Sunday, June 05, 2022

Emacspeak: The Complete Audio Desktop Under Pulseaudio

Emacspeak: The Complete Audio Desktop Under Pulseaudio

1. Executive Summary

Porting Emacspeak sound environment to Pulseaudio.

Until now, emacspeak features that enhance the auditory display have relied exclusively on ALSA and avoided Pulseaudio all together. As Pulseaudio improves, and simultaneously gets harder to get rid of, I recently ported the required features to work under Pulseaudio, see below for details.

2. Summary Of Auditory Display Enhancements

  • Notifications, e.g., speaking the time, incoming IM messages

etc. are spoken on a separate notification stream.

  • The above normally plays on the right ear, but enhanced with a binaural effect.
  • This can be configured to be on the left ear when running Emacspeak remotely on a cloud-top.
  • A Bauer Stereo To Binaural (BS2B) filter is applied to all output streams to provide an enhanced headphones listening experience.
  • The outloud server has been updated to request lower latency from Pulse; Pulseaudio defaults are too high for highly responsive TTS.

For details on Emacspeak's enhancement to the auditory display, see prior articles listed in the References section.

3. Configuring Pulseaudio To Enhance The Auditory Display

All of these features have been available until now by installing a custom .asoundrc; these are now available under Pulseaudio by installing a .config/pulse/default.pa in the user's home directory.

cp EMACSPEAK_DIR/etc/pulse/default.pa ~/.config/pulse; pulseaudio -k

The above is a one-time operation that sets up the audio environment — see etc/pulse/README.org.

Date: 2022-06-05 Sun 00:00

Author: T.V Raman

Created: 2022-06-05 Sun 09:16

Validate

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Announcing Emacspeak 56.0 (AgileDog)

Announcing Emacspeak 56.0—AgileDog!

The enjoyment of one's tools is an essential ingredient of successful work. – Donald E. Knuth

1. For Immediate Release:

San Jose, CA, (May 1, 2022)

1.1. Emacspeak 56.0 (AgileDog) Unleashed! 🦮

— Making Accessible Computing Effortless!

Advancing Accessibility In The Age Of User-Aware Interfaces — Zero cost of Ownership makes priceless software Universally affordable!

Emacspeak Inc (NASDOG: ESPK) — http://github.com/tvraman/emacspeak announces immediate world-wide availability of Emacspeak 56.0 (AgileDog) 🦮 — a powerful audio desktop that leverages today's evolving Data, Social and Assistant-Oriented Internet cloud to enable working efficiently and effectively from anywhere!

2. 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 is trading at levels close to that achieved by once better known stocks in the tech sector.

3. 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 ubiquitous assistance, Web-surfing, blogging, remote software development, social computing and electronic messaging into the audio desktop, Emacspeak enables spoken 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 assistant-oriented social Internet cloud.

4. Major Enhancements:

  1. Updated eldoc support 🕮
  2. Updated elpy support 🐍
  3. Updated language switching for Espeak 󠀁
  4. Updated Transient Support 𝥍
  5. External Browsers From EWW 🕸
  6. Updated wizards and muggles 🧙
  7. Updated url templates for smarter Web access ♅
  8. Fully tested under emacs-28 native compilation 🚄

    — And a lot more than will fit this margin. … 🗞

Note: This version requires emacs-27.1 or later.

5. 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 and the underlying GIT versioning software used to develop and distribute the system.

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 free of cost 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 Assistance and 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.

6. 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!”.

6.1. Note from Aster,Bubbles and Tilden:

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

7. Obtaining Emacspeak:

Emacspeak can be downloaded from GitHub — see https://github.com/tvraman/emacspeak you can visit Emacspeak on the WWW at http://emacspeak.sf.net. You can subscribe to the emacspeak mailing list — emacspeak@emacspeak.org. 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 at GitHub.

8. History:

  • Emacspeak 56.0 (AgileDog) belies its age to be as agile as Tilden.
  • Emacspeak 55.0 (CalmDog) attempts to be as calm as Tilden.
  • Emacspeak 54.0 (EZDog) learns to take it easy from Tilden.
  • Emacspeak 53.0 (EfficientDog) focuses on efficiency.
  • Emacspeak 52.0 (WorkAtHomeDog) makes working remotely a pleasurable experience.
  • Bigger and more powerful than any smart assistAnt, AssistDog provides

instant access to the most relevant information at all times.

  • Emacspeak 50.0 (SageDog) embraces the wisdom of stability as opposed to rapid change and the concomitant creation of bugs.🚭: Naturally Intelligent (NI)™ at how information is spoken, Emacspeak

is entirely free of Artificial Ingredients (AI)™.

