Tuesday, January 26, 2010

AsTeR --- Audio System For Technical Readings

Almost exactly 16 years to the date after presenting AsTeR --- Audio System For Technical Readings --- to the CS Faculty at Cornell for my PhD, I released the source code as Open Source --- thanks to Prof. David Gries at Cornell for approving this release.

The sources are checked into GoogleCode project aster-math --- unfortunately, the name AsTeR was unavailable since there is an unrelated project of the same name at SourceForge.

So you might well ask: why 16 years later, and why now? The honest answer is No good reason, except that after graduating from Cornell, I decided that I would work on newer projects, and consequently had no cycles to support the AsTeR code base. Nothing has changed in that context, nor is it likely to change in the coming future; however I get requests off and on from different parts of the Web from teachers and students alike who have seen my PhD thesis, played with the demos, and wish to study the sources.

What You'll Find In The Sources

The code has not been actively developed since I finished my work at Cornell; however, over the years, I 've ensured that the system starts up and runs on Linux using the Open Source CLisp environment. The only text-to-speech engine that is supported is the hardware DECTalk --- though it should be a small matter of programming to support the various Emacspeak speech servers. If you do checkout the source code, start by looking at the README file which contains brief instructions on getting started. Feel free to use the Emacspeak mailing list for now if you wish to discuss the code --- if the traffic justifies it, we can later create a project-specific list.