Monday, September 21, 2015

Announcing Emacspeak-Muggles: Keyboard Conveniences For Emacspeak

Announcing Emacspeak-Muggles: Keyboard Conveniences For Emacspeak

1 Announcing Emacspeak-Muggles: Keyboard Conveniences For Emacspeak

1.1 Executive Summary:

new module emacspeak-muggles uses package hydra to provide keyboard conveniences.

1.2 Overview:

Package hydra allows convenient grouping of keyboard commands, see that package's description for details. It can be installed by executing

M-x package-install hydra

Module emacspeak-muggles implements a set of convenience hydras that make invoking groups of related commands easy. Here are the Muggles currently implemented:

Control laptop display brightness using xbacklight.
Access view-mode functionality without invoking view-mode explicitly.
Access Emacspeak Table UI functionality for org-mode tables.
And a lot more to come.

1.3 Blogger Note:

Going forward, these articles will be published via GitHub – rather than Blogspot — the new Blogspot API requires browser-based authentication that is beyond Emacs.

Date: <2015-07-13 Mon>

Author: raman

Created: 2015-07-13 Mon 09:17

Emacs (Org mode 8.2.10)


Emacspeak: An Overview Of Voice-Lock Over The Years

Emacspeak: An Overview Of Voice-Lock Over The Years

1 Executive Summary

Audio formatted output is provided via voice-lock in Emacspeak.
The feature was originally implemented in 1994 and significantly
overhauled in 2002 (with no change in functionality). Now, in 2015,
the implementation has been reworked to be once again simpler — but
with the same functionality.

2 1994: Original Implementation

Font-lock was a new feature in Emacs 19 — it was introduced right
around the time the Emacspeak project was started.
At the time, there were multiple font-lock packages in
Emacs. Emacspeak implemented voice-lock via a stand-alone module
that attached property personality to buffer contents. The
dtk-speak Text-To-Speech module treated strings annotated with
property personality as an aural display list when producing
spoken output.

In the winter of 1995, I implemented Aural CSS in emacspeak, and
this resulted in module acss.el — that module provides a clean
abstraction for defining values that can be assigned to property
personality. Next, the rest of emacspeak was overhauled to
express all voice-lock features via the ACSS abstraction.

3 2002 Overhaul

With feature font-lock now mature, Emacs itself converged on a
single font-lock module with jit-lock.el providing just-in-time font
locking. This meant that Emacspeak's voice-lock feature could now be
more easily implemented by attaching appropriate advice to lisp
functions put-text-property and friends — this led to the deletion
of module voice-lock.el and the creation of module

That module provided multiple options for how faces were mapped to

  • Cumulative where property personality was either appended or
    prepended to the list of personalities at any given position.
  • Simple: where the new personality directly replaced any previously
    applied personality property.
  • None: Where faces were not mapped to personalities.

4 2015 Overhaul

And now, in 2015, the code in module dtk-speak.el that implements
audio-formatting has been overhauled to directly map faces to
personalities. This implementation can be enabled by setting the
option emacspeak-personality-voiceify-faces provided in module
emacspeak-personality.el to All. This means that the new
implementation can co-exist (at least for a while) with the earlier
advice-based implementation from module emacspeak-personality.el.

once deemed to be stable, the new implementation will become the
default — by changing the default value of
emacspeak-personality-voiceify-faces to none.

5 Summary

From an end-user's perspective, nothing has changed in 21 years. From
the perspective of implementing voice-lock for Emacs modules, nothing
has changed — all that an Emacspeak extension for a specific package
needs to do to enable voice-lock is to set up a face->personality
mapping as before via function voice-setup-add-map. Note that
property personality will continue to have higher precedence than
property face with respect to the audio formatting that gets applied
i.e. Emacspeak first consults value of property personality, and if
that is not set, but there is a face property set, then that
face->personality mapping (if defined) is used as the aural style.

Date: <2015-08-18 Tue>

Author: T.V Raman

Created: 2015-08-21 Fri 10:18


Emacspeak:Setting up StumpWM as a speech-enabled Window Manager.

