[DECtalk], Playdec - a program for running Dectalk files automatically

  • From: "Jayson Smith" <ratguy@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dectalk@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Tue, 20 Jul 2004 01:30:32 -0400

Hello everybody!  I have some great news for those of you Dectalkists who
use speak43 or a similar Dectalk demo application which has a hardcoded
filename.  I have just written a small program which will allow you to open
up Dectalk files automatically.  As described later, I am proposing that the
extension .dec be made standard for Dectalk files so people can make a file
association for them to have them open up automatically.  The program can be
downloaded from http://jaybird.no-ip.info/playdec.zip
Here's the playdec.txt file included in the package so you can get a better
idea of what this program does and how to use it.  Hope you enjoy it!

A program to help with playing Dectalk files
By Jayson Smith
Written July 19, 2004

     Playdec.exe is a program to help you in opening Dectalk files
with an extension of .dec in the Dectalk demo software.  It accepts
a filename on the command line and, using an initialization file
described later, will copy that file into the appropriate place and
start the Dectalk application for you.  Additionally, by making a
file association you can have Windows open up Dectalk files in the
Dectalk application automatically when you run them, click on them
or download them in Internet Explorer.

     This program is free to use however you wish, for fun,
educational, commercial, etc.  There are no restrictions on use or
distribution of this program.  Full source code is included so you
can modify the code to meet your own needs, however, if you write
an application based on this program I'd like to know about it, and
I'd like to be given credit for the portions of code that are mine.
Fair enough?

     There is no fancy install procedure.  Just unzip this file
wherever you like.  It is recommended that you unzip the file in
the same directory as your Dectalk application E.G. speak43.exe.
The playdec.exe and playdec.ini files must be located in this
directory.  You may rename playdec.exe to a filename more to your
liking, however, playdec.ini may not be renamed.  Playdec.txt is
the file you are reading now.  Playdec.iba is the IBasic source
code for the Playdec program.  If you want to keep it, it can be
moved wherever you want, or if you have no plans to look at or
modify it, you can safely delete it.
     The playdec.ini file is needed so playdec.exe can know where
to find the Dectalk application and what filename it expects.  If
you use the speak43.exe program which expects a file named
demo.txt, the included playdec.ini file is already set up for your
situation and you need to take no further action.  If you use a
different application, you need to modify or recreate the
playdec.ini file.  This file is in a very simple format, and
consists of two lines.  The first line contains the filename of the
Dectalk application, E.G. speak43.exe.  The second line contains
the name of the file the Dectalk application expects E.G. demo.txt.
Don't include full paths in this file or it won't work!  Just the
filenames are needed.

     To use playdec, just execute it as follows.  From the start,
run dialog, type in the full path and filename to the playdec.exe
file, a space, then the full path and filename to the Dectalk file
you wish to play.  Playdec will run, copy the file, then start the
Dectalk application.  Normally playdec will produce no output and
won't even open a new window.  However, if an error occurs, it will
open up a console window, display an error message, and wait for a
key press.  Pressing any key will close the console window and
terminate the program.  Be warned that Playdec will overwrite the
file the Dectalk software expects E.G. demo.txt with the file being
played, so do not keep anything important in that file!

Creating an Association
     One of the more useful things you can do with Playdec is to
associate it with Dectalk files so that Windows can open them up
automatically.  The following instructions will create a file
association for you.  These instructions are for Windows 98 Second
Edition, and may differ in other versions of Windows.  First, go to
the Desktop and open up "My Computer".  Then, pull down the View
menu and select "Folder Options".  Select the "File Types" tab.
Once that's open, click the "New Type" button.  A new dialog will
open up.  For a description of the new type, enter "Dectalk file".
For associated extension, enter ".dec".  Note the period before the
extension is required!  Next tab over to the "New" button for a new
action and click on it.  For a description of the action, enter
"Open".  For application used to perform this action, enter a quote
mark, the fully qualified path and filename of the playdec.exe
file, E.G. c:\dectalk\playdec.exe, a quote mark, a space, another
quote mark, the percent sign which is the shift of the 5, an upper
case L, and another quote mark.  For example, it might look like
"c:\dectalk\playdec.exe" "%L"
     Click OK, then click on the Close buttons in each dialog until
you're back in my computer.  Then exit that.  Now, try running a
.dec file directly, or finding one using the "find files" dialog.
What's even more amazing is that now if you click on a .dec file in
Internet Explorer it will automatically open up in the Dectalk
application and start playing!

     I, Jayson Smith, do hereby propose the file extension of .dec
to be used for Dectalk files.  Many people are already using this
extension for Dectalk files, but by making this extension standard
people can make a Windows file association for it.
     This program was written in IBasic, an inexpensive Basic-like
programming language available from www.pyxia.com.
     If you have any questions, you can contact me at
ratguy@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx  I hope you enjoy this program!
Jayson Smith

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