RE: Some stories

  • From: "Chris Hofstader" <chris.hofstader@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 10 Feb 2008 06:52:56 -0500

Among the first things Ted Henter taught me when I joined HJ was to use as few 
syllables as possible.  In the nearly eight years since Ted departed and the 
three since I moved on, an increasing number of abbreviations are being 
expanded and in an inconsistent manner via the JAWS dictionary manager.

The abbreviation" FYI" used to say "F Y I" but now takes up the extra time to 
say "For your information,"  A dollar sign before a number reads dollar one 
hundred but a €500 with the euro symbol at the front reads 500 Euros.  There 
are lots of these oddball examples in JAWS 7 through 9 that you can find by 
digging through the enormous list that is the JAWS dictionary manager.  I don't 
know what Window-Eyes or SA do in these areas.


-----Original Message-----
From: programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
[mailto:programmingblind-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Dale Leavens
Sent: Saturday, February 09, 2008 10:39 PM
To: programmingblind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Some stories

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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