Emacspeak support for StumpWM

1 Summary:

Describes my Linux X-Windowing setup using lightdm to initialize the desktop and StumpWM configured as a talking Window Manager.
These files can be found under emacspeak/stumpwm in your Emacspeak installation, or in the source code cloned from

2 Overview

File stumpwmrc is my StumpWM init file that I use to set up
StumpWM as a talking window manager. With this setup, I run Emacs in
one window and Chrome+ChromeVox in another window.

File xsession is my .xsession file — it launches StumpWM once lightdm has finished authentication.
You can find my lightdm setup files in directory emacspeak/tvr/lightdm.

3 Contents

Interface to Emacspeak TTS servers.
Code to insert into personal =.stumpwmr
My= .xsession= file.
A light-weight screen-lock script.

4 Resulting Functionality

To set this up, You should only need to edit the value of
*emacspeak-dir* in the stumpwmrc file for setup.

  1. All Keybindings match my usual screen setup, including the window-manager prefix-key.
  2. C-\ is the window-manager key.
  3. Switching windows speaks the title of the new window.
  4. Stumpwm command for displaying window list C-\w also speaks the output.
  5. The init file provides a simple lock-screen command bound to C-\d.
  6. The above lock command invokes shell script xlock — that script takes care of playing an auditory icon when the desktop is locked or unlocked.
  7. Window manager messages speak automatically; this can be toggled with C-\t.
  8. If there is a lot of activity in a window that is not focused,
    you can turn off automatic speaking of messages using C-\t to
    avoid distraction.
  9. StumpWM is set up to deny raise-focus requests — this is so that activity in a window doesn't automatically grab focus.
    I typically run with only one window displayed at a time.

Date: <2015-09-07 Mon>

Author: raman

Created: 2015-09-07 Mon 14:44


Setting Up An X Environment For Using With Emacspeak, ChromeVox and StumpWM

Setting Up An X Environment For Using With Emacspeak, ChromeVox and StumpWM

1 Executive Summary

This is a follow-up to the article on my Window Manager set-up
and details the setup of my X environment. This setup is specifically geared around the following use-cases:

  1. Emacspeak running in a window to provide a local audio desktop.
  2. ChromeVox running in a second window to provide access to JS-powered WebApps. Note that for the content-oriented Web, I use Emacs' built-in EWW browser.
  3. SSH running in an XTerm to my remote Linux desktop in a third window. The remote desktop runs Emacspeak and produces auditory feedback through a local speech server.

The setup described below is implemented via my personal .XResources
file — that file along with my .xsession file that loads it are
both checked into the GitHub repo under emacspeak/stumpwm along with any needed helper files.

The remaining sections give a brief descriptive overview of the
.XResources and .xsession files as they exist at the time of

2 Resulting Functionality: What This Gives Us

  1. You can cut-and-paste between the local Chrome and local Emacspeak using standard clipboard copy/paste commands. Make sure Emacs is set up to use the clipboard, and not the primary X selection.
  2. Output displayed in the Xterm, e.g., by the remote Emacspeak session, can be brought into the local Emacspeak session by hitting PrintEverything bound to Ctrl-Return in the XTerm window.
  3. Contents of the local clipboard, i.e. Chrome, Emacspeak etc., can be pasted into the remote Emacspeak running in the XTerm using key Ctrl-Shift-Space.

3 Initializing X Session Via File .xsession

#Caps Lock is Control
setxkbmap -option ctrl:nocaps       
#load in XResources to customize X environment 
xrdb -merge $HOME/.Xresources &
#Display locks after  30 minutes of inactivity
xautolock -detectsleep -time 30  -locker  "$HOME/bin/xlock" & 
# Launch Emacs 
emacs  -title Emacs &
# XTerm for SSH to remote desktop
xterm  -title Retriever &
# StumpWM Setup: Use SBCL 
export LISP=sbcl
# Export our  X auth environment 
${HOME}/bin/export_x_info &
# Launch StumpWM
exec  /usr/local/bin/stumpwm

