08-09-201103:56 PM - edited 08-10-201111:22 AM
I last attended school a couple years ago, so one would think that enough time has passed for me to dispose of all my old binders, textbooks and course catalogs. I got rid of everything I could have as soon as I graduated by either recycling it or selling it back to the university bookstore. Imagine my surprise then when I discovered a box of physics, calculus and history lecture notes buried beneath the drafting supplies in my office closet this past Saturday.
I didn’t have any other plans that afternoon, so I decided to skim through every notebook in the box to figure out why I would’ve kept them. There were notes from presentations I could have sworn I missed because I fell asleep in class. There were highlighted and underscored blurbs from professors who frequently inserted subtle jokes into their lectures. And there were countless doodles from forgettable (and confusing) group meetings and projects. In the end, I think I spent an hour trying to make some sense of it all.
It wasn’t until after I broke the box down and pitched its contents that it finally hit me: I kept those notes with the intention of sharing them with a friend who wound up taking many of the same courses I did. I also thought they might come in handy with future course work. They simply got misplaced when I moved after graduation. Had the notes been digital I probably wouldn’t have lost them – I remember where nearly everything is stored on both my computer and backup hard drive. In fact, a program like Dragon NaturallySpeaking probably would have come in handy.
Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a speech recognition title that’s available for PCs, Macs and select mobile phones. It supports general dictation, as well as voice-directed web browsing and text-to-speech options for existing files. The latest version (11.5) even allows you to post to Facebook or Twitter with a simple voice command. It’s compatible with Microsoft Word and Microsoft Outlook, several web browsers and Open Office Writer.