Question: The PACT advisor at the local job centre is not very helpful but I am entertaining the idea of seeing a disability advisor. I am one of those people who find it hard to accept help. I know how Anna feels about lack of money, I am on Income Support and my employer is the Benefits Agency. How ironic can you get? I do have voice recognition software; it is IBM simply speaking gold. I am not sure if it will work for the internet, I usually use it for dictating letters. It is frustrating to use it as I can type quicker than it speaks and spells! I would be interested if you know whether this software is any good.

Comment 1: I am now a bit confused about how PACT works. When I signed up with them — in 1995 — I saw a Disability Employment Adviser at the Job Centre; she was based there and at the PACT offices. Since she left, the system seems to have changed. But they are still helpful to me (were; I’m not now a “client” as I haven’t a job and am not looking for one immediately). Does anyone here know exactly how PACT works?

I haven’t used Simply Speaking Gold. It isn’t a good program now. I suppose it was in its day. It’s been replaced by continuous speech programs that move faster than you can type. I don’t know how fast you can type: my program, Dragon Systems’ NaturallySpeaking, will take dictation at any speed, and some people get 160 wpm. The IBM programs that replaced Simply Speaking, Via Voice 98 and now Via Voice Millennium, are just as quick. PACT should be helping you get one of these programs and a computer that will run it. I’m afraid I can’t remember whether ViaVoice 98 will do Web and Net work — I don’t see why not! The other two do. — Philips’ free browser, which I still haven’t had time to evaluate, should be OK too.

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