4 Customizing X Environment Via File .XResources

! Setup Emacs Visual Look And Feel
Emacs*font:     -adobe-Utopia-normal-normal-normal-*-*-*-*-*-*-0-iso10646-1
Emacs.FontBackend:      xft,x
Emacs.menuBar:  off
Emacs.toolBar:  off
Emacs.verticalScrollBars:       off

:! Setup XTerm Look And Feel:

XTerm*Background:       black
XTerm*Foreground:       white
! Setup XTerm key-bindings to match Emacspeak
XTerm*VT100.translations:       #override \n\
Ctrl <Key>semicolon: string(0x18) string("@h") \n\
Ctrl <Key>comma: string(0x18) string("@a") \n\
Ctrl <Key>period: string(0x18) string("@s") \n\
Ctrl <Key>apostrophe: string(0x18) string("@s") \n\
Shift <Key>Return: string(0x18) string("@s") string(0x0d)\n\
Ctrl <Key>Return: print-everything()\n\
Ctrl Shift <Key>space:    insert-selection(CLIPBOARD) 

:! Configure rest of XTerm

XTerm*eightBitInput:    false
XTerm*faceName: xft:Inconsolata:pixelsize=14
XTerm*metaSendsEscape:  true

! is under emacspeak/etc in the Emacspeak Git Repository
! This helps us view XTerm output in a buffer in the locally running Emacspeak

XTerm.*.printerCommand:     /usr/local/bin/
XTerm.*.printAttributes: 0

!X Font environment
Xft*antialias:  true
Xft*dpi:        96
Xft*hinting:    true
Xft*hintstyle:  hintfull
Xft*rgba:       rgb

Date: <2015-09-21 Mon>

Author: raman

Created: 2015-09-21 Mon 09:14


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Announcing Emacspeak 42.0 (AnswerDog)

Emacspeak 42.0—AnswerDog—Unleashed!

1 Emacspeak-42.0 (AnswerDog) Unleashed!

** For Immediate Release:

San Jose, Calif., (May 1, 2015) Emacspeak: Redefining Accessibility In The Era Of Internet Computing –Zero cost of upgrades/downgrades makes priceless software affordable!

Emacspeak Inc (NASDOG: ESPK) --– announces the immediate world-wide availability of Emacspeak 42.0 (AnswerDog) –a powerful audio desktop for leveraging today's evolving data, social and service-oriented Internet cloud.

1.1 Investors Note:

With several prominent tweeters expanding coverage of #emacspeak, NASDOG: ESPK has now been consistently trading over the social net at levels close to that once attained by DogCom high-fliers—and as of May 2015 is trading at levels close to that achieved by once better known stocks in the tech sector.

1.2 What Is It?

Emacspeak is a fully functional audio desktop that provides complete eyes-free access to all major 32 and 64 bit operating environments. By seamlessly blending live access to all aspects of the Internet such as Web-surfing, blogging, social computing and electronic messaging into the audio desktop, Emacspeak enables speech access to local and remote information with a consistent and well-integrated user interface. A rich suite of task-oriented tools provides efficient speech-enabled access to the evolving service-oriented social Internet cloud.

1.3 Major Enhancements:

  • Emacs EWW: Consume Web content efficiently. ��
  • Updated Info manual ��
  • SoX integration for generating auditory feedback ℗
  • Speech-enabled Elfeed, an Emacs Feed Reader ��
  • CSound generated 3d Auditory Icons ⟀
  • Audacious — An Audio Workbench using SoX ��
  • Audio presets for MPlayer using Ladspa filters ♮
  • emacspeak-url-templates: Smart Web access. ♅
  • Integrated TuneIn Radio search, browse and play ��
  • emacspeak-websearch.el Find things fast. ♁
  • Calibre integration for searching and viewing epub �� ��
  • Complete anything via company integration ∁
  • Emacs 24.4: Supports all new features in Emacs 24.4. ��
  • And a lot more than wil fit this margin. …

1.4 Establishing Liberty, Equality And Freedom:

Never a toy system, Emacspeak is voluntarily bundled with all major Linux distributions. Though designed to be modular, distributors have freely chosen to bundle the fully integrated system without any undue pressure—a documented success for the integrated innovation embodied by Emacspeak. As the system evolves, both upgrades and downgrades continue to be available at the same zero-cost to all users. The integrity of the Emacspeak codebase is ensured by the reliable and secure Linux platform used to develop and distribute the software.

