Dragon’s Free Dictation App From My iPhone–Wow!

No one who uses an iPhone who I’ve shown it to has hesitated before downloading it!

This entry was dictated into my iPhone. Judge for yourself how good or bad Dragon Dictation is. It is a free app.

dragon-dictation-iphone.jpgLast week. My friend Peter Sacks send me a link to a new app for my iPhone call dragon dictation. I’ve been waiting the past few days to try and use it to dictate my blog. So here goes. Paragraph. Basically you just speak into the iPhone. There is no training necessary I’m not sure how to accomplish what I want to do because there are no instructions that come with the program! It would be more usable if it was more integrated into the iPhone. Now you have to cut and paste messages into a text message and you can’t say an address for an e-mail. Still, this is free is free is very good!

  • Sacks should be Sachs.
  • Dragon should be capitalized.
  • The word “paragraph” was meant to tell the program to begin a new paragraph. That might not be the right command.
  • The last sentence should be “Still this is free and free is good.”

When you speak your voice is sent to Dragon’s computers. All the heavy lifting is done there. On a wi-fi connection it is nearly an instantaneous transcript.

If there was better integration into the mail and text programs (I believe Apple’s policies prevent this) this app would be a killer. As it is now it’s very impressive. No one who uses an iPhone who I’ve shown it to has hesitated before downloading it!

My Nephew Matt Heads To New York City

I find NYC very appealing. As I’ve grown older my desire to live there has grown greater. Of course I would need to re-wife and re-job.

matt-opad.jpgWe are a small family. I have but one nephew–Matt. He flew into New York for a quick weekend visit and today I drove in to join him for breakfast.

I find NYC very appealing. As I’ve grown older my desire to live there has grown greater. Of course I would need to re-wife and re-job.

Guess no NYC.

queensboro_bridge.jpgI picked up Matt on 48th Street on the West Side, then headed crosstown finding a parking space adjacent to the building where Judge Judy lives.

Which is more surprising, that I know where Judge Judy lives or I got a free, legal, on-street parking space in Manhattan?

I suppose there are good ways to find a place to eat, but we just tried pot luck and ended up in a diner on First Avenue. Not bad. Very crowded. I had the bagels and lox special. Matt had waffles.

nyc-vertical-skyline.jpgAlong with taking Matt to breakfast I volunteered to take him to the airport. First, he asked if I’d take him to Ground Zero?

Simply put, that’s a request which cannot be turned down regardless of time constraints or circumstances.

We cut across on 34th Street past the Empire State Building, Macy’s and Madison Square Garden. As we approached the West Side I turned south, finally ending up at Vesey and West Broadway, a dead end at the edge of the pit.

ground-zero.jpgThere’s really not a lot to see. The work reconstructing the area has been very slow and plagued with disagreements and power plays.

There is a lot to feel. You just can’t go to that spot without remembering what happened.

By the time Matt got back to the car I’d made a U-turn putting me in the perfect position to almost go the wrong way on Broadway. I discovered my error just before driving into the police car pointed directly at me!

We took the Brooklyn Bridge to the BQE, passed over Newtown Creek, and then north through Queens to LaGuardia.

Hopefully Matt’s back in Milwaukee by now. It was great seeing him and worth every mile.

OJ’s Back

The trial has potential. And, best of all, it will be televised.

I’m not sure how to react, but it looks like my favorite TV show is being remade as a sequel–It’s OJ II! OJ is back, badder than ever. He’s charged, along with Clarence (C.J.) Stewart, with 12 counts including kidnapping and armed robbery, both of which carry potential life sentences in Nevada.

Judge Ito’s part has been recast. Now we’ve got Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass. I’m not sure we’re trading down.

“Listen folks,” she said. “The last thing you want me to do as the judge is to start losing my temper in front of the fine ladies and gentlemen of the jury and having to deal with all of you. You’ve been warned, folks.”

Firm, yet folksy. The trial has potential. And, best of all, it will be televised.

Just Call Me Geoff

Over time, more and more people have taken to calling me Mr. Fox. It’s a little disturbing, because I don’t want to be that old.

I usually tell them, “My name is Geoff. Mr Fox lives in a condo in Florida.”

Of course Mr. is the least of the titles you can have with your name. You could be Dr., or Rev., or Senator, or… well the list is nearly endless.

A few years ago, while perusing the British Airways website I came across their choice of titles. I saw the list cited today on another website and thought I’d post it here – just for fun.

Some are so obscure, I have no idea what they could possibly be. I do know, few holders of these titles will ever be flying with me in Row 39, aft of the wing.

Click the list and choose a title. They’re free.

New Trial For Julie Amaro

I turned on the noon news to see a live report from Norwich.

Julie Amero, a substitute teacher convicted after pornographic images appeared on a classroom computer, was granted a new trial today. Amero’s lawyer says there is new evidence casting doubt on her conviction.

