Dragon marauds London, escapes arrest

Voice recognition mascot no threat

Warning: fire

Software company Nuance's dragon mascot narrowly escaped arrest this morning. The fanged and winged - but very green and fluffy - creature was prancing around London's Leicester Square when two police officers approached, asking: "You're not with Fathers-4-Justice, are you sir?"

Reassured that the dragon was merely frightening the tourists and was not a civil rights protestor about to scale the outside of a tall building and unfurl an anti-Blair banner, the officers left him to it.

The dragon was there - along with Nuance's promotional DragonBus - to mark 10 years since the original release of Dragon NaturallySpeaking, which the company claims was the first voice recognition software to work with "natural speech". Previous voice recognition apps had required users to speak each word separately, like a robot (or Dr Stephen Hawking).

The company's latest Vista-capable release, Dragon NaturallySpeaking v9, can also convert speech stored on a pocket dictation recorder and can recognise a user's speech without needing training. Plus, for £50 extra, it is available with a DECT wireless headset, which you can then also use with other PC apps such as Skype.

Today is the final chance for would-be St Georges to catch the DragonBus - it's in Leicester Square until 4pm. ®

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