[Sugar-devel] Fwd: [Bookreader] Newbie question: where's help most dearly needed?

Sean DALY sdaly.be at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 16:54:06 EST 2009

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Andreas Gros <info at andreasgros.net>
Date: Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 10:48 PM
Subject: [Bookreader] Newbie question: where's help most dearly needed?
To: bookreader at lists.laptop.org

Dear all,

as I am new to this list I would very much like to know how to best
support the further development of the xyz-"reader" capabilities on
sugar resp. the XO. I am currently working for the Max Planck Digital
Library and Open Access is a very important concept to me. As Open
Access is not fully achieved if digital content cannot be used in ways
that let users exploit its contents fully (e.g. with the already
mentioned text-to-speech, a good annotation system, smart bookmarking,
sharing of annotations, ...), I would very much like to make digital
content more usable for children. One of the best ways I see is to
improve/bring to life the XO's e-reader capabilities (although I
currently have no first-hand experience with it).

I am both a programmer (currently, ubuntu is my preferred OS and c++,
java, python, ruby are no foreign languages to me) and a scientist
(mathematical modelling) and if you could send me some pointers on where
help is most needed ....

Thanks a hell of a lot!

Best, Andi

On 29.10.2009 23:30, Mike McCabe wrote:
> I'll chime in -
> I also think this is a great idea.  I've worked with several
> text-to-speech readers recently, as part of my effort to make the
> Internet Archive books available to print disabled people.
> They're very useful, and I think that this mode of reading could be of
> use to a very broad range of users.  I suspect we'll see more of it soon.
> I'm also curious to hear about specific experiences with
> linux-compatible free TTS, as we may be producing audio books with this
> to work with the new Library of Congress audio players.
> Best regards -
> Mike
> Gregor Kervina wrote:
>> Hi Sayamindu,
>> thanks for quick reply!
>> There is a lot of text to speech software out there - I use
>> http://www.bytecool.com/coolspch.htm that you can try trial and download
>> additional voices, just to get a feeling, but it is not free and not for
>> linux. Many other programs are more complex and complicated and some of
>> them use very complex voice engines that in my opinion doesn't sound
>> very good. (I use Mary voice with cool speech)
>> OK I spent some time to find all TTS software that is free for linux and
>> here are some links:
>> http://linux-sound.org/speech.html
>> http://linuxhelp.blogspot.com/2006/01/festival-text-to-speech-synthesis.html
>> http://larswiki.atrc.utoronto.ca/wiki/Software  - see the links under
>> Speech section
>> http://www.xenocafe.com/tutorials/php/festival_text_to_speech/index.php
>> http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-Text-to-Speech-on-Linux
>> http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/
>> http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/onlinedemo.html - listen to
>> some demo voices
>> http://sourceforge.net/projects/dhvani/ - this one not english
>> http://sourceforge.net/projects/tts-cubed/
>> http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/hephaestus.html - click the links in Speech
>> Synthesis section
>> http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/comp.speech/Section5/Synth/rsynth.html
>> http://www.linux.com/archive/feature/122197 - two readers - plug-ins for
>> firefox.
>> I can not test them because I'm not a linux user. Maybe you can modify
>> some of these software (probably Festival) for more user friendly
>> reading and maybe program a specific button on XO keyboard that will
>> automatically read the selected text no matter what program is used for
>> opening the text.
>> Judging from google search result for DTBooks, this technology is not
>> spread at all. The other problem is that it uses somtimes recorded audio
>> and the size of that is too large for XO... I think the most important
>> is that TTS works with reader that will open 1.6M e-books from internet
>> archive
>> <http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/10/24/internet-archive-opens-1-6-million-e-books-to-olpc-laptops/>(are
>> you in this team?).
>> Also one important thing is to add cheap headphones with laptop so
>> children could listen to reading without desturbing others and in the
>> noisy environments ... another advantage of audio reading is much longer
>> battery life because you can turn off LCD monitor and audio alone does
>> not consume much energy.
>> Let me know what you think.
>> All the best,
>> Gregor
>> On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 4:08 PM, Sayamindu Dasgupta<sayamindu at gmail.com
>> <mailto:sayamindu at gmail.com>>  wrote:
>>      Hi Gregor,
>>      Thanks a lot for jumping in :-)
>>      On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 2:38 AM, Gregor Kervina
>>      <gregor.kervina at gmail.com<mailto:gregor.kervina at gmail.com>>  wrote:
>>       >  Dear Sayamindu Dasgupta, SJ Klein and other members of this list,
>>       >
>>       >  I'm a student of electrical engineering from Europe and would
>>      like to share
>>       >  with you my very positive experience with text to speech
>>      technology that can
>>       >  in my opinion significantly increase the educational potential of
>>      XO if used
>>       >  in the right way.
>>       >
>>       >  For the past 12 years (since I was 15 years old) I'm daily
>>      learning from
>>       >  e-books and internet using text to speech software. I know this
>>      software is
>>       >  unpopular in developed world, many people don't even know that it
>>      exists. On
>>       >  the other hand many people (including me) don't like reading long
>>      texts on
>>       >  the LCD screens - that's why e-books are also not very popular.
>>       >
>>       >  But unlike my friends I read 50+ e-books every ear and also daily
>>      news on
>>       >  the internet - I just select the text, copy it, and CoolSpeech
>>      software
>>       >  (using Mary voice) reads me all the text with speeds 300 to 500
>>      words per
>>       >  minute. In this way I can browse other sites or look at photos or
>>      just lay
>>       >  down and listen while my laptop is reading to me.
>>       >  Other people don't understand what I'm reading because it is too
>>      fast for
>>       >  them but it can be learned quickly with slower speeds at beginning.
>>       >
>>       >  I think XO laptops should definitely have such software
>>      pre-installed and a
>>       >  video introduction how to use it and what reading speeds can they
>>      expect
>>       >  after some time of practicing.
>>       >  It is also ideal for children with poor eye sight.
>>       >
>>      This sounds awesome. Could you let us know if the text to speech
>>      software you have in mind is free/opensource and if it works on Linux
>>      ?
>>      I am also looking at DTBooks specifications for digital talking books
>>      - do you know how useful/widespread this technology is ?
>>      Thanks,
>>      Sayamindu
>>      --
>>      Sayamindu Dasgupta
>>      [http://sayamindu.randomink.org/ramblings]
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Dr. Andreas Gros
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80336 München

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