Extensive studies have shown that thanks to these features, users consider Emacspeak to be absolutely priceless. Thanks to this wide-spread user demand, the present version remains priceless as ever—it is being made available at the same zero-cost as previous releases.

At the same time, Emacspeak continues to innovate in the area of eyes-free social interaction and carries forward the well-established Open Source tradition of introducing user interface features that eventually show up in luser environments.

On this theme, when once challenged by a proponent of a crash-prone but well-marketed mousetrap with the assertion "Emacs is a system from the 70's", the creator of Emacspeak evinced surprise at the unusual candor manifest in the assertion that it would take popular idiot-proven interfaces until the year 2070 to catch up to where the Emacspeak audio desktop is today. Industry experts welcomed this refreshing breath of Courage Certainty and Clarity (CCC) at a time when users are reeling from the Fear Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) unleashed by complex software systems backed by even more convoluted press releases.

1.5 Independent Test Results:

Independent test results have proven that unlike some modern (and not so modern) software, Emacspeak can be safely uninstalled without adversely affecting the continued performance of the computer. These same tests also revealed that once uninstalled, the user stopped functioning altogether. Speaking with Aster Labrador, the creator of Emacspeak once pointed out that these results re-emphasize the user-centric design of Emacspeak; "It is the user –and not the computer– that stops functioning when Emacspeak is uninstalled!".

1.5.1 Note from Aster,Bubbles and Tilden:

UnDoctored Videos Inc. is looking for volunteers to star in a video demonstrating such complete user failure.

1.6 Obtaining Emacspeak:

Emacspeak can be downloaded from GitHub –see you can visit Emacspeak on the WWW at You can subscribe to the emacspeak mailing list by sending mail to the list request address The Emacspeak Blog is a good source for news about recent enhancements and how to use them.

The latest development snapshot of Emacspeak is always available via Git from GitHub at Emacspeak GitHub .

