Downloading Additional Components El Capitan

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Talk to Your Mac—and Let It Talk to You

Let’s face it: You wanted Siri on your Mac and you didn’t get it. But you don’t have to wait for Apple’s digital assistant to arrive on OS X, you can talk to your Mac now—dictating messages, Spotlight searches , launching apps, issuing commands, and more. And though your Mac won’t tell you jokes, it can read you a book.

We’ll first look at how you can talk to your Mac, and then later in this chapter we’ll look at how you can Have Your Mac Talk to You.

Set Up Dictation

To use El Capitan’s full powers of speech, you must first download additional components from Apple. The Enhanced Dictation software makes it possible for speech recognition to happen on your Mac, as opposed to on Apple’s servers, as it does with Siri.

With Enhanced Dictation, none of your recorded speech is sent to Apple and you can dictate continuously, with live feedback. Enhanced Dictation also makes it possible to enable Dictation Commands. These let you tell your Mac to switch apps, click menus, and more.

New! El Capitan adds a new feature for starting dictation with only your voice, as well as ten built-in “workflow” commands for Dictation.

Turn On Dictation

Get started by going to System Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Dictation and setting Dictation to On. A warning cautions you that your speech will be sent to Apple to be converted to text and that the names of your contacts may be sent as well to help your Mac recognize what you’re saying. We’ll take care of this in the next step, so click Enable Dictation.

Download Enhanced Dictation

Now, select the Use Enhanced Dictation box. This will download software (1.2 GB worth if your language is American English) that will take your dictation offline. Since this is a substantial download, it may take a while.

What Happens If You Don’t Choose Enhanced Dictation?

If you choose not to use Enhanced Dictation, you’ll see these differences:

  • Your Mac must be connected to the Internet in order to for you to use dictation.
  • Dictation will perform poorly when your Internet connection is slow.
  • Your words will appear after a pause—you will not see them typed as you speak.
  • The words you say will be recorded and sent to Apple, then converted to text and sent back.
  • Apple will also receive other information to help with dictation accuracy, including, but not limited to, your name, nickname, and contacts.
  • Older voice recordings (disassociated from your name) may be retained by Apple for “a period of time” (Wired magazine reports 2 years) and used to improve dictation.
  • If you turn off dictation or switch to Enhanced Dictation, Apple will delete your user data and any recent voice data.

Download Other Languages

OS X downloads Enhanced Dictation for the language that your Mac is set to use. (As determined by System Preferences > Language & Region.) To be able to dictate in another language or dialect (Australian English, for instance), go to System Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Dictation.

From the Language pop-up menu, choose Add Language. In the list that appears, select the language you want and click OK. OS X downloads the components necessary for that language, too.

Switching to Another Language

When dictation is active, you’ll see a floating microphone palette. Click the language name underneath the mic and then choose another language .

Setting a Shortcut

In the Dictation preference pane, you can set a dictation keyboard shortcut.

The default is a double-press of the fn key. Click the Shortcut pop-up menu to see other possibilities. If you don’t like any of them, choose Customize and then type in your own shortcut.

Choosing a Microphone

If your computer or display doesn’t have a built-in microphone, or you prefer to use something else, click the pop-up menu directly below the microphone icon in the Dictation & Speech preference pane. If another mic is attached to your Mac, you can choose it there.

Dictate Your Thoughts

Here’s how to start dictating:

  1. Open an app, such as TextEdit, and click in the document window.
  2. Invoke Dictation by using your keyboard shortcut—fn fn by default.

    A floating palette with a microphone appears .

  3. When you hear a beep, start talking. Make sure to speak clearly, but don’t over e-nun-ci-ate your words.

    As you speak, words appear in the document window.

  4. When you’re done, press fn once or click Done in the floating microphone palette.

Troubleshooting Dictation

  • Speak up: If you’re speaking too quietly, the microphone in the floating palette will fill only slightly. Get closer to the mic, speak louder, or consider getting a headset.
  • Quiet the noise: If the microphone icon fills completely when you speak, turn off your music or, if necessary, move into a room with less background noise.
  • Check the mic: If the microphone icon doesn’t fill at all when you speak, go to System Preferences > Sound > Input to check your sound set up.

Including Punctuation

You can add punctuation as you speak, saying, for example: “Today was a good day period” to write Today was a good day. (Note that you might run into some trouble if you try to dictate Today was a good day, period.)