  • Emacspeak 49.0 (WiseDog) leverages the wisdom gleaned from earlier releases to provide an enhanced auditory experience.
  • Emacspeak 48.0 (ServiceDog) builds on earlier releases to provide continued end-user value.
  • Emacspeak 47.0 (GentleDog) goes the next step in being helpful while letting users learn and grow.
  • Emacspeak 46.0 (HelpfulDog) heralds the coming of Smart Assistants.
  • Emacspeak 45.0 (IdealDog) is named in recognition of Emacs' excellent integration with various programming language environments — thanks to this, Emacspeak is the IDE of choice for eyes-free software engineering.
  • Emacspeak 44.0 continues the steady pace of innovation on the audio desktop.
  • Emacspeak 43.0 brings even more end-user efficiency by leveraging the ability to spatially place multiple audio streams to provide timely auditory feedback.
  • 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 on 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 on 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 can't 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 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.

9. About Emacspeak:

Originally based at Cornell (NY) — http://www.cs.cornell.edu/home/raman —home to Auditory User Interfaces (AUI) on the WWW, Emacspeak is now maintained on GitHub —https://github.com/tvraman/emacspeak. 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 Emacspeak Mail Archive –the home of the Emacspeak mailing list– thanks to Greg Priest-Dorman, and provides a valuable knowledge base for new users.

10. 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 http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/cases/f3800/msjudgex.htm for details on the ill-effects of Forced Fenestration.

CopyWrite )C( Aster, Hubbell and Tilden 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.

Saturday, April 09, 2022

Advice On Emacs Advice

Advice On Emacs Advice

1. Introduction

Love it or hate it, lisp advice is powerful and useful. This article covers some of the places where advice can provide a means of discovering useful behaviors that can then be later codified without resorting to advice. Advice can also prove to be a powerful means of experimentation; these experiments can become permanent, e.g., when the resulting modifications introduced via advice are only relevant to a small minority — a good example is package Emacspeak. These are but two extremes of a continuum and advice enables many possibilities in that range.

This article is written in the light of nearly 28 years of Emacspeak development, a time during which I have learn some useful lessons on how to use advice safely and program defensively. This article itself does not take any position in the Advice is evil, dont use it debate — it is here to help you if you do decide to use advice for a given task.

2. Where Advice Can Be Useful

  1. Temporarily trace a given function — advice can display messages on entry and exit to the adviced function. Emacs' own built-in debug-on-entry mostly obviates the need to do this.
  2. You want custom behavior for some command in a package, where the package author (hasn't yet) provided an appropriate before or after hook. Implementing the desired behavior as a before or after advice is a friction-free means of experimenting with your idea. Once proven useful, the advice-based prototype can be used to motivate the introduction of the new hook, and once implemented, you can eliminate the advice.
  3. Having implemented a custom behavior, you discover that the author of the package you are extending is unable to incorporate your suggestion. Advice here can provide a light-weight alternative to forking the package in question.
  4. The modified behavior you wish to implement is relevant to a small minority. You need to advice a large number of functions because the modified behavior you desire requires complete access to the calling context and environment. A good example is generating rich contextual spoken feedback — advice is excellently suited to this task.

3. Advice Tips

These tips are written in terms of defadvice but apply equally well to the API introduced in module nadvice.

  1. Use before/after advice as far as possible, and resort to around advice only when you must.
  2. Name all your advice fragments consistently.
  3. Do not depend on the argument names used in the function being adviced, instead use ad-get-arg to positionally access the adviced function's arguments.
  4. Use lexical scoping in all your functions, and be rigorous in declaring any special variables using (cl-declare (special …)) in your code. The byte-compiler is your friend; use this declaration when you see warnings about special variables.
  5. Except for very simple advice fragments, use a let form inside your advice to bind variables.
  6. Within your advice, do not depend on any global state that you haven't yourself bound within the let body in your advice.
  7. If you write around advice, ensure that the last form in your advice is ad-return-value. Dont modify this value unless you absolutely must.
  8. Make sure to use ad-do-it in your around advice so that the original function gets called — except in the very rare cases where you want to entirely bypass the original function.
  9. In the rare case where you have multiple defadvice on the same function, note that you can specify the order win which these are called. Use this only when experimenting, and make sure to clean-up later by combining the advice fragments into a single call to defadvice.

4. Historical Note

  • Advice was contributed to Emacs in early 1994 by Hans Chalupsky. I started the Emacspeak project a few months after and am indebted to him — both for his advice implementation and for numerous email exchanges with him at the time as I learnt to use advice.
  • I released Emacspeak in April 1995. A few days later I was thrilled to receive a phone call from RMS — where he told me all the reasons why I shouldn't use advice. This was distressing to say the least; I had two choices — abandon Emacspeak using advice, or to ignore his advice. I took the middle-road; I made careful note of all his admonitions and warnings, and the result was to program defensively. Many of the tips listed in the previous section are a direct consequence of keeping an eye out for the various pitfalls he outlined during that phone call.
  • I've also garnered useful tips and tricks on the emacs-devel list over the years from folks like Stefan Mounier — especially as Emacs transitioned to module nadvice in 2014.