About Janneke

my portraitUpdate:

This blogpost was first written when I started my site and didn’t have a proper ‘About me’ page in place. I now have one, and you can find it here.

About Janneke den Draak

This is the first time that I have created an international website and most probably you’ve have never heard of me. I believe that it is important to introduce myself properly. So here goes… my name is Janneke. And in case you are curious: this is pronounced Yáh-neh-ke. My last name, Den Draak, means “the Dragon”. Appropriate, isn’t it? Some people have said that this cannot be coincidence, but I do have a large family and – as far as I know – I am absolutely the only one of them involved in Dragon speech recognition. But I still think it is great 🙂

I was born in the Netherlands and that is where my business is located. I have an office in the beautiful city of Nijmegen. Nothing fancy, but it suits me. Nijmegen is very close to the Dutch-German border and I live in Germany. It is only about 13 km (8 miles) to my office, so that’s a very modest commute. Since I mostly train people individually at their workplace, I do travel a lot despite this short commute. I go everywhere in the Netherlands, though admittedly we do not have a very big country.

Janneke's catMy husband and I live in a detached house and we have a cat to keep us company. As a matter of fact, she is lying (asleep, of course, she IS a cat) right next to my keyboard while I am dictating this blog post.

As a hobby I grow some fruits and vegetables in the garden and I also like music (singing) and reading books. The link between health and nutrition has my special interest and I am studying part-time for a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and dietetics. Due to time constraints I’m sure it will be at least 2020 before I get my degree.

 

Why speech recognition?

Over 20 years ago I was working as a network engineer at the ICT department of a large Dutch company. I enjoyed my work very much, but within a few years I developed Repetitive Strain Injury. Working that many hours at the computer was not healthy for me. Using the mouse and keyboard became extremely painful after just a few minutes of computer work. Unfortunately, that meant that I could not work for quite some time. And it wasn’t just computer work that became impossible; even brushing my teeth was painful.

Prehistoric speech recognition
Just in case you wondered how long I’ve worked with Dragon…
It says 1997 on the floppydisks.

Even back then, the first thing an ICT person would do was search the Internet. I tried to find out whether it was possible to talk to the computer and have it write down what you said. And I discovered that this was, indeed, possible! But not in Dutch. Bummer. Still, I got started with Dragon NaturallySpeaking 3.5 US and shortly afterwards this version came out in Dutch. This version of Dragon only had dictation. For commands I used the first incarnation of Dragon speech recognition: Dragon Dictate. (Not to be confused with the current Dragon Dictate for Mac) Still on sick leave, I quickly became proficient in using the speech recognition software.

When it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to go back to my previous job, I was fortunate enough to find a job as a speech recognition trainer and consultant. I worked in this position for about 10 years and in 2010 I started my own business: Den Draak Speech Recognition. Many of my clients are individuals who have trouble using mouse and keyboard. One of my clients is a large European organisation and that means I train their employees in English. So, even though most of my experience is with the Dutch version of Dragon, I am very well versed in the English version too.

While some people recover from Reptetitive Strain Injury pretty completely, I have never been able to do so. Fortunately I am doing much better than 20 years ago, but I am still quite limited in what I can do. This means that I still use speech recognition every day and I am dependent on it to be able to do my work. This constantly motivates me to improve myself, so that I can better assist my clients.

Well, now you’ve learned a lot more about me and how I got involved with Dragon. I hope you didn’t fall asleep!

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Janneke den Draak

Janneke den Draak

Hi, I'm Janneke and I'm your go-to person for Dragon speech recognition software help.

When I got severe repetitive strain injury issues over 20 years ago, I didn't want to give up using the computer. So I learned all about controlling the PC with speech recognition and dictating my documents and emails.

I've now been a speech recognition software trainer and consultant for almost two decades, teaching over 2000 people handsfree productivity!

My online courses offer self-paced learning and I also love running my membership for Dragon users. For those in need of an intensive training or custom speech command creation, I am available for one-on-one calls.

4 Responses

  1. ….and again, thank you so much. Sorry my initial post was so lengthy, but I just had to get across how valuable your service was to me.

    1. You’re so very welcome!

      I appreciated your long post. It illustrates perfectly how complicated it can be to get these tech issues solve and what a struggle that can be.

      Also…It’s not every day I meet someone who even has a few year more of Dragon experience than I have and I love to hear stories from the early days.

      And it is always really encouraging to hear that my information has helped Not everyone takes the effort to put that in a comment, so I find myself wondering if this is reaching the people who need it. Comments like your make my day 😀

  2. Dear Janneke:
    Thank you, thank you, thank you! With your advice, I managed to get Dragon 15 working with my new Dell computer using Windows 10. Bless the Dutch! If you desire some details with my two month long effort to get my system back working, they are listed below. Otherwise, thanks again.
    I am an attorney, now retired, having started using Dragon in 1996 (remember the 10 – 12 computer disks for installation), which permitted me tremendous latitude in specializing in my field of criminal appellate law. I was able to move my offices from expensive downtown Austin, Texas space to my home office, and dispense with expensive secretarial fees, also permitting me great latitude in my office hours, constantly working late in order to meet necessary deadlines. While I did not experience the physical problems necessitating the use of Dragon that you did, I was one of the first, if not the first, attorney in Texas to use Dragon for complicated legal work. Before they were bought by Nuance, I was on first name basis with several of the Dragon technicians in Massachusetts, discussing various matters concerning improving the product. After Nuance came into the picture, all communication with them completely stopped.
    Nevertheless, the upgraded products got better and better, and through numerous Windows upgrades and new computers, never had any problems with reinstallation of Dragon, until Windows announced that they would no longer be using Windows 7, in January, 2020. Knowing that it would take months to learn how to use to a new computer/operating system, I got my new Dell 8930 desktop in July, 2019, and had my IT guy immediately start the installation processes.
    Long story made short – after about 8-10 trips to my office, over two months, until early September, my IT guy got everything working except Dragon, and basically, gave up further effort. He was in contact with Nuance, Microsoft and Dell, with Dell even replacing my motherboard, which continued to have many different, conflicting and confusing “error messages”. I spent almost as much on my IT guy trying to get Dragon to work as I did on the computer itself.
    In any event, I googled the problem of conflicts with the new Windows system, and found numerous commentaries with various bits of advice all over the map. Then I discovered your website. I tried a couple of your suggestions, which were quick and simple, and now Dragon is working, as witnessed by this commentary, at about 120 words per minute and 99% accuracy. While I completed my last big legal case in 2015, and no longer spend 6 – 8 hours dictating in Dragon per day, I’ve become so used to it that is like not having a cell phone for most people, even though I do not use them. Dragon is back – thanks again.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind and interesting comment. I am so pleased to hear that you were able to make Dragon work on your new laptop and that my website was helpful. You sure have been using Dragon for a looong time; no wonder you miss it a lot when it isn’t working. I really enjoyed reading about your history with Dragon; thank you for sharing.

      Happy dictating, Mr. Roy Greenwood!

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