1.7 History:

Emacspeak 42.0 while moving to GitHub from Google Code continues to innovate in the areas of auditory user interfaces and efficient, light-weight Internet access. Emacspeak 41.0 continues to improve upon the desire to provide not just equal, but superior access — technology when correctly implemented can significantly enhance the human ability. Emacspeak 40.0 goes back to Web basics by enabling efficient access to large amounts of readable Web content. Emacspeak 39.0 continues the Emacspeak tradition of increasing the breadth of user tasks that are covered without introducing unnecessary bloatware. Emacspeak 38.0 is the latest in a series of award-winning releases from Emacspeak Inc. Emacspeak 37.0 continues the tradition of delivering robust software as reflected by its code-name. Emacspeak 36.0 enhances the audio desktop with many new tools including full EPub support — hence the name EPubDog. Emacspeak 35.0 is all about teaching a new dog old tricks — and is aptly code-named HeadDog in honor of our new Press/Analyst contact. emacspeak-34.0 (AKA Bubbles) established a new beach-head with respect to rapid task completion in an eyes-free environment. Emacspeak-33.0 AKA StarDog brings unparalleled cloud access to the audio desktop. Emacspeak 32.0 AKA LuckyDog continues to innovate via open technologies for better access. Emacspeak 31.0 AKA TweetDog — adds tweeting to the Emacspeak desktop. Emacspeak 30.0 AKA SocialDog brings the Social Web to the audio desktop—you cant but be social if you speak! Emacspeak 29.0—AKAAbleDog—is a testament to the resilliance and innovation embodied by Open Source software—it would not exist without the thriving Emacs community that continues to ensure that Emacs remains one of the premier user environments despite perhaps also being one of the oldest. Emacspeak 28.0—AKA PuppyDog—exemplifies the rapid pace of development evinced by Open Source software. Emacspeak 27.0—AKA FastDog—is the latest in a sequence of upgrades that make previous releases obsolete and downgrades unnecessary. Emacspeak 26—AKA LeadDog—continues the tradition of introducing innovative access solutions that are unfettered by the constraints inherent in traditional adaptive technologies. Emacspeak 25 —AKA ActiveDog —re-activates open, unfettered access to online information. Emacspeak-Alive —AKA LiveDog —enlivens open, unfettered information access with a series of live updates that once again demonstrate the power and agility of open source software development. Emacspeak 23.0 – AKA Retriever—went the extra mile in fetching full access. Emacspeak 22.0 —AKA GuideDog —helps users navigate the Web more effectively than ever before. Emacspeak 21.0 —AKA PlayDog —continued the Emacspeak tradition of relying on enhanced productivity to liberate users. Emacspeak-20.0 —AKA LeapDog —continues the long established GNU/Emacs tradition of integrated innovation to create a pleasurable computing environment for eyes-free interaction. emacspeak-19.0 –AKA WorkDog– is designed to enhance user productivity at work and leisure. Emacspeak-18.0 –code named GoodDog– continued the Emacspeak tradition of enhancing user productivity and thereby reducing total cost of ownership. Emacspeak-17.0 –code named HappyDog– enhances user productivity by exploiting today's evolving WWW standards. Emacspeak-16.0 –code named CleverDog– the follow-up to SmartDog– continued the tradition of working better, faster, smarter. Emacspeak-15.0 –code named SmartDog–followed up on TopDog as the next in a continuing a series of award-winning audio desktop releases from Emacspeak Inc. Emacspeak-14.0 –code named TopDog–was the first release of this millennium. Emacspeak-13.0 –codenamed YellowLab– was the closing release of the 20th. century. Emacspeak-12.0 –code named GoldenDog– began leveraging the evolving semantic WWW to provide task-oriented speech access to Webformation. Emacspeak-11.0 –code named Aster– went the final step in making Linux a zero-cost Internet access solution for blind and visually impaired users. Emacspeak-10.0 –(AKA Emacspeak-2000) code named WonderDog– continued the tradition of award-winning software releases designed to make eyes-free computing a productive and pleasurable experience. Emacspeak-9.0 –(AKA Emacspeak 99) code named BlackLab– continued to innovate in the areas of speech interaction and interactive accessibility. Emacspeak-8.0 –(AKA Emacspeak-98++) code named BlackDog– was a major upgrade to the speech output extension to Emacs.

Emacspeak-95 (code named Illinois) was released as OpenSource on the Internet in May 1995 as the first complete speech interface to UNIX workstations. The subsequent release, Emacspeak-96 (code named Egypt) made available in May 1996 provided significant enhancements to the interface. Emacspeak-97 (Tennessee) went further in providing a true audio desktop. Emacspeak-98 integrated Internetworking into all aspects of the audio desktop to provide the first fully interactive speech-enabled WebTop.

1.8 About Emacspeak:

Originally based at Cornell (NY) –home to Auditory User Interfaces (AUI) on the WWW– Emacspeak is now maintained on GitHub -- —and Sourceforge — The system is mirrored world-wide by an international network of software archives and bundled voluntarily with all major Linux distributions. On Monday, April 12, 1999, Emacspeak became part of the Smithsonian's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

The Emacspeak mailing list is archived at Vassar –the home of the Emacspeak mailing list– thanks to Greg Priest-Dorman, and provides a valuable knowledge base for new users.

1.9 Press/Analyst Contact: Tilden Labrador

Going forward, Tilden acknowledges his exclusive monopoly on setting the direction of the Emacspeak Audio Desktop, and promises to exercise this freedom to innovate and her resulting power responsibly (as before) in the interest of all dogs.

