Good morning, and welcome to Ask a Geek Anything volume 24
Hey welcome to that spot on the interwebs where we answer anything that won’t get us pepper-sprayed and Tazed at a con (and a few things that will)
So, first up today is Ten thumbs Ted, who asks: Does Dragon software perform up to expectations? Are there things to keep in mind when installing it? and answering it is that tickler of the keyboards Declan Finn, who replies:
Yes and no. I guess it depends on what your expectations actually are.
Yes, in that I’ve heard that there are people – professional writers, even – that find it performs beautifully. David Weber, I believe, is one of them, and he writes his body weight in books every few years (and he is not a toothpick).
On the other hand, my personal experience boils down to “What the bloody blue hell is this mess!”
First, keep in mind, that it has to learn what you’re saying. It has to adapt to how you speak. When I got a copy, I spent a while reading from selected works of Scott Adams into the program and hoping it all came together.
Second, get a good microphone. Seriously, a good microphone. Preferably one where you can speak at conversational volume and be heard, and not one where you have to shout the house down.
Don’t expect this to be Star Trek dictation software, but if you have problems typing, this will help a lot.
No one else in the crew has any experience with Dragon, So I’m afraid that’s the best we can do for you Ted, if you try it, let us know how it worked for you…
Next up is Con Virgin of Virginia, who asks: I’ve never been to a con, as you might have guessed, but I’ve heard all sorts of things happen, I’ve read about rapes and assaults… Is it safe?
Well as I’ve done security on Cons, SCA events, and military bases and prisons as well as being a cop, I’ll take this one on.
OK Con. Based on your question, I’m going to guess you’re a girl. Yes that’s sexist of me. Oh well. It would have been great if I had gotten this question before the major cons of the year were over, but consider this a primer for next year instead.
As luck would have it, I’ve just gotten done about a week ago going through the annual SAPR training (that’s military for Sexual assault prevention and response training). So lets start with an official statement and issue from the military and law enforcement, plus my response.
We’ve been told for years that “It’s never the victims fault!” and we’ve received massive push back from the bad old days (probably the 70s and before from what I remember) when if a woman screamed rape, the first thing asked, was “what did you do to ask for it?”
Now I am not saying it’s ever the victims fault, It’s not. BUT while yes, no matter what, a woman is never “asking for it” unless she actually asks for it, here in AAGA we believe in taking responsibility for our selves and our actions. There is a presupposition in that whole “it’s never the victims fault” thing, that is wrong, and stupid. It assumes that “fault” is an all or nothing proposition. WRONG!!!
UNDERSTAND THIS the Rapist, or assailant is ALWAYS at fault. HOWEVER If you are an 18 year old hot body, who walks into a Frat Boy lounge in panties and a bra, and has guys drinking jello shots out of your cleavage (to take this to an extreme) well don’t be too surprised if one of those guys has trouble understanding that no means no. Or another example, walking into a SEAL bar, or a bar with a shithouse load of Scooters with Colors (that means motorcycles with MC club leather) and acts like she’s looking to go home with someone, well them boys are going to go with the 90% of communication that’s non verbal… I’m going to say you (the 18 yo hot body) have just a little bit of fault there, for failing the situational awareness test. It’s like walking though the middle of the local Crips turf dripping Benjamins out of your pockets… Someone’s going to do something stupid.
Hey! the wheel has turned, and instead of women having to fear sexual assault from men, by and large, men are running scared of women, and accusations these days, and frankly it’s gotten a little scary for the men. There’s been several cases in the past few years of women screaming rape, ruining men’s lives, and it turning out to be a frame-up… Don’t mistake me, I’m not saying it’s something that happens a lot, but it does happen, and guys are aware of it. So, as long as you aren’t terminally stupid, you really have nothing to worry about… these are your people, They’re geeks too! you’re safer here at the con than you are out in public, because by and large, these folks are a might smarter than the average bear, and honestly a little more socially awkward.
Now we’ve all read the horror stories about some gal that was manhandled at a con, or groped… Yes I suppose it happens. In my not inconsiderable experience though, more often than not, (and I mean 999 out of 1K)no one can actually put a name to these claims, and the Gal that’s screaming Rape, can’t describe the individual, the place, or anything else… There are women out there sadly, that hate men so much that someone looking at them because they’ve got mustard spilled all over their top wants to call the looks they receive “sexual assault”…There are women out there that want to dress in absolutely nothing, and call it assault if you look at them at all…
OK now that we’ve covered the really ugly fears, and I hope put them to rest, I will answer the rest of the security questions… Theft? YES it happens, and second only to Drunk and Disorderly, and the corollary vandalism, it’s the number one problem for security at the con. This pisses me right off! Most of them aren’t “US” they’re professional thieves (small scale, but pros none the less) who show up and try to rob the merchant tables, and sometimes the con attendees. What do you do about it? Again, situational awareness. LOCK your damn door when you go out, most rooms these days have safes, if you have something High dollar, put it in the safe! The class of thieves that hit cons aren’t James Fucking Conn, and you don’t have anything expensive enough to attract the attention of that class of criminal. These guys are going to take what’s out and easy, and they’re gone. Don’t show where your wallet is with constant checks of it, for Gods sake, you should be able to feel if your wallet is there or not without sweeping your hand over it every five minutes, and what are you doing carrying enough money or credit cards in that sucker to be that scared of pickpockets anyway? Remember the safe?
Drunks, and Vandalism. Drink! Have a good time! Hey I don’t care if you get SNOT SLINGING, Puke in your boots, Alcohol poisoning drunk! (well actually if you get to the point of Alcohol poisoning, I care, only because I’m going to have to call an ambulance on your ass) but for GODS sake, Show some consideration for the rest of the con that isn’t you! If you get too loud, and too confrontational, there is going to be someone that calls either Con security, or Hotel security, or (we hope not but it happens) the cops. If hotel security or the cops get involved, you’re fucked. They’re going to have no sense of HA HA, and the Con isn’t going to have your back, I don’t care if you’re Issac Asimov, David Weber, GRRM, and John Ringo all rolled into one, once the cops are involved, the con is going to let you hang, and well they should… We’re back to that “personal responsibility” thing. Vandalism, JUST DON’T. That way lies the con loosing the Venue forever, and while I’m not saying I will hurt you, well, if you’re too drunk to realize that taking your barbarian sword to the hall tree woodwork is a bad idea… you might just be drunk enough to fall down a set of stairs, and I’m not going to stop you, even if you fall down them repeatedly…
Recreational Pharmaceuticals. Con security ain’t cops. We don’t actually care if you’re stoned out of your gourd, (see above) But give us deniability please! If you’re smoking it in a non smoking room it doesn’t matter if it’s legal in your state or not, it’s the whole smoking thing the hotel has an issue with. If you’re taking something stronger than Grass, PLEASE don’t do it at the con. Not because Con security cares, but because if you do something stupid while stoned, THAT we care about, and again, that sort of shit looses us venues.
OK, that’s all we have for this week, remember, you can e-mail us questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us through Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/askageekanythingowg . We have all the old articles there and will update it every week with new ones, as well as take questions from posts. If you’re so inclined, we’d appreciate it if you could like and share the page, because we’re running really low on questions to answer! If you don’t ask it, we can’t answer!Have a great weekend, and we’ll see you next week.