Outside court Amero, 40, was simply relieved, relieved because Judge Hillary Strackbein granted her attorney’s motion for a new trial. William Dow, III says new evidence discovered by state police investigators after the trial discredits information presented in her trial.

I don’t know whether she is guilty or not, but this obscure story about a Connecticut substitute teacher became a major cause c

Jury Duty Calls

I opened the envelope and stared at my “SUMMONS FOR PETIT JUROR.”

Hey! Who are you calling ‘petit’?

I assume this just differentiates my service from that of a grand juror. Considering the number of times I’ve heard it said, “a prosecutor could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich,” I’ll stick with this.

I have been summoned to Superior Court in New Haven. To quote the State of Connecticut, Judicial Branch website: “The Superior Court hears civil, criminal, family and juvenile matters.”

It is to the court system as Wal*Mart is to retail – a little of everything.

There’s a checklist of all those ineligible to serve. Too old – no service. No English – no service. Not a resident – no service. Felony conviction – no service. If a judge found that “I exhibit a quality which will impair my ability to serve – no service.

There’s even a discrete checkbox for the governor and other top state officials to disqualify themselves. You don’t want that crew making difficult decisions!

Jury duty appearance time is 8:00 AM. Even worse, it’s 8:00 AM EDT (Hawaiian time would have been fine and should be an option)! What are they thinking? If I’m going to be a juror who is somebody’s peer, shouldn’t that somebody be nocturnal?

Truth is, I’d love to serve on a jury. I like seeing how the sausage is made. No one will deny I’m judgmental. I’m just not sure how attorneys will view me.

Luckily, the court is pretty flexible as far as rescheduling is concerned. I say that because jury duty is set for my birthday! We’ll be in Philadelphia, seeing the Phillies play the night before. There’s no reasonable way to get back to New Haven in time.

Nobody wants a cranky juror.

a Glimpse At The Future – Prom Queen

There are so many sites I see and say, “Yeah, that’s it.” Here’s one! Here’s a site with the potential to undercut television.

Obviously, I’m out of the target demo. You probably are too. Judge it for what it is.

* Episodes are incredibly short (even “TBS” has a better commercial/content ratio)

* Cast is astoundingly inexpensive. No names. No seasoning.

* Look at the crew list. This is done with a tiny fraction of a TV budget

Is anyone watching? I don’t know. The threshold for profitability is low. It doesn’t need the number of viewers a ‘real’ TV show gets.

Earlier this ‘conventional’ TV season, I wrote about big budget shows like Studio 60 and how we wouldn’t be seeing them anymore. This is why.

Like it or hate it. This type of production is the future.

I’m curious if my daughter’s seen this? Has she watched more than once?

In Costume – Puppies Are Perfect

It would be cruel and unusual punishment to dress your child as a character for every holiday. Not so for a pup!

Of course, this is only a still, so we don’t know if Tallulah&#185 is doing her best to pull the ears off. I can only judge by Ivy who, though normally sedentary, made her disdain for costumes well known by extreme paw action.

That never stopped us from dressing her again on the next holiday!

The bottom line is, dogs dressed up are cute. Get over it.

&#185 – Tallulah is the shorter half of the Tracey Doherty family. Tracey ‘rescued‘ Tallulah, an act for which Tallulah will be forever grateful.

It’s The Emmys

It’s been a few years since I entered the Emmys. It’s a very weird competition. It’s totally arbitrary. Winning is totally without rhyme or reason. Judges get few guidelines.

Helaine thinks the whole process is ridiculous. She very well may be right.

One year I won. The next year I wasn’t nominated. Honest. Go figure.

I am lucky enough to have seven sitting in a case in my family room. From a practical standpoint, seven is the same as ten or three.

Actually, seven is better than ten. Having ten would make it look too easy.

All of this is the setup for what will transpire Sunday.

Gil Simmons, at my station, has volunteered to coordinate Emmy judging for the San Francisco/Northern California region. I volunteered the location, my house.

It looks like we’ll have six or seven of us watching the DVDs. The more the merrier. I sent a few more emails tonight, trying my best to guilt the last stragglers into coming.

For some of the younger guys&#185, this will be a revealing process. Seeing how the Emmys are judged is helpful when you’re deciding what to submit the next year.

It will be interesting to see how they treat the weather in an area where weather usually isn’t as important. It will also be interesting to ‘take notes’ on how their weather equipment is being used. We mostly use the same, or similar, tools. Sometimes you catch a glimpse of a technique or twist you hadn’t thought of.

Last time I was a judge there were moments when I wondered, “What were they thinking when they sent in this tape?” Hopefully, that won’t be the case again.

&#185 – It has been pointed out, all the weather people in this market are men… white men. That’s becoming more and more unusual.