**About This Release:

Windows-Free (WF) is a favorite battle-cry of The League Against Forced Fenestration (LAFF). –see for details on the ill-effects of Forced Fenestration.

CopyWrite )C( Aster and Hubbell Labrador. All Writes Reserved. HeadDog (DM), LiveDog (DM), GoldenDog (DM), BlackDog (DM) etc., are Registered Dogmarks of Aster, Hubbell and Tilden Labrador. All other dogs belong to their respective owners.

Author: T.V Raman

Created: 2015-04-30 Thu 15:35

Emacs (Org mode 8.2.10)


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Emacspeak 3.0: Released 20 Years Ago Today!


1 Emacspeak Was Released Twenty Years Ago Today

The more things change, the more they remain the same.

Emacspeak was released 20 years ago on April 25, 1995 with this announcement. The Emacspeak mailing list itself did not exist in its present form — note that the original announcement talks about a mailing list at DEC CRL. When Greg started the mailing list at Vassar, we seeded the list from some/all of the messages from the archive for the mailing list at DEC.e

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

HowTo: Log Speech Server Output To Aid In Developing TTS Servers

HowTo: Log TTS Server Output To Aid In TTS Server Development

1 HowTo: Log TTS Server Output To Aid In TTS Server Development

This is mostly of interest to developers of Emacspeak speech servers. This article outlines how one can log TTS server output to a file. The loggeds record all commands send by Emacspeak to the TTS server. It is best to generate the logs in an Emacs session that is separate from the Emacs session where you are developping your code. This keeps the logs short, and makes isolating problems much easier.

1.1 How It Works

The emacspeak/servers directory now contains log_<tts-name> servers for the various supported speech servers. When selected, these log-speech servers produce no speech output; instead, they output the speech server commands received from Emacspeak to a file in /tmp named tts-log-$$. Once you're done logging, you can examine this file from the primary Emacs session.

1.2 Typical Workflow

Assume you want to see the speech-server commands sent by Emacs when you perform a specific action, in this instance, pressing C-e m to execute command emacspeak-speak-mode-line.

  1. In a separate Linux console or X-Window, launch Emacs with Emacspeak loaded — this is separate from your primary Emacs session.
  2. In this Emacs session, use C-e d d (command dtk-select-server) and select log-<tts-name> as the speech server, where tts-name corresponds to the speech engine you're testing.
  3. Emacspeak will now start the logging server, and fall silent; all commands sent by Emacspeak to the speech-server will be logged to a file in /tmp.
  4. Press C-e m – to produce the log output you want to see.
  5. Use command _emacspeak-emergency-tts-restart to get speech back.
  6. Open a dired buffer on /tmp, press s to sort files by date, and find your generated log output at the top of the list.
  7. Note: It is useful to configure your default speech engine via Custom – see user option emacspeak-emergency-tts-server. It provides a quick-fire means to get speech back if you ever switch to a speech-server that fails for some reason.

Share And Enjoy

Date: <2015-04-15 Wed>

Author: raman

Created: 2015-04-15 Wed 17:33

Emacs (Org mode 8.2.10)


Monday, March 09, 2015

Emacspeak Development Is Moving To GitHub

Emacspeak Development Is Moving To GitHub

1 Summary:

Emacspeak development is moving from Google Code Hosting to GitHub. If you have been running from the SVN repository, I recommend you switch to the GitHub version by executing:

git clone 
make config 
make -j 
  • If using Outloud TTS:
cd servers/linux-outloud  &&  make 
  • If using Espeak TTS:
cd servers/linux-espeak && make 
  • After this, all you should need to stay up to date is a periodic
git pull; make config; make  

2 A Brief History

  • The first five years of Emacspeak development used a local RCS repository on my home machine (1994 –1999).
  • The first few releases of Emacspeak were distributed through the Web site and FTP server at Digital Research; they were also mirrored at Cornell.
  • After moving to Adobe Systems in the fall of 1995, Emacspeak was distributed exclusively through my Web page on the Cornell CS Department Web server, which also hosted my personal Web site.
  • In 2000, I created Emacspeak On SourceForge

and used that site for both hosting the Emacspeak source code as well as the Web site — coincidentally, I lost the ability to update my Web site at Cornell CS around the same time.

