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Re: audio icons work everywhere except w3m.

krishnakant Mane writes:
 > On 02/11/06, Tim Cross <tcross@rapttech.com.au> wrote:
 > >
 > > I get the point of what you are after, but I get the feeling you are
 > > missing the main point of open source software. If there is a feature
 > > which you feel would be good to add to the system, the solution is to
 > > go ahead an implement it.

 > what's the point doing some thing which has already been done in a
 > much better way?  I am just trying to understand things.
 > I had initially found it difficult to understand how the audio icons work.
 > and since I am now using the alsa version of eflite, I suppose I must
 > be able to listen to audio icons.  again as I said I am trying to
 > understand some thing I haven't seen working after using the
 > documentation of course.
 > however if the case is that I am not actually hearing the audio icons,
 > then I need to know how they will be available once eflite (alsa
 > version) is being used?

Its fine you are trying to understand. However, the point I was trying
to make is that emacspeak is not a screen reader and you need to stop
considering it as one and making comparisons with other screen readers
like jaws. While you continue to do this, you won't get the basic
paradigm shift you need to get in order to make the most out of the

With respect to audio icons, alsa and flite - it is very difficult for
people on the list to know if you are hearing the icons and if your
not why not. This is because there are a lot of variables involved.
For example, the type of sound card you have. 

With open source projects like emacspeak, the user must be prepared to
put in a lot more time and effort than with commercial software.
Rightly or wrongly, documentation for open source projects is often
lacking and out of date, there is usually no formal support mechanism
and information you get from various sources is more often a guess
rather than a fact. To a large extent, the ability to work things out
is down to the user most of the time. All that lists like this one can
do is give hints on where to look.

 > > I'm also not sure if you are actually hearing audio icons or just the
 > > beep that emacs does with some operations. If you have auditory icons
 > > working, you should hear more different sounds that just beeps. I'd
 > > suggest going into the directory which contains the wave files and
 > > playing them so that you get an idea of what the range of different
 > > icons is.
 > I am only hearing beeps in different pitch.  for example when doing c
 > coding, I hear some high beeps for indented lines and low beeps for
 > normal blank lines.

Have you located the icons directory and played them so that you know
what they sound like? This will immediately tell you if your hearing
the icons or not. I suspect the tones/beeps you are hearing may be
from flite - but I've never run that synth, so I'm only guessing.

 > > Some points I'd like to raise for consideration are
 > >
 > > 1. This is emacspeak and not Jaws. It uses a different philosophy and
 > > a different approach. It is not designed to be a dumb screen reader
 > > like jaws and I think its a mistake to make comparisons - better to
 > > try to consider what outcome is required and possibly adopt a
 > > different approach which may even be better. For example, you may be
 > > able to achieve what you want through the use of xslt etc.
 > I am not trying to compare any thing.  just want to know what is "the
 > more smarter way " from the more experienced people.  since I did not
 > find out those smarter ways, I raised the point.

The smarter way is to forget about screen readers. Read what Raman has
written about the audible desktop and think about what that means.
Explore the source tree and things like the xsl directory and what it
can do. Be prepared to approach problems from a different perspective
and consider alternative solutions to problems.  

