Siri and the Dragon

I recently traded up my old iphone 3gs for an iphone 5.

As some of you readers know, I have been a sometime user of Dragon Dictation, the free app for my iOS devices. Given that, I was eager to try a side-by-side comparison of Dragon Dictation and the new iOS in app dictation option. As a side note: though Siri is also voice activated and involves speech recognition tech, I suspect the the in-app dictation feature and Siri are kind of separate functions (one is about transcription, while the other is about interpretation)–still, I just couldn’t resist the title of this post, plus I suspect that many people conflate the two.

Now, given that my ipad is of the generation that predates the in-app dictation option, this seemed an ideal opportunity to do the side-by-side test. I wasn’t particularly scientific about it, but was able to make note of some general overall trends. For those who are interested, I will insert the unedited dictations from both at the bottom of this post for your own perusal. Continue reading

Copyright and the Digital World Part III: The Experiment

So ultimately, if us creatives want to figure out what will work and what won’t, we need to start figuring out what the actual state of the culture is out there. Of course, that’s difficult, given that culture is elusive, constantly shifting, and therefore difficult to pin down.

But, we’ve got to start somewhere. So, I’ve decided to try something. This idea is in part inspired by the old storyteller model. The storyteller would tell his tale and those who liked it would pay, based on what they could afford and based on how much they liked the stories told.

Basically, I want to see if we actually do value writers, and their creations. I will do this by offering one of my novels–a Regency Romance (think Jane Austen, but without the zombies) called An Immodest Proposal. It’s a drawing room comedy of manners.

Continue reading

Copyright and the Digital World Part II: Why Shift Focus?

So, if it’s no longer about copying (or shouldn’t be) and it’s actually about use (or should be), then the question is: what do I mean by use*?

The way I see it, there are a lot of different ways that a work can be used:

  • “consumed” (read, listened to, etc.)
  • distributed
  • sold
  • adapted
  • sampled
  • etc.

With digitization, all these uses can be appropriated by anyone with a computer and the right programs installed.

By contrast, there are many benign reasons for copying a work and making multiple reproductions of it (e.g. so you have access to it from your various devices; printing off a fresh copy if you left your printout elsewhere and need to look at the work on the page etc.)–none of which are in any way cutting into the creator/rights holder’s ability to profit from their work, but which are illegal under a regime that emphasizes the right to copy.

Continue reading

Scrivener Scrivenings Part II

In Part I, I discussed some of the many ways that I use Scrivener for planning, plotting, drafting and editing my novels and short stories. In this section, I’m discussing some of my other uses for Scrivener.

Taking Notes in Class

Scrivener is not only useful for creative writing projects–I’ve also found it’s a good program for other purposes as well, such as taking notes in class. In that workflow, it’s different from most word processors because you can take notes for each individual class, but you can also view them as a continuous file. They can be easily compiled into a continuous Word or Pdf document for printing, or you can just compile one or two individual classes, should a classmate need notes from a missed session, for instance.

Next term, I also plan to use the index card feature to summarize what happened in each class, as a way of reviewing and studying the material. These index card notations can also be compiled as a Word or Pdf document as a quick references, for instance.

Continue reading

Scrivener scrivenings Part I

An Effective Writing Tool for Novelists and Short Story Writers

If you are a writer in possession of a Mac and you haven’t yet tried scrivener, I strongly suggest you get thee to thy computer and download the free trial–though it is probably best to hold off on giving it a try until you’re about to start a long project, such that you have a chance to work with it from the early stages. That way, you can get a taste of some of the real advantages Scrivener has over regular word processing apps. This includes the fabulously useful the index card feature, which can be recruited for planning your scenes and laying out different storylines, while seeing how the subplots can be interspersed to best effect, and so on. Continue reading