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Re: `woman' can't be used outside emacs?

From: Tim X
Subject: Re: `woman' can't be used outside emacs?
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 15:37:32 +1100
User-agent: Gnus/5.11 (Gnus v5.11) Emacs/22.0.92 (gnu/linux)

Dieter Wilhelm <address@hidden> writes:

> Tim Cross <address@hidden> writes:
>> Possibly I misunderstand your point, but under X, you can set the font
>> size either through xrdb or the emacs command line or through
>> customize. Under the virtual consoles on Linux, you can reduce the
>> font size as well - you don't have the same choices as under X, but
>> you can change it so that instead of an 80x25 display, you can have a
>> (I think it is) 180x32. At one stage Redhat Linux actually had this as
>> the default. From memory, you do this via an option in lilo (not sure
>> what the procedure is with other boot loaders like grub). 
> You are right, I had a blackout, at this stage I'm already under X, It
> is only the window manager which is suppressed, there is no need to
> configure the font size of the virtual consoles.  I will give it a try
> with Emacs as my window manager.
>> One of the features of emacspeak which makes it stand out from
>> commercial screen readers is that it has a different philosophy.
>> Rather than just providing "dumb" speech feedback, emacspeak uses an
>> approach called voice-lock, which is like font-lock, but instead of
>> using different colours, it uses different voices or changes the
>> tone/pitch of a voice to provide more information. For example, cited
>> text will be spoken in a different voice, capital letters at the
>> beginning of a word causes the word to be spoken in a higher pitch,
>> words that are all capitals are spelt out (as they are often an
>> acronym) etc. You can set the system to ignore punctuation, speak some
>> punctuation or speak all punctuation - so, if I'm reading text, I
>> might set it to no punctuation or perhaps some punctuation. If I'm
>> programming, I will set it to speak all punctuation. 
> This is very interesting.  Can you skip to the end of cited text
> during the playback, what happens when there is text in parentheses or
> 3 subsequent full stops (as continuation or omitting sign), is the
> dash considered as a punctuation?

"Out of the box" emacspeak doesn't have a huge variety of specific
ways of handling this sort of thing - in fact, much of what it does
have are features the main author has found useful and added to the
software. However, this is essentially emacs, so it is fairly trivial
to customize the system to meet your own specific needs. For example,
you can define functions which will hide cited text fairly easily
(gnus already has this sort of capability), or you can define
functions to skip cited text etc. I find that using things like
emacspeak's built-in support for browsing by paragraph is sufficient.
Emacspeak does have built in rules which you can customize to handle
things like lines of characters generally used for decoration. For
example, if I have a line of more than 4 = signes, emacspeak will say
either "equals sign x times" where x is the number of repeated
characters rather than saying "equals" 80 times, or you can configure
it to just ignore lines like that (which is what I generally do). For
some common repeated characters, such as ..., you can map it to some
specific spoken words, etc. Often, such as when running VM, instead of
speaking all the text on the summary line, it will just speak the bits
you want to hear, such as who the mail is from and the subject,
ignoring the date and information about the number of lines in each
part of the message etc. However, all of this is customizable and you
can set it up how you prefer.

>> In addition to using different voices, emacspeak also uses auditory
>> icons - a blank line causes a specific tone to be generated, opening a
>> new window causes another sound to be played, etc. I also take
>> advantage of features in programs like gnus which will allow me to
>> "fold" cited text, so that the buffer is narrowed just to the new text
>> etc. 
> Are there any guidelines, for example, from the emacspeak package for
> making email responses to visually handicapped people more efficient
> and clear.
No not really. Actually, I'm not convinced this is a good idea anyway.
In my opinion, I think it is better for the blind user to adapt rather
than require others to adapt. While everyone should try to ensure they
are using formats that are accessible (in that the blind user can get
the "raw" data), requiring authors/writers/composers to write in a
specific way for anyone with a disability is never going to work, plus
I think the emphasis should be with the blind user adapting to the
real world rather than the real world adapting for blind users (who
are in the minority anyway). As long as the blind user can access the
text, they can manipulate it into a form that suits them in a similar
way to how sighted users may configure their editor to use fonts or
colours that suit them. It also isn't that practicle for the non-blind
user to try and adapt for the needs of the lbind user - for one thing,
there is no such thing as the one cannonical blind user - we all have
slightly different needs and preferences. Also, if you are writing to
a number of different people, some of which may be blind and some may
not, which should take preference or how are you to know. Essentially,
when writing, the only thing you should need to consider is how to
make what your writing clear and ensure it expresses what you mean.
This in itself is often more difficult than you would expect.

tcross (at) rapttech dot com dot au

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