or Connect
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Improved speech dictionary to ship with Mac OS X 10.5.7
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Improved speech dictionary to ship with Mac OS X 10.5.7

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Among the changes due in the next update to Apple's Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system is an updated speech dictionary, recent beta distributions of the software reveal.

Developers on Saturday were provided with Mac OS X 10.5.7 build 9J34, which represents the foruth widely distributed pre-release of the upcoming maintance and security update since the company began testing the software externally late last month.

In addition to speech dictionary improvements that will better Leopard's text-to-speech capabilities, the latest build included eight additional bug fixes over the previously seeded build 9J30, bringing the total number of code corrections expected as part of Mac OS X 10.5.7 to over 90.

Among those tweaks were fixes to color corruption issues, sleep-related anomalies, and a problem with syncing Mail signatures. Again, Apple asked developers to test the software broadly, listing 22 core components that were in need of specific attention.

Mac OS X 10.5.7, which is code-named "Juno," is believed to be on schedule for a release sometime next month. In barebones Delta form, the update currently weighs in just shy of 440MB. A combo update capable of updating versions of Leopard prior to 10.5.6 weighs about 730MB.
post #2 of 18
I hope some day, Apple combines its Text-To-Speech and VoiceOver technology. Right now, pronunciation corrections made in the Preferences Pane, do not get pronounced properly when you have VoiceOver read selected text out loud.
post #3 of 18
This absolutely makes sense, given that Apple now ships a product -- the iPod shuffle -- that directly benefits from better accuracy from the text-to-speech functionality.
post #4 of 18
I'm glad to see Apple doing this. I use text-to-speech extensively to proof new books and I've been getting irritated by some of Alex's little verbal quirks. MacFixIt recently had a discussion of them, including the mangling of singulars and plurals.

I'm not sure if it is just the dictionary though. I've seen errors that pop up when reading a paragraph that disappear when reading a phrase. It's like Alan, who's programmed to pause for a breath like real people, is also inadvertently also programmed for slips of the tongue. Maybe from time to time that 'breathing' is cutting out part of a word.

OS X's more basic problem is that VoiceOver is far too complex for most users and the basic text-to-speech is too primitive to be of much use.

Basic text-to-speech borders on the useless. It's hideously clumsy to use. Most applications don't support it, requiring a trip to the very long Services menu to start reading and another to stop it. And the only two choices it offers: reading from the beginning if no text is marked or reading a marked text, aren't what we need most of the time. We need a text-to-speech that begins at the cursor, that goes until we stop it, and that lets us stop easily for correcting (when proofing) or when something interrupts us (when just reading).

I recently helped a woman at a local public library who'd just bought a new MacBook and was having trouble finding out how it could work around her vision problems. I showed her VoiceOver and a webpage at Apple to get her started. About a week ago, I checked out VoiceOver for myself. What I found, I told a helpful representative for the disabilities group at Apple, was an application designed for disability "whiz kids"--that slice of those with disabilities who are so talented and so driven, that they love a complex interface that lets them do almost anything.

I pointed out to Apple that quite a few people with vision problems can still use the screen to locate, they simply find it tiring to read on screen. They need something that makes reading anything longer than a few paragraphs easy. Text-to-speech is too primitive and clumsy to do that, while VocieOver is too complex and irritating.

Last week, I played with VoiceOver for hours, reading its manual and searching online. I couldn't find anyway to get it to behave consistently or stop its irritating practice of reading every menu and window title in sight. And I could never figure out what the distinction between a "mouse cursor" and a "VoiceOver cursor" was, even though it seems to matter a lot. In the end, I concluded that VoiceOver was designed by and for people who'd spent their entire lives working with complex programs doing much the same thing. They had no problem figuring out how to use it, but for a neophyte, much less one wrestling with multiple issues that make reading a manual hard, it was worthless. It was, I told them, like using InDesign or Quark to write a letter to a granddaughter. Yes, you can do it, but do you really want the bother and hassle?

I'm not sure VoiceOver can be simplified, but basic text-to-speech could be much improved. It needs to be better integrated with OS X and something done to encourage developers to build it into applications. It should be easy to start and stop (perhaps even using the new headphone controls on newer Macs). It should be easier to speed up or slow down of the fly. Nothing that useful should required a trip to a Preferences pane. It should also have (like VoiceOver) a mode where it reads punctuation. That's not just the book editor in me talking. Grandmothers writing an email to a granddaughter, don't want to look like a ninny either.

Text-to-speech would also be vastly better, and a step beyond Windows 7, if it would allow users to display a scrolling (perhaps dark and high-contrast) window with the text as it is being read. No amount of text-to-speech can distinguish words that sound alike such as "there" and "their." It'd let all of us proof better, and those much-larger letters would be marvelous for those with vision problems. And make sure it scrolls. As best I can tell, that feature in VoiceOver displays only the first few words of a passage on screen and then stops. That's not much help. And eventually, it'd be nice for everyone if it'd let users fix typos on the reading screen, rather than forcing us to stop text-to-speech, fix a minor typo, and return to text-to-speech.

