it is simply project management. I wonder if there is some word to describe this phenomenon in grammar/punctuation lingo.

3. my third capitalization pain point happens when addressing e-mails. (Odd, the first letter of the first word was NOT capitalized after I typed "3." like it was when I typed "2.") I think actually this problem is also the proper noun problem. Microsoft office applications, and DNS seemed to know that some proper nouns, like my name, should be capitalized. However I am in the habit of saying "cap Molly" even though Molly would be understood by both Microsoft office & DNS to be capitalized. I think it's this unnecessary capitalization that types the word "cap" and often "cat" in my documents.

At any rate, the dictation window may in fact be more accurate and consistent in Microsoft office documents (or even this text field on However, I'm just too lazy to use the dictation window! Because my keyboard sits in front of me it is easier for me to type (in pain) than use the dictation window... perhaps this needs to change.

What other kind of capitalization issues can you think of?

Molly said...

As I have mentioned before I totally believe that I cannot use DNS without Utter Command. I realize this is not particularly helpful for you unless I know why I believe so strongly about this product. I'm working on that explanation.

I did not evaluate other products, such as knowbrainer, nor did I consider utilizing products like Vocola to write my own macros. I think there may be several ways to make Dragon usable, but I strongly believe that Dragon is simply not usable on its own for the type of computing that I do.

More to follow...