RE: Some stories

  • From: "Chris Meredith" <tallin32@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 12:12:05 -0800

Ah, the classics never die. =)


-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of tribble
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2008 8:23 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Some stories

Well, this is for Dale's post -- probably everyone has run across this 
little gem as it has been circulating for years on the net and even as 
fliers, but for those not initiated:

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----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jackie McBride" <abletec@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2008 10:59 PM
Subject: Re: Some stories


I have a DoubleTalk synthesizer.  I can't remember if I was using dos
or win95 at the time, but happened to stumble across the word faq.
The doubletalk pronounced it as 2 syllables, fa (the a of which was
pronounced as a short u) & q.  I guess u know what *that* sounded
like!  My puter was givin me the verbal version of the bird!  I've
gotta say it quite shocked me when it first occurred!  It took a bit
to figure out what the offending word actually was.  I guess I could
(& probably should) have changed it in the pronunciation dictionary,
but it was so damn funny I just left it.  I had to get a new
Doubletalk recently cuz the cable on the old 1 bit it & I don't know
if RC Systems has changed the way the doubletalk handles that acronym
or not--they may have as I wouldn't put it past kids to write that in
their papers & have the dt read it aloud in class just for the shock
value of it.

Best of luck w/your discertation.

On 2/9/08, Dale Leavens <dleavens@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> I still use soft vert on a DOS machine and some applications but using the
> Votrax PSS RS-232 synthasizer. The synth is a little slow however the 
> point
> I want to make here is that when the letters s h i t in a single word or 
> in
> certain other combinations occur the synth says sugar. I don't know if 
> this
> is a feature of the PSS or Soft Vert however having discovered this I had 
> to
> test every so called sware word I could think of all in the interest of 
> good
> scientific investigation of course.
> Apparently only the one word was considered sufficiently offensive to the
> blind to require preserving our indignity.
> I still have a Maryland Computer HP/125 up stairs which worked last time I
> tried it.
> Once, in a state of frustration I typed in a message refering to sex and
> travel. The computer responded "Would you like to be on top?". I told 
> David
> Kostician about this, he had sold me the computer, I understand from im 
> that
> he tested this on every subsequent installation he came into contact with
> but apparently never had a similar response. Some little humour someone
> added to the operating system i suppose.
> I will say that I am sometimes offended by the presumptions that 
> synthasizer
> producers tend to make. Many character combinations which happen to
> corespond with the short forms of American states will speak the long form
> of that state name. This is true of scanning in K1000 and used to be so in
> Open Book, may be still. CA (C A) may refer to any number of things but in
> the world of the blind it generally is spoken California.It doesn't seem 
> to
> happen so much in things like Web addresses. The trouble here is that by
> making such assumptions it can complicate understanding context, maybe a
> programming variable maybe a literaal use in a word processing document.
> Somehow it feels patronising to me to have someone make decisions about 
> how
> I should read a two letter sequence. In my business for example, the
> contraction Dr. is more commonly used for Doctor but most of my adaptive
> equipment assumed\s I prefer Drive.
> Wel, that is about all the anicdotes I can think of just now.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "tribble" <lauraeaves@xxxxxxxxx>
> To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2008 10:03 PM
> Subject: Re: Some stories
> > Hi Andreas -- I don't have a specific story, but back around 1991 I was
> > using a DOS screen reader Called Vert -- actually the top of the line 
> > was
> > called Vert Plus, which I used at work, and at home I used PersonalVert,
> > dubbed "the little PerVert" by those who used it.
> > Anyway,  VertPlus used a hardware synth called the Prose card.  It was
> > developed by a Swedish computer scientist who used his own voice to 
> > define
> > the various sounds of speech which were concatenated to form words.  The
> > firmware had many heuristics to make sentences sound natural, but it was
> > not
> > advanced right then (remember 1991 was still pretty primitive in this
> > area).
> > But the result of the implementation had some surprises:  First, the 
> > synth
> > sounded like it had a Swedish accent, and for that reason I nicknamed 
> > the
> > system "Swen".    What was also funny was that the sound of "j" which
> > doesn't occur in Swedish, sounded like "sh" or "h" or even "k" -- so 
> > that
> > some words, such as ginger, were quite baffling on VertPlus but clear on
> > PerVert.
> > Second, on the Prose card, certain phrases were pronounced so that parts
> > of
> > the syllables were compressed or altered depending on the heuristics.
> > This
> > led to some bizarre situations in which the synth would read a perfectly
> > reasonable phrase as if it had profanity embedded in it. This made me
> > think
> > that the "pervert" title applied more to VertPlus than Vert.    *smile*
> > (Note, there was no profanity actually inserted, but syllables were
> > compressed so that it could be interpreted that way by someone not used 
> > to
> > the synth.)  For that reason I always used headphones! (One phrase I
> > remember -- an email with the phrase "fudge in cafeteria".  I'll let you
> > figure out the result.)
> >
> > As for programming, I used this screen reader only to read emails and 
> > text
> > documents and not so much for programming.  This because it was not
> > designed
> > for programming and even for text, the command set in those early screen
> > readers was quite awkward.  I only bought them because I had a
> > catastrophic
> > problem with my vision, and so lost the ability to read print for some
> > months. But when my vision returned, I went back to screen 
> > magnification.
> > Now I again have no print vision yet again but wow, have screen readers
> > ever
> > improved!
> > Good luck on your dissertation.
> > Cheers and happy hacking!
> > --le
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Andreas Stefik" <stefika@xxxxxxxxx>
> > To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
> > Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2008 7:54 PM
> > Subject: Some stories
> >
> >
> > Hello all,
> >
> > I have recently completed the first draft of my dissertation, which is
> > on blind computer programmers and using audio to program. In it, I've
> > created a special C programming environment, ran a ton of experiments,
> > and written more than any human would probably want to read.
> >
> > At the very end of my dissertation, I thought it might be nice to
> > include a section, a few paragraphs, on some "classically bad audio
> > interfaces." Does anyone have any stories of interacting with a
> > program, using Jaws or any other interfaces that use audio, that are
> > so comically bad that they have you scratching your head?
> >
> > I would love to hear some stories, if folks wouldn't mind sharing.
> > (The funnier the better)
> >
> > Just curious,
> >
> > Andreas
> > __________
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Jackie McBride
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