When I fell a couple winters ago and broke some fingers in my left hand, I started
toying around with a dictation feature on the iPhone. The microphone next to the space bar on the keyboard is far more accurate than Siri, and last
month I showed an 80-year-old writer in one of the memoir-writing classes I lead how to use it:
- Go to Settings.
- Swipe until you get to “General.”
- Swipe to Siri, and then turn Siri on. (Even if you don’t want to use Siri at all, you need to turn it on for any speech recognition to work.)
- Tap on the spot of the screen where you usually type.
- When the qwerty keyboard appears, look for the microphone icon by the space bar on your keyboard and tap it. When you’re done, tap the screen twice to end dictation.
I explained that she could include punctuation by just saying “exclamation mark” or “period” or “comma” and so on. She mastered it so quickly that she’s already using the microphone dictation method to write her essays.
One thing I still need to tell my octogenarian writer (and remind myself) is how easy it is to go back to the QWERTY keyboard to fix typos or edit a message before sending it. I texted more than usual during the World Series this past week and was so excited by all the action on the field that I didn’t use the qwerty fix-it method as much as I should have. Some examples:
- Friends texted to let me know South Loop Club had the music down, the TV broadcast sound was on, did I want to meet there for a beer and be able to hear the game? I dictated a text that said, well, “I am feeling thirsty.” The message they got said I was feeling 30.
- In the game where the Astros fell behind by four in the early innings, I dictated a text encouraging a fellow Astros fan to stay positive. “Eyebrows up!” I said. The message he received read, I grows up!
- When back-and-forth extra-inning games left me drinking later than usual, I dictated a text to a friend and said I needed to practice “moderation.” The message my friend received said I needed to practice mortification.
- After the Astros won Game Five, I dictated a note to a friend that if the Astros clinched the next night, I’d be free on Wednesday to go with her to a poetry slam. The message she got said I’d go with her to a piety slam.
- I stayed home for Game Seven to listen to it on the radio, but Mike headed to Kasey’s Tavern across the street. Somewhere in the second or third inning I texted him by dictating, “I love these Astros!” the text he received said I love these assholes!
So take a lesson from me. Let’s be careful out there, fellow dictators.