Soundscapes On The Emacspeak Audio Desktop
1 Executive Summary
Emacspeak module soundscape adds the ability to automatically switch
Soundscapes based on the current buffer. A Soundscape can be any
continuously playing stream of audio; in practice, using nature sounds
that repeat softly in a pseudo-random manner appears to be
effective. Soundscapes are activated based on the currently active
Emacs Major Mode and as a consequence directly mirror the user's
current activity. The present implementation uses Python package
Boodler to generate soundscapes.
You can experiment with installed Boodler agents using command
soundscape-stop. You can enable and disable
automatic soundscapes using command
currently active default Soundscape theme can be inspected via command
soundscape-display — this produces a buffer that lists the
currently defined /major-mode -> Soundscape mapping.
soundscape.el considers the inheritance relationship among
Emacs major-modes when computing the set of soundscapes to
activate.As an example, eww-mode inherits from special-mode — as
a consequence, two soundscapes (LightWind and BackgroundWaves)
become active when reading Web content.
3 Default Major-Mode->Soundscape (Mood) Mapping:
Here is a table showing the mapping of major-mmodes to Soundscape
moods at the time of writing. For readability, I have stripped out the
package-name for these soundscapes.
|Soundscape (Mood)||List Of Major Modes|
|RainForever||Info help Man Custom messages-buffer|
|Drip||message gnus-summary gnus-article gnus-group mspools vm-presentation vm mail twittering jabber-roster jabber-chat erc|
4 Soundscape Research
I implemented package
soundscape.el to create a platform that would
let me experiment with different tools that aid in
concentration. After using Soundscapes for about a week, I have also
found that it reduces some of the fatigue that results from having to
listen to synthetic text-to-speech for extended periods.
The true value (if any) of this package will be a function of how heavily
I find myself using it six months from now — as a metric, complete
success might mean that in mid-2016, I still have automatic
soundscapes turned on.
As I type this article in Emacs org-mode, I hear the sound of
water-drops falling softly in the background, and I take note
that I have not switched tasks for the entire time I have spent
writing this article.
Other success metrics — harder to measure — might include how
effective Soundscapes are in helping the user stay focused on a
given activity for extended periods of time. In an ever-connected
world buzzing with a constant stream of distractions ranging from
incoming email and instant-messages to a flood of twitter updates,
this is likely the most relevant metric.