The Premier drops in . . . And I drop the ball

It’s not every day the Premier of Victoria drops in for a chat so it’s nice to be ready for the visit. The Premier’s event organiser met with me a few days before the Premier’s visit and explained that the Premier was keen to see some of the technology I was using, particularly Dragon, the voice activated software 1 and the EyeTech 2 technology. I happily agreed even though the EyeTech unit had only recently arrived and was still not properly calibrated for my use.

I contacted the company that supplied EyeTech and they promised they would have a technician complete the setup for me the day before the Premier came, which they did. That only gave me about an hour’s practice before the visit but I felt confident it was enough for me to give a reasonable demonstration.

Of course, Murphy’s Law reigned supreme when the Premier, Hon. Daniel Andrews arrived. I was using new headphones for Dragon and had forgotten to charge them overnight. It’s hard to demonstrate voice-activated software when the microphone is flat, out of charge!

And when the Premier arrived EyeTech worked but in a very limited fashion. However, Sue and I indulged in the little subterfuge. I spoke into a lifeless microphone and Sue, standing behind the large EyeTech screen, typed what I said so it looked like Dragon was working. Great plan except for one small detail. I spoke so fast that Sue couldn’t type everything I said. She paraphrased. Suddenly Dragon took on even more remarkable features. Not only could it convert spoken words into written text it could now it could apparently, amazingly, condense long paragraphs down to pithy sentences! I’m sure the inventors of Dragon would be delighted to hear about this, until now, unknown feature of their software.

The Premier and I started chatting and he asked if I had any plans. There were about 15 people in the ward with the Premier. These included media people and senior people from Austin Health. They all laughed when they heard my answer. The answer was humorous enough to get a run on the Channel 7 and Channel 9 news bulletins that night.

All I said was that “I want to become a taxpayer again”. Well, yes it was quirky and sounded silly because everyone tries to avoid tax but it is the truth.

And the reason I want to become a taxpayer again? Well, if you understand Thomas the Tank Engine you understand where I’m coming from. All will be revealed in the next post

Note 1: Dragon voice activated software allows me to use my voice to interact with the computer. I can create or open documents, compose emails, reply to emails and send them simply through voice commands.

Note 2: EyeTech allows me to use my eyes to control my computer. I can open documents or emails, scroll through them, access the Internet. EyeTech gives me flexibility where Dragon doesn’t share that flexibility.


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One thought on “The Premier drops in . . . And I drop the ball

  • Henry Mydlarz
    24/10/2016 at 5:46 am

    You’re a most impressive person, Gerard! A few of us shine when faced with adversity. You outshine us all. One of the best things to happen to me after starting work at Murrumbeena Primary was meeting you.


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