I live in NYC, and it appears that every other person in Manhattan walks down city streets while typing on her iPhone or Blackberry. As of late, I have been feeling uncomfortable with this practice. Perhaps I fear I will bump into someone or fall into a big hole, so I’ve taken to stopping to the side and then texting or writing down an idea.
Typing does take a long time, though, and stopping to type when I’m on my way somewhere obviously slows me down. (“Maybe you should slow down, Jeff.”) I used to use a service called Jott, which allowed me to call into a number, say something, and have my message transcribed and sent to any number of services. However, it was bought by Nuance and discontinued.
Fortunately, Nuance has a killer iPhone app called Dragon Dictation (iTunes link; free) that transcribes voice “in the cloud.” You just hit Record, say something, then hit Stop. It transcribes a voice message, and allows you to send the text to the clipboard, or via a text message or email. The great thing about this app is that—if the app did not transcribe your message correctly—you can tap on any individual word, and a drop-down menu of common alternatives is presented. If the drop-down still doesn’t contain the intended word, you can pull up a keyboard to type it out.
Once I’ve recorded my message, instead of pasting it into the intended app (usually SimpleNote), I just pull up Pastebot (iTunes link; $3.99). Pastebot is a clipboard that will hold something like 100 clips. When launched, it will automatically take whatever is in the iPhone clipboard and remember it. Later, I can just tap on whatever clip I want in Pastebot, and it will again be in the iPhone clipboard, so I can paste the message into SimpleNote or an email (or whatever) at my leisure, not when I’m on my way somewhere.