The first 1984 Mac featured text-to-speech to wow audiences, but in the quarter of a century since then Apple have never transformed it into anything more than a bit of glitz. It needs to improve text-to-speech and make it actually useful. A good illustration of a feature done-right is the Zoom feature, which uses Control-scroll or (on more recent trackpads) Control-two-finger-drag to zoom a screen at the cursor. Text-to-speech should be that easy to use. And it shouldn't require developers to take all the steps VoiceOver apparently requires for it to work properly with an application.

In short, Apple needs to create a text-to-speech that "just works."

--Mike Perry, Inkling Books, Seattle
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

I'm glad to see Apple doing this. I use text-to-speech extensively to proof new books and I've been getting irritated by some of Alex's little verbal quirks. MacFixIt recently had a discussion of them, including the mangling of singulars and plurals.

I would wager a bet that VoiceOver eventually comes to other iPods and that under the Sorting tab in iTunes there will be an option to spell the track and artist name the way you want it pronounced as some names will never correct regardless of the improvements to the dictionary.
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
Dick Applebaum on whether the iPad is a personal computer: "BTW, I am posting this from my iPad pc while sitting on the throne... personal enough for you?"
Reply
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I would wager a bet that VoiceOver eventually comes to other iPods and that under the Sorting tab in iTunes there will be an option to spell the track and artist name the way you want it pronounced as some names will never correct regardless of the improvements to the dictionary.

I would wager one of the uses for this will be mapping. Tom Tom stylee.
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post

I would wager one of the uses for this will be mapping. Tom Tom stylee.

That's your money maker.
post #8 of 18
It should also be noted that there is only one known issue from this build. This is usually an implication of the software being ready for public within weeks.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by kgbwnet View Post

It should also be noted that there is only one known issue from this build. This is usually an implication of the software being ready for public within weeks.

Great to read.
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

...

I've had good results with IBM's voice William.
wildeval
post #11 of 18
Wildeval: Did you have to quote Inkling's entire, lengthy post, just to contribute one sentence?

Inkling: I use text-to-speech to have "Alex" read articles for me dozens of times on a per day basis as I "follow" along. I too wish there was a way to pause and continue, auto-scroll the text as it reads along, and change the speed on the fly, as well as allow me to correct pronunciation for commonly misspoken words (including my name). I did program my Cmd-F12 key to be the Start/Stop Speaking Text function though, which keeps me from having to pull down the Services menu. I select my text, and press Cmd-F12 to have Alex start reading to me.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by aduzik View Post

This absolutely makes sense, given that Apple now ships a product -- the iPod shuffle -- that directly benefits from better accuracy from the text-to-speech functionality.

Yes but what PC users gonna do? The voice already sounds different from a PC-Shuffle now its gonna sound even worse when it's improved in Leopardo.
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
Apple had me at scrolling
Reply
post #13 of 18
Isle bee leave it when eye sea it. Royce wreck cognition is vary week. Aye wish eye could c***-troll my Mack with mai voice, butt it never seams two work.
post #14 of 18
VoiceOver, to the best of my knowledge, was created to be a screen reader. Sure, Apple has had voices for years. My old iMac G3 350 was equipped with Victoria. I have visual processing issues and VoiceOver (Alex) is my best friend. I have used all kinds of screen readers with Windows along with magnification combined with speech. Comparing apples to apples (pun intended) VoiceOver is infinitely better than Narrator in Windows. That meaning they are both free and included in the OS. Nothing I have ever used is without imperfections. Even the $1,000+ programs make mistakes. Most blind people I have talked with are use to it. Some blind people would get after Mr. Perry, saying he has no clue just how valuable VoiceOver is and how hard Apple is working to make everything (like the iTunes Store) accessible with VoiceOver. If you want text to speech for the Mac, just Google or Yahoo it. There are options over and above VoiceOver. Here is one: http://www.convenienceware.com/ghostreader/videos.php
post #15 of 18
Every Mac site said the release was very near... Mid March to end of March. Now its April. Make up your minds. If you are not sure... DON'T Guess it.

These rumors kill Apple. From iMac to Mac Mini to iPhone to everything... Everything is a rumor. LOL
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
Reply
iMac 20" 2.66 2008/9 model
Nano 3rd/4th gen
iPhone 2G/3G
Reply
post #16 of 18
I just want to know when OS 9.5 is coming out.

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

 

Get the lowdown on the coming collapse:  http://www.cbo.gov/publication/45010

Reply
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inkling View Post

I'm glad to see Apple doing this. I use text-to-speech extensively to proof new books and I've been getting irritated by some of Alex's little verbal quirks. MacFixIt recently had a discussion of them, including the mangling of singulars and plurals.

Alex is a lot better than previous voices. My favorite voice so far is Cepstrel Lawrence. It's astonishing the words it gets right. "Quetzalcoatl," for instance. Impressive. But then it turns around and bungles "archeology" and--even stranger--"disarray", which it pronounces by dropping the last syllable. Every single time. Oh well. But every now and then I find words or parts of sentences go missing with Lawrence, It's quite uncommon, but I'm interested to see it's a problem with Alex.
post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I just want to know when OS 9.5 is coming out.

After this ceremony, I can see it out only as a revenant.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Mac OS X
AppleInsider › Forums › Software › Mac OS X › Improved speech dictionary to ship with Mac OS X 10.5.7