  • Over time it became harder and harder to publish new Emacspeak releases through the SourceForge interface. Luckily, Google Code Hosting came along a few months after I joined Google, and moving the source code repository to Google Code SVN was a no-brainer.
  • My friend and colleague Fitz helped me migrate the 5+ years of CVS history to SVN; this meant that the source code repository on Google Code also recorded all of the development history that had been built up on Sourceforge.
  • Now, it's time to move to GitHub. I've been using Git for most of my work the last few years, but was simply too lazy to move Emacspeak development from SVN to Git on GoogleCode.
  • But over time, the advantages present in Git as a source control system and GitHub as a hosting service have increased — primary among these — a rich set of Emacs tools that have been written to leverage the GitHub API.
  • For Git integration in Emacs, my personal preference is package Magit available through Elpa —
M-x package-install magit in Emacs. 
  • The GitHub Web site itself is fairly heavy-weight in terms of its use of scripting, i.e. performing all operations through the Web site from within Emacs is fairly unpleasant. But the afore-mentioned GitHub API makes this a non-issue at this point with respect to the type of workflow I prefer.
  • So this week, I did the work to migrate Emacspeak development to Emacspeak On GitHub.

3 Status Of Migration

  • With help from some of the kind folk at Google Code Hosting, I've successfully migrated the source code repository including all release tags to GitHub.
  • I am now checking in changes into GitHub; the SVN repository on Google Code Hosting is now frozen, and I do not plan to make any commits there.
  • I presently have no immediate plans to start using features of GitHub like the Issue Tracker; for now we will continue to use the Emacspeak mailing list which has served us well for 20 years.
  • I have also taken this opportunity to prune out legacy portions of the Emacspeak codebase by moving modules to obsolete at each level of the directory tree.
  • Since starting the Emacspeak Blog in late 2005, I have published a sequence of articles describing Emacspeak features and usage patterns; I felt that having these articles for local reference made a useful supplement to the emacspeak online documentation. Toward this end, I have downloaded all articles published so far and checked in both XML and HTML versions into sub-directory blogs.
  • Note that newer articles are also available as .org files under sub-directory announcements.

4 Next Steps

  • I still need to learn how to do software releases on GitHub.

Share And Enjoy!

Date: <2015-03-06 Fri>

Author: raman

Created: 2015-03-07 Sat 08:12

Emacs (Org mode 8.2.10)


Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Enhanced Audio On The Emacspeak Desktop

Enhanced Audio On The Emacspeak Desktop

1 Enhanced Audio On The Emacspeak Desktop

I recently added a set of modules to Emacspeak to leverage some of the high-end audio functionality available on Linux machines on modern hardware. As an example, applying effects such as 3D spatialization, high-end reverb effects etc. once consumed CPU cycles to the extent where it was not possible to play with these in realtime. All these now take less than 1–5% of the CPU, and that when my laptop is running in power-save mode!

1.1 An Audio Workbench Using SoX

Sound Exchange (SoX), described as the Swiss army knife of sound processing, has been around since the time I was a graduate student. Today it provides a versatile set of tools for editing and manipulating both wave and mp3 files. Module sox.el implements a simple Audio Workbench for the Emacspeak desktop.

1.1.1 Pre-Requisites

SoX with all available auxillary packages for adding support for various filetypes such as mp3. The various Ladspa related packages for installing additional audio effect filters.

1.1.2 Usage Instructions For SoX.el

  • Launch the Audio Workbench via by executing M-x sox.
  • Use f to open a wave or mp3 file you wish to manipulate.
  • Add any of the supported effects using e.
  • Use upper-case E to add more than one effect.
  • Hit p to play the result, s to save the result to a new file.

At present sox.el supports a few effects such as trim for clipping files, reverb for adding a reverb etc., with more to come as I use it.

