Each quarter Bill Gates has a day set aside to get demos from people around the company on different products, features, and technologies. The idea behind it is to give Bill some hands on time with the products before they're ready for prime time.

This year, I was lucky enough to have 20 minutes to show Bill Speech Recognition in Windows Vista. We started out by having Bill go through our interactive tutorial. Then after going thru part of the Tutorial, Bill had a chance to just use Speech Recognition in Windows Vista to interact with the PC as if he was doing his normal day to day work.

The tutorial has been completely designed from the ground up to do several things:

  • Teach the user how to use Speech Recognition in Windows Vista
  • Teach the computer how the user speaks words and phrases
  • Give the user confidence that they can learn the appropriate commands and interactions to make them successful.

Bill went through most of the tutorial. He liked it. He really liked it. He said that, "It's great!" He also learned most of the commands that he needed to control the PC by voice in the second part of the meeting.

When he was done with the tutorial he started using SR to interact with the computer. He started out in PowerPoint. He ran into some difficulties in PowerPoint, though, due to some accessibility bugs in PowerPoint's code. We talked about how and why those bugs get in the users way, and he said he'd follow up with the Office team.

He then ran WordPad to try out the dictation features he'd learned about in the tutorial. He dictated several paragraphs and he was very happy with the dictation accuracy. He in fact, said, "The dictation accuracy is quite good!" but he understood that some of the difficulties actually lie in the application level of the interaction.

All in all it was a very productive Demo Day session with Bill. It was just one more step toward getting Speech Recognition in Windows Vista out to all of our customers.