Move Over O.J.

Helaine will be the first to tell you – My all time favorite TV show was the O.J. Simpson trial! I couldn’t get enough.

What a cast. There was Johnny Cochran, Marcia Clark, Judge Ito… I’m sure you know them all.

The civil trial with the Goldman and Brown families wasn’t televised. Darn! I felt cheated.

Now it looks like there will be a new series of trials for me to follow… and it’s a major surprise because I stumbled upon “Act 1” as I got out of the shower and turned the TV on.

It’s just the first in a series of Anna Nicole Smith related court appearances. Be still my heart.

Today, live from Florida, the hearing attempted to decide Anna Nicole’s final resting place. Let the games begin. These people will agree on nothing.

There was the boyfriend/attorney/possible father… the unfortunately named, Howard K. Stern. Also appearing was Anna Nicole’s estranged mother, Virgie Arthur. There were attorneys of every shape and size. And, there was the judge, The Honorable Larry Seidlin.

Circuit Judge Seidlin is straight out of central casting. He is tan with an even tanner (is that a word?) bald head. Where Lance Ito was reserved and proper, Larry Seidlin is auditioning for his own courtroom show!

I don’t mean to make light of Anna Nicole’s death. However, her life was such a circus, it seems unlikely anything will be agreed to by all parties. That means guaranteed good TV watching for me.

Still to come, custody of the daughter and possible control of the fortune… if there is a fortune. That’s to be decided too.

This is the mother’s milk of the cable news networks daytime programming. Don’t look for a whole lot of restraint on their part. The participants… they don’t even know what restraint means!

Abe Lincoln – Wired

I often listen to NPR while taking my shower. Today, on Talk of the Nation, Neil Conan spoke with Tom Wheeler who had an op-ed piece in this morning’s Washington Post and who also wrote the book, “Mr. Lincoln’s T-Mails: The Untold Story of How Abraham Lincoln Used the Telegraph to Win the Civil War.”

(I)nsight into our greatest president is possible through the nearly 1,000 messages he sent via the new telegraph technology. These 19th-century versions of e-mail messages preserve his spur-of-the-moment thoughts and are the closest we will come to a transcript of a conversation with Abraham Lincoln. In their unstructured form, Lincoln comes alive.

Are you kidding? Lincoln was our first president to communicate electronically. I guess he really was the Great Communicator.

This made Abraham Lincoln our first president with instant access to information. Imagine how that benefited him as he formulated our political and military strategy during the Civil War?

You owe it to yourself to read the op-ed column.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Abe.

Continue reading “Abe Lincoln – Wired”

Into New York For Friday Night

I picked up the phone and the first words were, “When’s this rain gonna stop?” Actually, there was another word between this and rain, but you get the point.

A friend of mine, from California, was in New York City. It was a quick trip to visit his dad and have a business meeting. I said I’d see him after dinner.

I left Connecticut around 8:30 and headed toward the Turnpike. Though it had been raining earlier, skies had become partly cloudy. The 100 mile trip to the city was a breeze.

I drove down the FDR Drive with the East River and Roosevelt Island on my left. The buildings of Manhattan were blocked on my right, but it didn’t matter – it’s a beautiful ride on an awful road.

I called my mom on the cellphone. More than anyone, I share my love of Manhattan with her. Given her druthers, that’s where she’d be living. Me too.

My friend’s dad’s apartment is right off the FDR. I got off the exit and turned down into the basement garage, less than 100 feet away.

This is a very expensive building on one of New York’s best known streets. In fact, this neighborhood is best known by the street’s name.

As I waited, the parking attendant pulled a huge Bentley from its space. A diminutive woman and her equally small husband walked toward the car. She looked familiar.

I stared at her and she looked back. Then it hit me – Judge Judy.

I don’t have something pithy to say to everyone I meet, but this was Judge Judy. I told her I followed her on-the-air every day and then explained how I was on the news in Connecticut.

My camera was hanging on my neck, so I asked for a photo. She was very gracious. I suppose she isn’t often asked for a photo in the garage of her apartment building!

I walked out of the garage and around the block to the building’s main entrance. Residents have a key card. I was just visiting.

A doorman stood guard in front of a bank of security monitors. After a quick call to clear me, I was in.

Years ago this was a ‘full service’ building. It is probably the last place I rode an elevator that had an elevator operator (even though it was a self service elevator). Those days are gone. Even the well to do have to cut back a little.

My friend and I decided to go for coffee. That’s one of the nice things about Manhattan. You want coffee – it’s a short walk away.

In fact everything in Manhattan is close by and it’s very walkable. I’ve joked in the past, New York is the only city in America with 24 hour room service.

It’s true! You can easily get Chinese food delivered at 3:00 AM.

The coffee, in a small Italian place under the shadow of the 59th Street Bridge, was fine. The company was better.

