Favorite Things

Tools of the Trade | Typing.com

Tools of the Trade Typing.com

 

I work at an elementary school in the computer lab. One of my main jobs is to teach the children how to type. I tell them all the time to keep their hands on home row. Over and over I use analogies to help them understand how much faster they could type if they just took the time to learn how to type correctly.

What they don’t know is that I was just as bad as they were when I was a kid. Granted, typing wasn’t as big of a deal back then. We still took our tests on paper and wrote essays by hand in class.

I was that kid that only put my hands on the right keys if the teacher was looking and complained that I could type so much faster if I didn’t keep them on home row.

It wasn’t until I was in high school, trying to keep up with five MSN messenger chats at a time that I finally learned to type quickly and keep my hands on those home keys. My ability to type quickly has influenced my ability to do what I really love, writing.

Even though these days I tend to write everything out by hand first, it still speeds up the time that it takes me to copy it over to the computer. There’s no way that I would have been able to finish my 50000 words for NaNoWriMo when I was in college if it had taken me hours to get my 1667 words for the day. Instead it only took me 45 minutes or less (so long as I wasn’t also procrastinating…).

However, I realize that a lot of people were like me. We didn’t realize the value in learning to type! Well, that’s where typing.com comes in. It’s a program that I use with my students, but it’s 100% free to join and use. I still use it to practice (and to show the kids how fast you can type if you learn the right way). So if you’d like to learn to type, or you’d just like to learn to type a little faster (I definitely taught myself how to type some of the keys wrong) then head on over!

Favorite Things · Her Ink

Tools of the Trade | Voice Dictation

TOOLS OF THE TRADE | VOICE DICTATION-2
A few weeks ago, my husband Brian and I saw the movie Passengers. In the movie, Jennifer Lawrence plays a writer named Aurora. After realizing that she has woken up too soon, she finally gets back to what she loves doing… writing. However, in the whole movie, I don’t think I saw one pen, or even a keyboard. She writes by speaking.
Admittedly, I really like Jennifer Lawrence and I wanted to see if I could do that too.
Around the same time I had a friend at work who had to go in for Carpal tunnel surgery, so I started worrying about that. I use my hands for EVERYTHING. I’m a writer, so I type and write by hand. I’m a hand letterer, so I use them for art and lettering. I want to take care of my hands and make them last as long as I can.
My little sister has Lupus, so typing is hard for her, so I’d heard about Dragon Speaking Naturally. I was thinking it would be pretty cheap…
It’s about 300$. Not only is it 300$, but it’s less accurate for a Mac, which is what I use.
Being that I don’t have 300$ laying around (my husband has been out of work for three months, and even before that we definitely weren’t rolling in dough), I wanted to see what else was out there.
I read a few articles and considered my options. Most of the options that I saw in the articles were Dragon Speaking naturally. It’s like they have a corner on the market or something. Then I found a blog post about Google Voice typing. I’m already a huge fan of Google Drive so I thought I would try it out.
I fell instantly in love.
I’ve been trying to get my last novel that I’ve been working on by hand typed up for awhile, but just typing what I’ve already written is kind of boring for me. However, reading it out loud has several advantages.
  1. The computer does the typing for me.
  2. I can hear the awkward sentences, or see if things are flowing smoothly, while accomplishing another step.
  3. Because voice typing is not 100% accurate I read over it again. Usually there aren’t too many mistakes and my work gets another once through.
  4. I feel super cool.
Number 4 might be the most heavily weighted.
I used Google Voice typing to type up my post about General Conference actually. It’s so fun to watch what you say magically appear on the screen. I was head over heels for Google Voice Typing until I found Mac Dictation.
The first time I tried it I was geeking out so badly and smiling so widely that I almost couldn’t speak. No one was home, but I kept looking around to tell someone, “Can you believe this! Look at this!”
It’s even MORE accurate than Google Voice Typing. If you have a Mac, you can start using it pretty much right away. Plus, you can even download it to your computer so that you can use it when you don’t have internet.
I highly recommend both of them. Especially if you’re a slow typer. Or, even if you just want to feel cool and justify it by saying you’re saving your hands.
Have you tried Voice Dictation? What did you use? How did you like it?