[bct] Re: Web-Braille

  • From: Buddy Brannan <buddy@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 28 Jan 2006 08:12:21 -0500

Horrid is, of course, in the ear of the beholder. I personally like the speech from the SSI263 chip (the heart of the BNS/Artic/Accent/ Sounding Board/Speakout) and am sorry that no one makes speech with it anymore.

A couple weeks ago, a sighted acquaintance of mine asked me, "Why is it that speech synthesis that you guys use still so horrible when they can make those great interactive systems on the phone that sound so good?" Mind you, at the time, he was hearing Eloquence; imagine what he'd've said to the Accent downstairs! Anyway, I explained to him that our criteria for "horrible" were quite different. Where he might prize high quality speech, more imprtant to me was fast and efficient. Higher quality speech means, in most cases, a larger memory and processor requirement. The tradeoff for high-quality speech is sluggish response and the inability to comfortably speak at a high rate of speed. What I wanted in a speech synthesizer is the ability to get information out of it fast. And, as important (perhaps more important) the ability to shut up when I tell it to.

Still, the newer Doubletalks can go at a pretty good clip. I just need to get the serial cable on my external fixed...it's one weakness of the external Doubletalk that I really don't like--the hardwired serial cable is really not a good idea. Anyway. Let's see. I have the aforementioned Doubletalk which needs the serial cable fixed (wire broken right at the connector, if I'm not very much mistaken); an Accent SA (on the Linux box); a couple things that run Eloquence; the Mac with its built-in software synthesizers; a Keynote Companion I inherited that I need to get revived...the person who I inherited it from has finally found the program disk, so hopefully I can get it working again. Oh, and the mobile phone with Eloquence as well. In short, we have lots of talking things around the house. Not nearly enough braille though, sadly.

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