Is Speech Useful For Most Users?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by SlaveToTheIMAC, Oct 18, 2008.

  1. SlaveToTheIMAC macrumors member

    Oct 18, 2008
    Or is it simply for an impaired user? I tried to get my IMAC to talk when starting up but all I could do was set up the system where everything you hit was spoken, causing a mess of words. Is this a great usable feature that I simply don't understand?
  2. JG271 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 17, 2007
    Macs have long been good computers for people with bad eyesight. The feature that you mentioned is for those who can't see very well, so that that the computer describes what they have just clicked on etc.

    If you go into the terminal and type say (followed by what you want it to "speak") , then it'll speak what you write.
    I think the only feature useful to the ordinary user is the speaking clock, i used to have mine tell me the time every 30mins.
  3. Cabbit macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2006
    The speaking options are great for people with dyslexia like me, i can high light any text and have it read the words out to me, ether individual words i am having problems with or entire paragraphs that look like a sea to me.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    I did not think it had any real use but I have been proven wrong by the above posts. Personally I always just played with it for a while then turned it off.

    When it gets to the point of the Enterprises speech recognition and pronunciation in ST: TNG or the HAL 9000 is 2001 A Space Odyssey I will use it.

    I am not sure how much it has improved but too me current integrated speech recognition does not seem much better than on AV Macs using Plaintalk in System 7. It does not seem like a huge priority to Apple.
  5. thegilly macrumors member

    Mar 4, 2008
    Auckland, New Zealand
    I convert text to speech all the time, turning long documents I don't really want to wade through, essays I've written that need proof-reading, badly-formatted fanfiction, and so on, into audiobooks I can listen to on my iPod while doing other things. It's surprisingly useful as a proof-reading tool because the computer-voice will pronounce misspelled words as you've written them, pause for commas that shouldn't be there, and so on. I paste what I want into TextEdit, then use a simple Automator action to convert the contents of TextEdit to speech and import that file into iTunes. iTunes automatically sorts these files into my 'Run Bookmarking Script' smart playlist, so that I can find them to run the 'Make Bookmarkable' script from Doug's Scripts to make them into proper iTunes-recognised audiobooks. The voice takes some getting used to, but on the whole it's great to be able to have your computer read you a story when you're too tired to read (or have a migraine), or to get through some boring article you're supposed to read by listening to it while you do something you like (me: needlework, or sudoku, or just hanging about in the fresh air). The only thing that irritates me is not being able to teach the system anything. There are words it invariably mispronounces ("drat", for instance, comes out as "doctor-at", at least in Tiger, and anything it doesn't recognise with "ver" in it comes out as "version"--try "in vino veritas" and you'll get "in vino version-it-as"), and it seems to me that it ought to be fairly simple for me to prescribe a correct pronunciation for those words.

    I don't have reason to have the system read things to me automatically, though I have used that with some apps that can alert you with speech. For instance, I tried an application called Subscriber for a while, and its alert for a website having changed was a voice saying "A website has changed!" Kinda cool.

    I've never been able to get either of my machines to understand my speech. With the iBook, it's because the microphone's broken. With the iMac, I suspect it has problems with anything besides a fairly standard TV-style American accent. I can sometimes get it to tell me the time, log out, or tell a joke, but not reliably. No amount of reading the training phrases seemed to improve the machine's recognition of my voice. I find this too irritating to bother with, especially since simple idiot cellphones seem to be able to handle voice dialing.
  6. i.shaun macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2008
    I use it for two reasons.

    1. Check new or unknown word pronunciation. I type a word somewhere, highlight it, and select Command+S - the iMac will usually pronounce it right.

    2. Comical purposes. I'll type stuff and get the mac to say it. Great for entertaining friends who are not used to such things.

    I actually used it for my cell phone voice mail. It seemed only right. An automated voice tells you that you have reached my message service, so another automated voice tells you my name -- then you leave a message.
  7. jodelli macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2008
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    Haven't used it for a while, but as others have also mentioned I utilized the text to speech option to listen to .txts instead of reading them. Left me free to do the dishes or such while listening.

    Just read again i.shaun's #2. comical purposes. I programmed speech into old TI 99 basic programs using a thing called terminal emulator and the TI speech synthesizer. You could make it speak in different languages or even swear because it would do phonemes instead of just words.
    Nothing remarkable about that now but this was the early 80s.
    I don't think anyone playing a game I'd programmed was used to hearing a computer swear.

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