Hands Off! MacSpeech Dictate

I started having problems with circulation in my hands years ago and eventually had carpal tunnel surgery on my right hand in 2009. The surgeon, Dr. Robert Markison, in San Francisco,* recommended that I get MacSpeech Dictate and a Sennheiser ME3 microphone. I did it, started using it, amazed at how well it worked, but gradually got back into keyboarding by hand.

In the last year I’ve started having circulation problems in my right hand again; my fingers are cold a lot of the time, like default for the right-hand is cold. So I’m using gloves (the best ones are rabbit-fur-lined leather ones), moving around (hiking gets the circulation going in all body parts just fine), and getting into MacSpeech Dictate much more fully. I’ve just had to work at it (and basically be alone, so I’m not disturbing others), and it’s getting smoother all the time. It’s a brilliant program.


I’m writing this now by talking into the mike while I’m stretching my arms overhead (actually hanging some of my body weight from a piece of half-inch galvanized pipe that’s attached horizontally to the bottom of the rafters about 6 1/2 feet off the floor). (It’s interesting the means you have to go to in order to counteract body-numbing effects of working on a computer. Bob Anderson uses the phrase “creeping rigor mortis.”)

Dragon NaturallySpeaking seems to be the same type of program for Windows operating systems.

I wholeheartedly recommend this approach for anyone with hand problems.

*Markison is a remarkable guy. Not only a very fine surgeon, but a medical illustrator, musical instrument designer, musician, and craftsman. He alters saxophones or other woodwind instruments so that the players hands and thinkers are in a more ergonomic positions. He also has made his own shoes and neckties. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. I highly recommend him for anything to do with your hands.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

5 Responses to Hands Off! MacSpeech Dictate

  1. Lloyd, I have had excellent results from the basically simple Medi-Rub Body and Foot Massagers which I use together. Anytime I want a break I have the foot massager going while I maneuver the body massager on my hands, back, neck, knees etc. wherever there is pain or soreness. I also like to vibrate my skull/brain, which I wonder about but it feel good. Makes you think that electricity is a good thing.

  2. My doctor, chiropractor, and several online sources all agree that one should spend no more than 20 minutes in front of the computer before getting up and moving about, if only for a little bit. Too often, I find that as much as four hours has gone by while researching some aspect of woodworking or computing. (YouTube – you can't watch just one.)

  3. this is a wayyyyyyyyyyy cool post Lloyd. I'm sending this to my brother who is a woodworker fantastic and a computer programer for some big hot shot company. the suggestions of the others are also good. thanks….

  4. I'm 82 and don't have any serious physical problems, except freakin' laziness. But I'm always so delighted to hear what folks do to just KEEP MOVIN' ON. It means they're actually living their life, keeping mentally and physically active, churning out stuff for us all to enjoy. Keep up your excellent work, Lloyd.
    Good exercise for loosening up torso and shoulders: Bend as though touching toes. Then let your shoulders and arms go limp. Rotate your arms and shoulders (limply) in small circles, one direction and then opposite. Increase circle as stuff loosens up. Not high tech, but effective.

    Aloha from Hawaii

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