Over the last several years I've been dealing with various stages of disability thanks to ALS. My goal is to share solutions and review various products/tools/devices that I have found particularly helpful.

Monday, 29 October 2012

From my Internet Travels…

I know, I'm behind on my posts.For the last two weeks or so, I have started to realize that I do in fact have need for more home automation. Especially because winter is coming. So for the last while I've been directing my efforts to researching some of my needs. I will post more about this a little later. Suffice to say I found some interesting stuff ;-)

That said, I've come across two very interesting pieces of software that I feel are worth mention.

Alternative Voice Recognition.

I've been using Dragon dictate software quite a bit over the last few months and I discussed my usage of it here: Dragon gamer post . for the most part I find it works extremely well. It's dictation functionality is far superior to the speech recognition that comes with Windows7.

One of the reasons that helps me decide to buy it is that there was an option to purchase a gamer pack which would give you voice access to various games. My particular interest was World of Warcraft. This gamer pack was provided by a company called Vox enable and up until recently it work really quite well. However with the latest war craft expansion pack, I seem to have lost my voice functionality from Vox enable. I've tried numerous times to a hold of some support from the website, reinstalling and updating Vox enable. But to no avail.

From what I can tell, the version of Vox enable that I purchased his version 6 and with the WoW expansion they patched it to version 7. This seems to indicate to me that I will have to repurchase Vox enable to maintain the plug-in to war craft. In other words this will cost me another €20.

Needless to say I'm not terribly happy about this, nor am I pleased with the customer support. I have had zero responses to date.

This is led me on a bit of the quest to try and find some alternatives for voice integration to war craft.

I've tried playing around with the windows speech macros on my own to get some idea as to what I could do. I've had some success with it, but only really just gotten started…

But a piece of free software I found it seems to work very well is by a group called killers software (don't let the icon fool you). It seems to work very well but does require you to create your own templates. Once are provided are kind of tailored to their own characters. That said creating your own template is pretty easy.

I've only used it a little bit so far, but it does work really quite well and seems to be more responsive than a Vox enable. It also has a whole bunch of additional functionality for other games and software such as iTunes.

All in all, for the price of a free this software seems to be very good and well worth a try.

Camera Mouse.

Now, this piece of software I've not actually tried and then kind of hoping to not need to try it in the near future world for that matter… Nonetheless, dealing with ALS means that I might have to consider it at some point.

This free software offers you an alternative to using your mouse through the use of the WebCam.

By moving your head around, tipping it left or right or up and down, the camera mouse translates these movements into mouse action. To send a mouseclick this is done with a supporting program (also available through this website for free) called dwell click.

All that's required to get this working is your PC, a web cam and the free camera mouse software.

Now, I do realize that this software will not work for everybody with ALS as all our symptoms progression's are somewhat different. However if your situation is similar to mine and you seem to be losing the use of your hands first but still retain control of your head and neck (no bulbar symptoms really) software like this may just help you stay active for that much longer.

And like I said, it's free. So what you have to lose?

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