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Blogs

SPL 5 scripts for JAWS updated to build 14

StationPlaylist 5.0 Scripts for JAWS are updated to build 14 with the following changes:
1. Changed the sound to mark the end of a song introduction to differentiate it from the end of track warning.
2. I hope, slightly improved the reliability of the reading of Track Properties, activated by SPL Key, V.
3. Added announcement when automation is toggled on and off.

www.hartgen.org/studio
Just run the installer!

Using J-Say - Ten Years On!

I was browsing the web earlier today, viewing the different websites containing mention of J-Say, a product which does a great deal more than linking JAWS for Windows and Dragon NaturallySpeaking together. This included some Youtube videos from people who are using the technology. Reading these pages reminded me that J-Say is now in its tenth year of development and I thought it was worth writing a few paragraphs to celebrate that fact!

As the Developer of J-Say for Astec, I am very proud of what the product has achieved during that time. I've been to both the homes and workplaces of people who are using a computer who otherwise would never ever have the chance of doing so. These would be people with physical disabilities as well as a visual impairment given that J-Say allows hands-free control of the computer. You do not need to be in the same room as the computer to use J-Say if you are using wireless or bluetooth technology, and I would suggest it is the ideal solution for people who cannot use the keyboard. People have published books or written stage plays and television scripts with it. They've used it to write letters, manage email or do the grocery shopping, whatever is their preference.

There have been attempts to create screen-reading access to the speech recognition capabilities of Windows Vista and 7, but as I understand it, this does not give you complete hands-free control of the computer, nor is the speech engine anywhere near as accurate as that which Dragon NaturallySpeaking provides. A quick Google search will tell you that.

But the question which I saw most often was, what does J-Say do that using JAWS alongside Dragon would not?

J-Say is much much more than a number of JAWS scripts. It has a number of additional components which offer many advantages:

  • Complete echo back of your dictation. We call this "dynamic echo". As you speak, the computer echoes back what you say, important as you need to know that what you have said has been successfully recognised. This text can also be sent to a Braille display.
  • Screen-Reading. I think every JAWS screen-reading function has an equivalent voice command. This enables a person to screen-read in the same way as a keyboard user would be able to do, (such as to speak or spell the current line or to hear the entire document), together with hearing information about tables, using the Research It module or something as recent as Flexible Web for JAWS 14. I would be surprised if there is anything we don't have.
  • Easier Text Selection. Dragon users have the ability to select text if they can see the "from and through" points, so you can ask it to highlight text from the beginning of a passage to the end. If you cannot see what is on the screen, it is unlikely that functionality can be used quickly and with any degree of success. J-say contains the ability to make that process easier.
  • Flattening the G U I. The "My Words" facility of J-Say is the primary way we suggest people educate the software so it learns how words and phrases are pronounced. Users traditionally need to interact with Dialog Boxes within the dragon Vocabulary Editor so as to add words commonly used to the speech vocabulary. However, J-Say allows for direct access to a text file in Microsoft Notepad, where all such words are typed. This makes it easy for not only the user to enter such terms but also people supporting them, who may have very little computer experience.
  • Starting Dragon automatically. Dragon does not have the ability to start automatically when Windows is loaded. J-Say contains an option for that.
  • Shortcuts, Text Notes and Contacts. These are utilities which allow quick and direct access by voice to folders and documents, together with being able to reproduce phrases and long text passages quickly. Contacts allow for successful recalling of email addresses which Dragon may not otherwise be able to understand.
  • Custom Menu. This is a menu of options anyone can build, such as a Trainer or Support Consultant, to allow a user to access frequently used programs, documents, websites or commands from a single list. No scripting or programming knowledge necessary.
  • Access to the Correction System. Dragon contains a "Correction Box" which is another method by which the software can be educated to learn how words and phrases are pronounced. J-Say provides full access to this by having alternative choices read back or a new spelling can be entered by voice.
  • Learning Module. J-Say comes equipped with a full tutorial teaching the concepts of using J-Say from a person's first dictation exercise through to complex formatting, managing email and using the internet.
  • Additional Functions. There are many other features which have been developed specifically for the voice recognition user who cannot see. These include, for example, the ability to hear which programs are active on the computer. Dragon (and Windows Speech Recognition) have the ability for a user to be able to switch to a given application using a voice command. But this is only useful if you know which programs are running! J-Say will advise you of this and provide you with an easy way of being able to switch to the one you want at any time.
  • Complete Dragon Customisation. In order for Dragon to perform optimally with JAWS, 30 options need to be set within Dragon's "Options" Dialog Box. This is now seemlessly achieved in the background each time a user creates a new set of speech files, what we call, a new "Voice Profile".
  • Independent Reading of the Training Text. This is now far less important than it used to be, but J-Say does read on demand the training text which could be spoken when a user customises Dragon for his or her use. J-Say intelligently works out how much of the text has been spoken and prompts the user with the next few words.

