Better dictation in latest Dev Channel build will faithfully convert your spittle-flecked Windows 10 rantings to text

With auto-punctuation and all! Plus: Emojis... and more Edge-y nagging

Microsoft took pity on those who like to yell at their PCs with an improved version of Windows dictation among other cosmetic tweaks in an updated Dev Channel build.

Despite earlier protestations to the contrary, only a "subset" of Windows Insiders will get to play with the new toys in build 20206 before a wider rollout.

The most notable enhancement this time around comes in the form of Voice Typing, an update for the venerable Windows dictation. Microsoft laid claim to a "modern design", which works better for the vanishingly small number of Windows users opting for a touch keyboard and an updated backend. Auto-punctuation is also supposedly supported, although this was a little hit-and-miss in our testing.

A number of English variants are supported, along with French, Spanish and Simplified Chinese among others. Users also need to be online.

Transcribing an interview in Word online: the results are impressive though not perfect

My crow soft adds audio transcription to premium Word Online... Only joking. It's pretty good if a bit on the slow side


Voice Typing, even in preview, proved surprisingly accurate and was used to dictate a first draft of this article. There are, however, some rough edges. An attempt to move the listening window resulted in the creation of a delightfully named VoiceTypingFloaty-300x239.png image file on the desktop and occasionally the function would go off in a sulk.

"In some Office apps," the company warned, "you may experience random pauses while using the voice typing feature. If this happens, click the microphone icon again to restart the listening experience."

"Most reliable voice typing experience ever on Windows"? Perhaps not quite yet.

Also in the preview are yet more tweaks to the built-in emoji picker and the ability to shift the cursor by holding down the space bar on a touch keyboard and dragging around – something iOS users and their ilk have enjoyed for a while now.

As well as a raft of fixes, Microsoft also noted issues with the developer-friendly Windows Subsystem for Linux. The wsl -install command might not install the Linux kernel. Old habits die hard, it seems. A workaround is to run wsl -update to get the latest kernel version.

And for those wondering what Microsoft would like users to browse and search with, the settings app has gained an even more in-your-face bit of nagging.

After all, everyone really wants to use Edge and Bing, right? ®

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022