Posting today using voice activation as opposed to typing…Ergonomics, vital as we age.

There are lots of pharmacies in Phuket but none seems to sell toiletries and cosmetics  do chemists in some other parts of the world.

Based on my current condition I have no alternative, but to begin using speech recognition software to avoid ergonomic anomalies as a result of sitting in a position that is exacerbating my condition.

It’s not my choice to prepare this post using my voice. I have to look at it as a new learning curve that only enhances my online experience and expertise while possibly aiding in my recovery with improved ergonomics. 

As we age, with more and more aches and pains, and for those with repetitive use injuries and conditions from years on a computer (many kids of today are already experiencing painful repetitive use conditions), the ergonomic use of speech recognition software will become more prevalent.

Talk about a pristine sandy beach!

Most computers built in the last 10 years or more have installed voice recognition  and narrative software. By going to “my computer,” then “control panel” or a similar location on your PC, tablet or device, you’ll find speech recognition with a means of activating it. Many are already using it on their smartphones or other devices.

(My last car which I sold a month before we left Minnesota, had a voice activated “command center” which I used on occasion as a safety feature and at other times as a fun novelty).

Tom noticed this small, well maintained wood boat.

By clicking on this location you’ll be instructed as to how to activate and begin using speech recognition. It can easily be turned on and off. The app will learn to recognize your voice based on practice while you speak into a microphone, headset or directly into the computer’s speakers. 

Yesterday, while considering this option I tested speech recognition using both a standard plug-into-the-ears headset comparable to those used to listen to music on your phone. But I also tried it without the headset by speaking into my laptop’s built in microphone. You don’t need a special device, although using one enhances the recognition of certain words.

I should mention that the software on my Windows 8.1 laptop had a link to a video with explicit instructions as to how to best use the speech recognition software. Most likely, I’ll watch this video and others available online to become more adept at using the software. 

Why use this feature? For many reasons, which in my case revolves around spending half of each day in a somewhat uncomfortable position while posting the blog. As I continue in my recovery I am considering every option that may precipitate a better and faster result. 

Chalong Beach on a cloud covered day.

I’ve noticed that on days when I spend less time at my computer I’ve felt slightly better. Of course, using the software as opposed to typing is no guarantee that improvement will be found from this one additional change in my daily activities. It’s a combination of many changes and adjustments.

Sure, one may say, “Stop sitting at your computer. Wouldn’t that be a simple solution?”

But, it’s much more complex than that when a huge portion of the enjoyment of our lives lies in traveling the world while sharing our stories with our readers. Why would I deprive myself and others of that enjoyment and purpose when there are alternate solutions that can work well especially during this interim period?

It’s not as if vacation homes have workstation, including desks and chairs with ergonomically adjustable options. It’s simply not available. In today’s world in some countries workers sitting at a computer all day have the right to request an ergonomically-correct workstation. 

Scattered among many newer more modern homes is a wide variety of older properties owned by locals.

Those of us using a computer “at home” have to figure this out on our own or with the help of a physical therapist, if available. Obviously, no such therapist is available to me at this time.

Over these past years of travel I’ve spent every morning sitting in some arbitrary chair with no less than two pillows on my lap onto which I’ve placed my computer.

By raising the computer I can avoid exacerbating my painful neck and spinal condition by having the computer closer to eye level. Unfortunately, after my recent injury I found that raising my arms to type only added to the pain and discomfort. Was there a happy medium?

It reminded me, not that I needed reminding, that Tom’s 88 year old brother Jerome is totally blind and has been so since 1970. Jerome learned to use speech recognition and narration software in the 1990s in order to be able to listen to text and speak, creating text while using a computer. We’ve always been in awe of Jerome for his adept skills in learning these processes.

Pond at the resort of a few days ago post where rooms go for as low as US $20, THB 693. Click here for details.

As it’s turned out over these past years, Tom has been copying and pasting each day’s blog minus the photos and sending only the text to Jerome via and email making it easier for him to access. 

On many occasions Jerome’s mentioned how much enjoyment he’s derived from the daily sharing of our story which he listens to. No words can describe how much this has meant to both of us.

I’m not certain using this speech recognition software is going to cause a substantial improvement as I continue to recover but there’s nothing to lose to try. Perhaps over a period of time I’ll reap the benefits of utilizing this means of typing as I prepare each daily post.

Many people with a wide array of disabilities are currently using speech recognition software. We can easily imagine many others could benefit from using the software but haven’t learned to do so. 

Many locals use these small local markets to shop for food and other grocery items.

Often family members and friends assume such a software is only important for the visually impaired when so many others could learn to use it as well. Many seniors never learned to type or do so with such deliberation it deters their interest in being online. The software can alleviate this common issue with a few short days of being shown how to use it and with a bit of practice.

If you know someone who can benefit from speech recognition or narration software and can accept the reality that some of the words will be incorrect when each person’s voice is different and the software may misinterpreted the spoken word.  

In writing to loved ones, who cares if a word or two is hard to decipher? Tom says it puts a smile on his face when Jerome uses narration and few word are hard to decipher. A quick rereading of the sentence easily clarifies the intent.

For me, it’s a little different when we’re posting a medium as somewhat of a business entity. As I’ve written today’s post almost entirely by voice I’ve corrected no less than 25 errors. However, I’ve seen that as time goes on and I become more adept at pronouncing words more succinctly, it will become easier. 

Two doors down and across the street from us is this cluttered yard with a cat looking up.

Will I use this over the long haul? At this point I’m unsure. We’ll see how it goes and if I derive some relief from the avoidance of holding my hands in this less than ideal position day after day. Most certainly, we’ll report back as time goes on.

I haven’t yet determined how to add the photos by using my voice but technology nut that I am, in no time at all, I’ll have that figured out as well.

Jerome, thank you once again for being an inspiration to us and may you serve as an inspiration to others who may find great enjoyment from being able to communicate with those they love and the online world.

Have a beautiful day! We’ll be back again with you soon.

Photo from one year ago today, August 24, 2015:

Pandan leaves from the Pandan Plant are used to make these beautiful fragrant bouquets we encountered at Rusty’s Market in Cairns, Australia. As quoted from the owner’s written material:  “The leaves are used in Southeast Asian cooking as well in making the “flowers” which act a repellent to roaches. In addition, Pandan leaves are said to possess medicinal benefits containing tannin, glycosides and alkaloids. The scents emitting from the flowers last a week and may be used as a freshener in cars, homes or washrooms.” For more photos, please click here.