1.2 Adding High-End Reverb When Playing Media Streams

I use mplayer to play both local and network media streams. MPlayer can apply a wide range of filters to the audio stream; more interestingly it can also apply effects implemented as Ladspa plugins. Package tap-plugins implements a large number of high-quality Ladspa filters, including a versatile Reverb filter.

Once you have package tap-plugins and its dependencies installed, and a relatively new version of MPlayer (with support for Ladspa plugins), you can now apply various Reverb Presets to your media streams via Emacspeak MPlayer command emacspeak-m-player-apply-reverb-preset bound to P in Emacspeak MPlayer. Package tap-plugins defines a total of 42 Reverb Presets, experiment with these when wearing headsets. Once you have applied a Reverb Preset, you can edit its current settings via command emacspeak-m-player-edit-reverb bound to R in Emacspeak MPlayer. Alternatively, you can pick a default effect to use via Emacs' custom interface; see option emacspeak-m-player-reverb-filter.

1.3 Defining Convenient MPLayer Shortcuts

Finally, You can now bind shortcut keys for launching Emacspeak MPlayer from specific locations where you store media, e.g., you can have separate shortcuts for Music vs Audio Books – see command emacspeak-m-player-accelerator. This is best used by customizing Emacspeak option emacspeak-media-location-bindings — just use the Customize interface to specify pairs of shortcut keys and media locations.

Date: <2015-02-17 Tue>

Author: raman

Created: 2015-02-17 Tue 17:37

Emacs (Org mode 8.2.10)


Internet Radio: Tune-In For Emacspeak

Internet Radio: Tune-In For Emacspeak

1 Internet Radio: Tune-In For Emacspeak

I just checked in the ability to browse, search and play radio-stations from TuneIn on the Emacspeak Audio Desktop.

1.1 Pre-Requisites

  1. xsltproc for xsl stylesheet processing.
  2. Linux mplayer for playing streams, preferably the latest version

2 Simple Usage Summary

  • M-x emacspeak-wizards-tune-in-radio-browse brings up the browse interface.
  • M-x emacspeak-wizards-tune-in-radio-search prompts for a query and brings up search results.
  • Both browse and search get the results back as an OPML feed, which gets displayed as a simple Web page within the Emacs Web Browser (EWW if using 24.4).
  • Items identified as (link) are themselves OPML feeds and can be opened via command emacspeak-feeds-opml-display.
  • The initial browse buffer is set up to use opml-display when you click on link items.
  • You can play (audio) links by invoking command emacspeak-webutils-play-media-at-point — this command is bound to _; in EWW.
  • You need to provide an interactive prefix argument to the above command to indicate that it is a playlist — so you actually press C-u ; on audio links.
  • Many of the audio links do not return a playlist – they instead return a link that is a pointer to a playlist. Newer versions of mplayer will throw a security error — you can tell mplayer to follow them by invoking the earlier command with two prefix args so C-u C-u ;.
  • All this works about 90% of the time. In some cases – depending on whether the server failed to generate the right

mimetype for the play URL etc, you may need to run

curl --silent <url> 

where <url> is the URL of the audio link, then pass that resulting URL to command emacspeak-m-player-url.

Share And Enjoy!

Date: <2015-02-17 Tue>

Author: T.V Raman

Created: 2015-02-17 Tue 16:41

Emacs (Org mode 8.2.10)


Tuesday, January 06, 2015

3D: A Spatial Auditory Icon Theme Generated Using CSound

Using CSound To Generate Auditory Icons

1 Auditory Icon Theme: 3d

CSound is a sophisticated music sound synthesis system with a strong community of developers. I've played off and on with CSound ever since the early 90's and have always been intrigued by the possibility of algorithmically creating new auditory icon themes for Emacspeak using CSound.

Over the holidays last December, I finally got around to creating my first complete CSound-generated auditory icon theme – it is now checked into Emacspeak SVN as theme 3d. This theme is best experienced with headphones — many of the generated icons use spatial audio to good effect.