So late last night I finished drafting the current index and shipped it off for the author to review. That is now off my desk, and I am reamed, steamed, and dry-cleaned.
The book is a collection of testimonios — short memoirs, as it were — by second-generation Mexican Americans who climbed out of the agricultural fields of the Imperial and San Joaquin valleys to go on to universities, often acquiring graduate degrees and law degrees. Their stories are extremely interesting…sometimes jaw-dropping, come to think of it. The book should come out in another few weeks or a couple of months. I’ll let you know when it appears — it’s so worth reading!
Because the contributions are engagingly written and look like informal reflections, I thought this index would be a piece of cake — something I could toss off in a couple of days or so.
Not so much. It turns out that despite the highly readable style, the content is really very dense: ended up with fourteen single-spaced pages of index entries! So…that took a minute or two to assemble…
Along the way, I discovered that this new MacBook, running under Sierra, will in fact run Apple’s “dictation” program. The old one would not; it would read aloud, but it would not take dictation. So…let’s try that:
Along the way, I discovered that this new MacBook, running under Seo, Will in fact run apples “dictation program” the old one would not; it would read aloud, but it would not take dictation. So… Let’s try that:
Heeeee! It ain’t perfect… Sierra becomes “Seo” (that could be my pronunciation), and the future tense of be is turned into some guy’s name. In playing with it, I learned that it recognizes a lot of Spanish words…but not all of them. Mocorito, for example, comes across as Margarita. 😀
I wonder what happens if you spell out “apples” with punctuation… E a PPLE’s
ooops! That didn’t work!! No spell, just punctuation: apple’s
Chortle! Well, it’s getting there. Give it a few more years.
What I can’t tell is whether there’s a way to teach the dictation function new words and spellings. Apparently not, at least as of about 2015. It’s not something that entertains me SO much that I’m gonna run out and buy Dragon. But it is kind of handy.
Last night when I was too pooped to type a multisyllabic word correctly, I highlighted the typo-ridden term and read it into the dictation program…and voilà! Out it came, to perfection!
What really is handy, though, is using the read-aloud function for proofreading. Along about 9:00 last night, I hesitated to launch it to proof the almost-finished index copy. But I strongly desired to be finished, and I was getting tired…as in too tired to notice small errors. “Alex,” the system’s selected “voice,” chugged right through the damn thing, pronouncing everything to perfection, so that by following along I was able to pick up a lot of typos and oddities.
The other day I realized that, at some point along the line, Stephen Hawking was using “Alex” as his electronic voice. He has good taste: Alex is the only one of that bunch whose diction is consistently pleasing.
It’s almost 11 in the morning and I have done exactly zero work, unless you call cleaning the pool “work.” The pool has now fully recovered from its algae infestation. While I’ve been distracted with the indexing project, I’ve shamelessly neglected the hole in the backyard full of water — days have gone by with zero attention. It has rained. Wind has blown. Algae-feeding sunlight has streamed down. The pile of floating chlorine tablets has dissolved away to nothing. The water is bathwater-warm. Yet this morning there was not a bit of moss clinging to the walls!
So: thank heaven for small favors.