 > > 2. Personally, I have no need for the features you are asking for and
 > > wouldn't support them unless they are an option which can be toggled
 > > on for those who want it. I have no issue with you adding this
 > > functionality at all - everyones milage differs. However, I don't want
 > > something which adds functionality I don't need at the cost of
 > > performance or stability.
 > >
 > > 3. to get the most out of emacspeak, I believe you need one of the
 > > good quality TTS engines. While I recognise not everyone can afford
 > > commercial TTS engines, I don't believe such cost considerations
 > > should drive what feature sets emacspeak has. Many of the limitations
 > > you are experiencing are because of the TTS you are using and the fact
 > > you are not getting the major advantages of what emacspeak has to
 > > offer. If all you want is a free screen reader, then maybe you should
 > > look at linux speak-up, yasr, orca, gnupernicus screader or speech
 > > dispatcher.
 > >
 > > 4. Emacspeak is open source - feel free to grab the sources and
 > > add/modify/change whatever you like. This is what the "free" aspect
 > > really refers to - not the free as in it didn't cost anything.
 > >
 > > 5. I've had a bad day at work, so my temper is probably short and I'm
 > > possibly not being as tolerant as I should. However, I do have to say
 > > that it is a bit "rich" for someone with very little experience and
 > > understanding of the facilities and power of emacs and emacspeak to be
 > > argueing for new/more features when they don't yet udnerstand how to
 > > use what is already there. I'd like to suggest that rather than
 > > posting suggestions and criticisms concerning what emacspeak needs,
 > > you actually grab the sources and attempt to implement what you feel
 > > is missing. Then you can make it available for others to try and maybe
 > > it will get added to the main source tree. Apart from giving the
 > > impression you are simply a user who wants to wine about things you
 > > miss from jaws, it will show you are prepared to actually contribute
 > > more than words and things will actually happen. There are a number of
 > > users on this list who will be more than happy to provide guidance and
 > > suggestions to someone who is actually contributing to the development
 > > of the system. There are fewer who will continue to tolerate pointless
 > > comparisons with a commercial windows product. I don't believe the
 > > main objective of emacspeak is to provide a free clone of a windows
 > > screen reader - the objective is to provide an alternative, more
 > > powerful interface for blind users. the low cost is just a lucky
 > > coincidence. The objective is not simply to compete with screen
 > > readers or make it user friendly, but rather provide a different
 > > paradigm which may provide other advantages commercial screen readers
 > > have not considered. Emacspeak is not necessarily for everyone, but
 > > nor does it try to be.
 > ok, the moment I become very efficient in elisp, I will surely be
 > adding good features to emacspeak.  right now my hands are tied up
 > because I am a python programmer and started to learn lisp only for
 > helping other emacspeak users, I have no commertial profit out of
 > learning it.  and seams lisp or elisp is real fun to develop in, I
 > kind of like it now a days.  and it will be my pleasure if I can help
 > make emacspeak a more common every once favorite  screen reader.  it
 > seams to me that emacspeak has great potential to become a complete
 > accessibility solution for a common blind computer user.      but
 > while I firmly believe in the free and open source concept I believe
 > that I will never be able to take any open source or free software as
 > a religion.  if I have developed a product, I will sportingly except
 > critics and also if some good points are suggested.  any ways, that's
 > not the point at this moment and since as you said, emacspeak users
 > have no say about feature discussions, I wont do it again till I
 > become expert in elisp.  probably such packages are only ment for very
 > knowledgeable developers?  so may be I will be actively participating
 > in emacspeak development.  I really like the power emacspeak provides,
 > but feel more features could make it a software of the common blind
 > person rather than programmers like you and me.  and it is my
 > ashurance that I will not just argue but try to achieve it.

- Firstly, none of us have any commercial gain from learning elisp
  directly. I believe learning elisp has allowed me to configure my
  environment in such a way as to make me more productive and
  therefore I have gained commercial benefit indirectly, but none of
  us are paid to write elisp and it has not helped me get a job.

Secondly, I don't really care how popular emacspeak is with average
users. In fact, I'm not sure it is even the right solution for most
blind users who have no interest in anything other than web surfing,
reading e-mail and listening to recordings. Likewise, I don't use
emacspeak because it is free. I use emacspeak because I find its
different approach works better for what I need than a dumb screen
reader and because I can extend and modify it in ways that make it
even more suitable for my needs. I will contribute to the project
because others may find it beneficial, but I don't feel a need to make
it any more or less popular than it is. If anything, I would like to
have more time to experiment with different ideas, but primarily for
my own curiosity rather than anything else. 

Note also that my prior post was not meant to say that people cannot
ask questions or raise issues concerning emacspeak. Rather, it was to
say that you need to understand the underlying philosophy and
understand how it works and what the benefits, strengths and
weaknesses are before trying to push forwrd suggestions on what needs
to change and new features which need to be added. I think it is also
necessary to show a real effort to find solutions independently and
come to the list only when you have exhausted other avenues and still
cannot find a solution. 

Above all, I think what you really need to do is forget about the
screen reader paradigm you are use to - stop trying to find ways of
doing things in emacs and emacspeak in the same way you do it in jaws.
Maybe try to imagine you have never used a screen reader at all, know
little about the web or computers and start exploring emacspeak,
emacs, Linux and the Internet as if was all new. Difficult to do I'm
sure, but I think you may find some new insight. 



Tim Cross

There are two types of people in IT - those who do not manage what they 
understand and those who do not understand what they manage.

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