Customer Service and the Future of Publishing

February 7, 2011

Communication is as challenging as it ever was.

The exchange was prompted by a post on Dan Gillmor’s excellent journalism blog on Salon.com. When I saw Dan on the Mac version I did the requisite Google search for an answer and got the usual spam-filled and out-of-date search results.

Like David Pogue at the New York Times I’ve been using Dragon Naturally Speaking since before Nuance bought it (he wrote Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Second Edition using Dragon on Windows). Unlike David Pogue, I could never get it to work satisfactorily. Until Version 11. It’s amazingly good. I’m 99% happy with it (the accuracy could always be better, but it is still miraculous). At the same time, I’m continuously besieged by my very-well-meaning Macintosh buddies to return to the Apple fold. I think they’re right, but after struggling with Dragon for a decade, I don’t want to step backwards. (Would the Windows version work just as well on a MacBook Air?).

Update, February 8, 2011:

Update, February 11, 2011:

After receiving today the comment from Gene Gable (below) it struck me as odd that I’ve not received a response from Nuance. The new rules of engagement for companies in this era of social media are to respond quickly to blogs, tweets, Facebook postings and comments about your products. Last September I posted a very minor complaint about the company on Amazon, and Peter Mahoney, SVP & GM, Dragon responded the same day. When I later commented on the product, ditto. It appears he still works there, so why doesn’t Nuance’s electronic press clipping service pick up on this post? (As you see above, it’s cross-linked to Dan Gillmore’s far-more-popular blog, so it shouldn’t be tough to find.)

My guess is it’s mainly because Google is now worthless for most product searches: it has been too thoroughly gamed by the SEO hordes. A Google search of blogs on “‘Dragon Naturally Speaking’ AND Nuance” produces just garbage and noise.

(When I Googled “too thoroughly gamed by the SEO hordes” to find an appropriate link, I found that search had been gamed as well, and most of the links were to “gaming”.)

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Flash vs. HTML 5: The Early Years

October 14, 2010

The future of Adobe’s Flash format is murky. I first glanced at Flash technology’s murk when Steve Jobs launched an attack last April. Jobs stated that “Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice…. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.”

Jobs pointed to HTML5, a W3C proposed standard, as the preferred alternative. The W3C released a new working draft of HTML5 on October 12. The development work is continuing at a near-feverish pace (by W3C standards of developing standards).

HTML5 is hot. In a May blog entry I covered Scribd’s dramatic commitment to HTML5 in lieu of Flash.

In September Computerworld offered:

The W3C is investigating the possibility of incorporating voice recognition and speech synthesis interfaces within Web pages. A new incubator group will file a report a year from now summarizing the feasibility of adding voice and speech features into HTML, the W3C’s standard for rendering Web pages. AT&T, Google, Microsoft and the Mozilla Foundation, among others, all have engineers participating in this effort.

html5-affect-seoSource: Varologic SEO Blog

But not all the news is positive. ZDNet reported this week that Facebook found that Flash still outperforms HTML5 for video on mobile devices (albeit modestly), “a zinger of sorts” in the Flash war.

And InfoWorld found a W3C official who stated that despite the hype, the HTML5 specification isn’t yet ready due to interoperability issues.

I guess I’m just the show-me tech guy. Here’s all I know about the technical limitations of Flash:

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