Since I’m talking about the building, I’ll leave his name out to preserve a little privacy. This is someone I’ve known for nearly 40 years. We have been through good and bad times together.

We’re both happy with life right now – in a good place. Professionally, he’s doing very well, and I couldn’t be more pleased.

We walked back up First Avenue, past a construction site with New York City steam blasting from a subturranean vent. Though already midnight, the city was teaming with activity.

My assessment of New York is probably overly romanticized. My friend, staying in a Manhattan apartment, said he hated it – would be glad to never leave his California home. I shrugged.

I got back to Connecticut a few minutes before 2:00 AM. I suppose that’s a lot of trip to pack into one short evening. I’m glad I did.

Emmy Judging Time

Gil Simmons, who I work with at the TV station, has asked me to be a judge for the Emmy Awards. This isn’t the big deal national awards you see on television. This is for one of a number of local regions.

Actually, I shouldn’t have said it’s not a big deal, because to the entrants, it absolutely is. I am fortunate to have seven, and I know I was elated when I won and crestfallen when I lost.

When we judge, we do so for another section of the country. This time it’s the Southwest Region, though Gil tells me it looks like most of what we’ve got has come from Las Vegas.

Here’s the problem. When it comes to judging, it’s like pulling teeth. I wrote about this before, a few years ago, when judging took place in my house. Gil is having the same problem, rounding up a jury.

I would like these applicants to have the benefit of many eyes seeing their work. My guess is, that’s what they’d want too. Unfortunately, the more likely scenario is, they will be judged by a group closer to the minimum allowed.

I hope we’re fair. I hope the most talented wins. I wish there were more of us making the decision.

Politically Correct

You used a phrase that I have been trying to get rid of for years. The phrase is “rule of thumb”.

Last night, with 5 or 6 seconds left in my part of the broadcast, I mentioned a viewer’s email – Could it snow at 50&#176? I sad, “no,” the rule of thumb was there was no snow at temperatures above 45&#176.

It wasn’t long before this came.

Geoff just caught your forecast, loved it!

Also I wanted to make a mention that you used a phrase that I have been

trying to get rid of for years. The phrase is “rule of thumb”. This phrase

used the measurement of the thumb for a very heinous use. In 1732 Francis

Butler, an English judge, declared that a ” man could beat his wife with a

stick no bigger then his thumb” Thus, the rule of thumb. Please avoid the

term and pass this along to others. Thanks. all the best Lori

Uh… OK. I don’t want to offend. Except… it’s not true.

There are lots of citations online (here’s one from England). Some of them are cruel in their attempt to debunk a an outspoken feminist and lesbian, Del Martin, who published this ‘fact’ in print.

That being said, it looks to me as if “rule of thumb” was never a reference to any English law&#185.

So, what to do? If I use the expression, I risk offending people – though only the misinformed. It is truly political correctness for the sake of political correctness.

I’m stumped. This should be such an easy decision, but it’s not.

&#185 – It also seems there was never any law, thumb sized or not, that allowed a husband to beat his wife.

Would Someone Please Tell David E. Kelley I’m A Fan?

I have written about Boston Legal in the past, though only peripherally. I would guess it’s my favorite show on television… and one of the few continuing dramas I watch.

Actually, is it a drama or comedy? I’m not sure. The Golden Globes thinks it’s a comedy. It is on film, which makes it a different animal from sitcoms and other taped shows.

I’ve wanted to tell David E. Kelley, the one-man-band behind it, how much I like it, but he is well hidden on the Internet. Trust me. I pride myself on ferreting out people I’d like to contact. He’s really well hidden.

What makes the show so good is it’s character driven. Some characters came in well established. Others have grown over time. The show is organic in that way.

Good character development allows for sometime outlandish situations. I’m willing to forgive where that’s concerned.

James Spader, the lead of leads, is so quirky good that I wondered why I wasn’t a fan of his earlier. Then, I caught something he’d done before and realized, though very good, he’s better with Kelley’s scripts and sensibilities.

The show is not perfect. I’m a huge Candice Bergen fan, but I find her character wanting. I’ve had more than enough with William Shatner’s spouting, “Denny Crane.”

On the other hand, I couldn’t be more pleased with Renee Auberjonois as a tightly wound, humorless curmudgeon and Henry Gibson’s judge.

A few weeks ago I discovered Marisa Coughlan. This being the Internet age I “Googled” her and found she worked in a movie (arguably the worst move ever filmed) where the producer was best man from my wedding.

He told me “Mareeeesa” was very nice. Good. I don’t want my bubbles burst.

It is one of the few shows that gets DVR’ed and watched every time it’s on.

So, if you know David E. Kelley, would you tell him Geoff in Connecticut thinks he’s an amazingly talented person… and I’m almost ready to forgive him for killing off Jason Kravits in The Practice.