Tip: When you activate Dictation, OS X will mute all background audio—including the song you’re listening to in iTunes. When you click Done or press fn, the music plays again.

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Dictation identifies common punctuation by name, for example, “comma,” “question mark,” “exclamation point,” and “period” (or “full stop”). It then adds that punctuation in the current text field. For a list of recognized punctuation, see Apple’s article, Dictation Commands You Can Use in OS X.

You can also use Dictation to do very basic formatting. For example, say “all caps” “new paragraph,” or “new line.”

Smart Dictation Shortcuts

Dictation adds some punctuation automatically. For instance, if you say a date like “December 12 2003” it will type December 12, 2003—Dictation adds the comma automatically.

Likewise, Dictation will convert common symbols—“copyright sign” to © and “euro sign” to €.

Say the names of a few basic emoticons and Dictation will even change them to ASCII equivalents: “smiley face” to :), “frowny face” to :(, “winky face” to ;), and “cross-eyed laughing face” to XD.

Enable Advanced Commands

To really take advantage of Dictation, you must turn on Advanced Commands. This gives you access to more options, such as “Open document” and “Click item.”

Go to System Preferences > Accessibility and choose Dictation in the list to the left. Click Dictation Commands and then select the Enable Advanced Commands checkbox.

Click Done in the preference pane to activate Advanced Commands.

Tip: When you’re dictating, pause before saying a command. Otherwise, OS X may interpret it as dictation.

New! Use a Keyword Phrase

If you’d rather activate dictation with your voice, now you can. Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Dictation and select the Enable the Dictation Keyword Phrase box. A Dictation icon appears in your menu bar .

The default keyword is “Computer.” (If you choose your own, make sure it is three syllables or a couple of words.) Say “Computer, start dictating!” to get things rolling.

This is particularly useful if you’ve enabled Advanced Commands, because you can also say “Computer, switch to Finder” or use any dictation command any time—not just when you’ve activated Dictation with a keyboard shortcut. The keyword helps minimize your Mac’s confusion over whether or not you’re talking to it, which means fewer commands accidentally typed as dictation.

Try the Commands at Hand

Commands you can speak include:

  • Commands for selecting: For example, “Select <phrase>,” “Select next sentence,” “Deselect that”
  • Commands that move the insertion point in a document: For example, “Go to the end of paragraph,” “Go to the next field”
  • Commands for editing: For example, “Copy that,” “Replace <phrase> with <phrase>,” “Insert date”
  • Commands for formatting: For example, “Bold that,” “Underline <phrase>”
  • System commands: For example, “How do I <phrase>,” “Search Spotlight for <phrase>,” “Open dictation preferences”
  • Application commands: For example, “Switch to <app name>,” “Quit <app name>,” “Click <menu name> menu”

Tip: You can use the “Switch to <application name>” command to launch any app in the list, not just to switch to it when the app is already open.

  • Document Commands: For example, “Save document,” “Minimize window,” “Click <item name>”

To see a list of all the commands you can access, activate Dictation (press fn fn or speak your trigger keyword, described in the sidebar just above), wait for the beep, and then say “Show commands” .

Note: To use these commands, you must have already enabled Enhanced Dictation and Advanced Commands, as described earlier in this chapter.

Create a Command

To tell your Mac to do something that’s not in the commands list, such as paste in your contact information, you can create the command yourself:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Accessibility. Scroll down to the Dictation item and select it .
  2. Click the Dictation Commands button.
  3. Click the plus button.
  4. In the When I Say field to the right, type a phrase, for example, “Paste my address.”
  5. From the While Using pop-up menu, choose Any Application so the command will work anywhere. (If you want your command to work only while you’re in a certain app, you could choose that app.)
  6. From the Perform menu, choose what the command will do. In this case, choose Paste Text and then enter your address.

    The new command shows in the list at the left and in the Perform pop-up menu .

  7. Click Done.

Now when you say “Computer, paste my address” your address will appear at the insertion point, easy-peasy.

Use this technique to create dictation commands that open a commonly visited Web site, trigger a keyboard shortcut, and more. Apple packed the most potential in the Run Workflow item, as I’ll discuss next.

New! Use Built-in Command Workflows

El Capitan beefs up Dictation with ten built-in Automator Dictation commands that let you navigate iTunes; take a picture; go to Apple’s Web site; or start a new video, audio, or screen recording—all with your voice. It’s easy to activate these and start using them right away.

