Help me use my cell phone to audiojournal.
January 11, 2008 11:58 AM   Subscribe

How can I set up an audio-journaling scheme with my cell phone?

I haven't been able to find a way to make this happen, but maybe you can.

I've been looking for a way to use my cell phone to record an audio journal. Basically, I want to be able to click a button (or dial a number) that would let me speak and have it immediately transcribed. So this will probably involve a phone with some kind of app that recognizes speech/transcribes/etc. Does that even exist?

Jott also sounds good, especially now that I can opt out of using human transcribers, but they only let you record in 15 second increments. Is there anything similar that lets you record in longer increments?

Accuracy isn't the biggest issue here. I only want some kind of written document that records what I was trying to say; scanning it will probably give me a quick reference to what I was thinking at the time.

So I'm looking for either:

- a PDA phone that works with speech recognition software (preferably, but doesn't necessarily have to work with AT&T)
- some kind of Jott-like service
- or maybe just go oldskool: digital recorder + daily uploads to a computer with speech recognition software

Which is the best way to go? Thanks in advance.
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious to Technology (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Ah! And I'll probably be doing this a lot on-the-go -- on streets with a lot of traffic, people in the background, etc. Will this make a big difference in how I can get my recordings effectively transcribed?
posted by twins named Lugubrious and Salubrious at 12:00 PM on January 11, 2008

Given the difficulty of doing good voice-recognition, I'd probably recommend the oldskool approach. Get a good voice recorder with really good noise-elimination, and upload to a computer for running through voice-rec.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:08 PM on January 11, 2008

There have been previous questions about speech recognition, including this one. In my opinion all software speech recognition apps are all terrible. Speech recognition is an extremely hard computing problem. It's even harder to do when the microphone isn't very good and there is a lot of background noise. The reason that humans are so good at it is that they actually understand what the person is talking about, which helps rule out a lot of possible transcriptions. Even so, most humans also have trouble understanding what people say sometimes.

I've used Jott, and it's much more accurate than computer speech recognition, because they use actual people to help transcribe what you say. There is also a similar service called reQall. Unless you want to do a lot more error correcting later, this will probably be your best bet. I'm not sure what reQall's time limit is for recordings, so it could be a better solution for you.
posted by burnmp3s at 12:16 PM on January 11, 2008

Get Skype, with SkypeIn. Call your Skype number from any phone, leave messages. Bug Skype to allow mp3 exports. Get some fancy speech-to-text program.

Alternatively, read this article.


And finally: Phonetic Voicemail transcription for $9/month
posted by blue_beetle at 1:25 PM on January 11, 2008

LiveJournal has toll-free numbers you can call to make posts by phone. Under certain conditions, they'll automatically be transcribed. And if you want, you can clean up the transcript later.

On the upside, this takes care of everything for you, at no charge. On the downside, it only transcribes public posts, meaning that you'll have to share your thoughts with the rest of the world to use the automatic transcription. Also, you have to deal with LiveJournal.
posted by brett at 5:56 PM on January 11, 2008

Yes, I doubt that the phone will eliminate enough ambient background to make for good voice recognition - they work okay for voice commands but that is very basic stuff. If you want to try and beat the wind and traffic factor, and if you have a smartphone, something like Virtual Recorder or AudioNotes *claim* they do a good job at grabbing clean audio. But my phone's pickup is shite and there's no way I'd trust them. Anyway, afterwards, you could run the files through NaturallySpeaking or similar and see what you get out the other end.
posted by meehawl at 9:15 PM on January 11, 2008

LifeHacker also just posted something today about a service that lets you record long voice messages over your phone.
posted by burnmp3s at 5:38 AM on January 15, 2008

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