MacDirectory Magazine

Warren Manser

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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FEATURE 2. For 2013, products such as Norton Anti-Virus, Norton Internet Security, and Norton 360, will no longer have version or 'year' indicators. You pay for service by the year and your software is continuously, automatically and invisibly updated to the latest version. This has already been working pretty well in the 2012 versions of Internet Security and 360, and for 2013, Norton says that the occasional reboot required will be even less frequent — their goal is once or twice a year. Dispensing with version numbers is a risky gambit and it will be interesting to see how successful it is. 3. Norton One has an extremely effective cloud backup system which we've been testing with satisfaction for over a year. It is a substantial improvement on Norton's original cloud backup service. We award each of the Norton products but we think Norton One offers the best value of all. iPhone 5 Dragon Dictation Dragon has been famous for a decade for being the first and only usable product that allows you to dictate into a computer. New at press time are Dragon Naturally Speaking 12 for Windows and Dragon Dictate 3 for Mac. Both use the same voice recognition technology, which boasts 99 percent accuracy out of the box. Dragon continuously trains itself, so accuracy improves the more you use it. Both products not only take dictation but let you control your computer by voice. Dragon is incredibly complex, demanding software, and it is not perfect — yet. That will come in future years. Nevertheless, we are compelled to award this product because — for those who need it or prefer it — it is life-enhancing technology that is immeasurably superior to any competing product. And it truly does get better every year. There are substantial improvements in the latest versions. Most important is greater accuracy. For the Mac, voice recorder support tops our list; for Windows, we like enhanced Gmail (and Hotmail) support, and — only in Dragon Premium, not Home — the ability to use multiple audio devices. On both platforms we're delighted with the support for wireless Bluetooth headsets. This year's iPhone has universally been acclaimed as the best smartphone ever. Five million were sold in its first weekend, setting a new record. JP Morgan predicted that the iPhone 5 could boost US GDP by half a percent. The iPhone is both a technological and an economic phenomenon. And iPhone muggings are up 40 percent in New York City. That said, we're worried about two things: the iPhone 5's susceptibility to scratches, scuffs, dents, and dings — in some cases, right out of the box! And the dismal maps, which the New York Times called "the most embarrassing, least usable piece of software Apple has ever unleashed." We don't want to think we're witnessing the unmistakeable first signs of post-Steve decline. But Apple has got a lot to prove in 2013 — as has, of course, the rest of the PC industry, where innovation has been almost paralyzed by Apple's stunning performance during mostof 2012. Mac or Windows? The quality of recognition is the same, but the Windows version is more mature, less buggy, and has more features. If dictation and voice control are crucial to you, the simple truth is that for now (we hate to say this — ouch!), you are better off with the Windows version. That said, the Mac version is rich enough to satisfy the majority of Mac users. On the Mac, Mountain Lion has good voice recognition built in, but it can only work with a fast Internet connection at all times, and in other respects does not match Dragon's power and flexibility. For example, Dragon lets you control your Mac by voice; Mountain Lion doesn't. Looking forward, we suspect that Dragon's support for wireless Bluetooth headsets could be more important than it seems at first. Because it means we no l onger have to sit downwhen we're working at the computer. Countless studies tell us what we already know: that sitting down in front of a screen is bad for our health. Combine Dragon and a wireless headset and you're no longer tethered. You can walk around the room while you tell your computer what to do; you can even do exercise or yoga. This has the potential to be a major, life-changing paradigm. MacDirectory 99

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