Essential Software

Looking for a little more info? The following is a list of some of what I consider to be essential software I run in Xubuntu on my wearable.

Each of these contribute an key part of the experience:

? //software Dectalk// from fonix
.. Yep, this is one of two pieces of commercial software I run. For years I ran a hardware dectalk, then for a while I used pc104 based doubletalk units, as the rigs became more powerful and software speech became available I moved to that.
? //TTSynth//
.. This is the other piece of commercial software I run. It is also software speech. TTSynth is the current commercial version of what had be available as IBM ViaVoice or Outloud.
? //espeak// - A multi-lingual software speech synthesizer
:: (Available in Ubuntu)
.. Of the free text to speech software, this is the one I like the best.  I often use espeak to generate system messages.  It is available in Ubuntu, it's hompe is http://espeak.source‐
? //emacspeak//
.. The software that changed my life.  Speaking Emacs, it doesn't get much better than that. While available in Ubuntu, the one there is often a version or two behind. 
? //org mode// in //emacs//
.. I am a long time emacs user, but the upgrade to version 22 was well worth it. Org mode is a joy and blends very well with my needs.
? //jabber mode// in //emacs//
.. I use jabber for communication with humans and computers((//sendxmpp// provides a simple way that scripts can send text messages.))
? //osd_cat//
:: (Available in Ubuntu)
.. This little gem uses the X OSD library to send text that is on top of all your windows and independent of them to your screen. In conjunction with speech this is great for getting system information like rig temp., ssid of the wireless connection, remaining batter life and anything else you want to see without the annoyance of a pop-up window that will mess with you keyboard focus or cover up your work.
? //wpa supplicant//
:: (Available in Ubuntu)
.. With simple configuration of 2 files the wearable now moves among the various wireless configurations I need it to. The vast majority of the time it connects and sets things up entirely without human intervention.  I have set up spoken messages in ifup/down scripts so I am told when and to what network it connects to or disconnects from.
? //laptop mode//
:: (Available in Ubuntu) 
.. This is essential for increasing the life of your rig
.. I have switched to Ekiga for phone calls. I have not gone so far as to set up an incoming conventional phone number, but I am considering it. One tip for Ekiga, out of the box it has echo cancellation enabled. When I disabled this setting my microphone become significantly louder and clearer. With this setting enabled I could not get the microphone adjusted to an acceptable volume no matter what I tried. Without it, all was fine. It is found on Edit => Preferences => Codecs => Audio Codecs, in a check box below Audio Codecs Settings.
?//keynav & xdotool//
:: While not quite "essential" I am finding these nice to have.  Xdotool was in the source for keynav.  Xdotool does a nice job of faking input from the mouse and keyboard.  It is in some distributions or from  Keynav is the best of the //fake a pointer with keyboard input// programs I have tried.  It is available from or is bundled with some linux distributions.  Rather than hold a key down to watch the mouse move across the screen, keynav lets you get the pointer where you want it in a few keystrokes. 
:: (Available in Ubuntu) 
: Pdfedit is without question the best way to get text out of a PDF file.  Also, anything you can do in the editor you can script and do on the command line.  

Greg Priest-Dorman 2011/02/11 06:34