Activate a Workflow

To get started, activate a new command that intrigues you:

  1. Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Dictation.
  2. Click the Dictation Commands button.
  3. Click the plus button.
  4. To see what commands you can choose from, click the Perform pop-up menu and view the Run Workflow submenu .
  5. Pick one, for example Take My Picture. The other fields autofill—the When I Say field now reading “Take my picture.” You can change this phrase, if you like.

    The new command appears in the left-hand commands list, under the User category.

  6. Click Done.
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Now, try your Dictation command. Press fn fn and then say the command: “Take my picture.” (Or, if you’ve enabled a keyword phrase, use that: “Computer, take my picture.”) You’ll see a flash and then Photos will open to the new picture of you.

Add as many of the built-in commands as you like.

Making Dictation Commands with Automator

You can make your own Dictation commands from scratch using OS X’s Automator app. Start by choosing a Dictation Command document from the workflow template chooser. (See this Macworld article for details.)

Delete a Command Workflow

  1. Go to System Preferences > Accessibility > Dictation.
  2. Click the Dictation Commands button.
  3. Select the command in the list.
  4. Click the minus button to remove it.
  5. Click Done.

Have Your Mac Talk to You

Whether you have trouble reading text on-screen, or you just like the soothing sound of your computer reading to you, the Mac can oblige.

Turn On Text to Speech

Open System Preferences > Dictation & Speech > Text to Speech .

Choose a Voice

Click the System Voice pop-up menu to give your Mac a voice, either male or female. Choose one by name and click Play to hear what it sounds like. (Some say droll phrases, like “I sure like being inside this fancy computer.”) Change the voice’s speed with the Speaking Rate slider.

If you’re still not satisfied, click the System Voice pop-up menu again and choose Customize. A larger list of voices appears, as well as higher quality versions of some of the stock voices . Select a name and click Play to audition it.

You’ll find some less synthetic voices here, as well as novelty voices like Bahh and Bubbles. You can also select from international voices. Once you’ve found the right one, click OK to download it. As soon as it’s done, you can choose it in the System Voice pop-up menu.

Add a Shortcut

Select the Speak Selected Text When the Key Is Pressed checkbox to add a shortcut for Text to Speech. By default, it’s Option-Esc. Change it by clicking Change Key and adding your own.

Have Your Mac Announce Alerts

Select the Announce When Alerts Are Displayed checkbox to have your Mac tell you when an alert appears on-screen.

Have Your Mac Announce the Time

Click the Open Date & Time Preferences button to jump to that system preference pane. Here you can select the Announce the Time option and choose the frequency (on the hour, on the half hour) in the pop-up menu.

This is surprisingly helpful if you’re the kind of person who loses track of time.

Listen to a Story

Once Text to Speech is set up, your Mac can read to you. Select some text—say, on a Web page—and then press your shortcut, Option-Esc by default. Your Mac starts talking.

Some apps—Safari, iBooks, TextEdit, Pages, to name a few—also include a menu item for Speech (Edit > Speech > Start Talking) .

Be aware that if you don’t make a selection before using the command, Speech to Text will read everything on the page (or, in iBooks, the entire chapter). When it comes to Safari, this might mean listening to text advertisements, sidebars, and other non-essential material—unless you switch to Reader view first.

When you’re done, choose Edit > Speech > Stop Talking.

Downloading Additional Components El Capitan Download

Copyright © 2015, Sawyer McFarland Media. All rights reserved.

Version 9.10.3

Updated components

The threat detection engine is 3.80.1

Resolved issues

Resolved an issue with the status of on-access scanning in Sophos Enterprise Console.

Version 9.10.2

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Support for macOS 11 Big Sur.

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The threat detection engine is 3.80.1.

Resolved issues

Security improvements.

Version 9.10.0

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The threat detection engine has been updated to 3.79.0

Resolved issues

Resolved issues for this release.
Issue IDDescription
MACEP-5389Resolved an issue with tabs opening slowly in Google Chrome.

Version 9.9.7

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Resolved issues for this release.
Issue IDDescription
MACEP-4657Improved device control support for large capacity removable storage devices to ensure that they are blocked after restart.

Version 9.9.5

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  • This release contains improved support for macOS 10.15 Catalina.

Resolved issues

Resolved issues for this release.
Issue IDDescription
MACEP-4314Resolved an issue in which Sophos Anti-Virus may incorrectly report successful updates as failures.

Version 9.8.5

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Version 9.8.4

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Version 9.7.8

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