A walking, talking secretary that provides 24-hour service—thought it wasn't possible? Think again.
This story appears in the January 2000 issue of Startups. Subscribe »
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Less than $300 for a secretary? That's pretty affordable, even for the smallest homebased business. This option is also convenient: At a street price of $249, Dragon Systems NaturallySpeaking Mobile is more or less like having a secretary who'll take dictation 24 hours a day, wherever you go. The system comes with Dragon NaturallySpeaking Preferred software and a hardware voice recorder that fits in your palm. The recorder plugs into your computer through an included cable for easy dictation dumping and transcription into your favorite word-processing program.

Otherwise, you're free to roam into the backyard, a client's workplace, the airport, a supermarket, wherever. The recorder holds up to 40 minutes of dictation (about 10 pages worth). If you've never used Dragon, you'll be surprised by the accuracy of the transcription. It takes an initial time investment to train the software, but it's worth it. The recorder controls are very accessible and intuitive. Visit for more information.

Edition: October 2016

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