In summary, J-Say has come a long way in its ten year history. What we have is a product which is developed with the blind user in mind, just as our upcoming Say-MAGic product will be developed with core input from low vision users. J-Say is backed up by remote support. A user can always obtain assistance (or even training) using remote support if that is needed.

If you have questions about J-Say, please visit Astec (the J-Say developers) at
http://www.astec-at.co.uk/j-say.html

You can also contact Next Generation Technologies in North America and Canada:
http://www.ngtvoice.com/products/software/astec/j-say/

I would like to thank our beta testers and our many users for all their suggestions for feature improvements and for their hard work in testing the product to ensure it is stable and reliable.

I do hope that users of J-Say continue to benefit from it for many years to come, and here's to the next ten years!

Build 10 of StationPlaylist 5 Scripts for JAWS

Build 10 of the StationPlaylist 5 scripts for JAWS is now posted. This contains something which provides a significant improvement relating to the interaction by JAWS in the Playlist Viewer.

To install the scripts, download the installer from
www.hartgen.org/studio
and run it.

1. You can always get to the scripts documentation on the web. This will tell you how to install the scripts and use them. Go here for the documentation:
http://www.hartgen.org/splscriptsuserguide50
You can also get a convenient keystroke summary list by pressing Insert+H from within Studio, or again, the full documentation by pressing Insert+F1. Both are available from the Start Menu, All Programs, StationPlaylist Scripts.
Press Insert+H when in the track Tool for a list of keystrokes relevant to it.

2. When in the Playlist Viewer, press the StationPlaylist Key, (grave accent), then Control+P. This will place the whole of the playlist in the virtual viewer for closer inspection without moving focus within the playlist itself, for example while playing.

Now here is an extract from the documentation regarding the last feature.
You can hear an audio demo of this by going here:
http://audioboo.fm/boos/1298344-the-playlist-viewer-in-stationplaylist-s...

As you move through the Playlist Viewer and become more comfortable with it, you may care to reduce the amount of information spoken or which is output to a Braille display. For example, you may not wish to hear the song duration or the full file path of the item. You can reduce the number of columns JAWS tells you about, change the order of them, and independently control the Braille and speech output. You may care to have less information on your Braille display than that which is spoken. That is possible.

Even if you customise the columns, this will not affect your ability to take advantage of "Enhanced Arrow Key Mode" (see below), or being able to press Control+Insert+1 through to Control+Insert+6 to hear individual column information. Those functions are still available.

To customise the reading of the columns, please follow these steps:

  1. Press StationPlaylist Key then Control+C. The "Customise List View" Dialog Box is brought into view.
  2. You are focused within the "Speech" Property Sheet. The first List View control displays all the six columns in the Playlist Viewer. Press Down Arrow until the desired column you do not wish to hear is spoken. As you move through the list, observe that JAWS will announce whether the column will be spoken or not. For example, by default JAWS will say "Title Speak Column".
  3. When you have reached the column you wish to filter, (such as "File Name", press Tab repeatedly until JAWS says "Toggle Speech Button".
  4. Press the Space Bar on the Button. JAWS will say the column name followed by "Do Not Speak", such as "File Name Do Not Speak".
  5. Continue to work through the list until the columns have been customised to your liking. You can at any time press Shift+Tab to move back to the list of columns, then press Up and Down Arrow to hear the results. Now as you move through the list, JAWS will report whether or not the focused column will speak
  6. When you are happy with the arrangement you have made, press Tab repeatedly to reach the "OK" Button and press the Space Bar to activate it. The settings are now saved

As you were customising the List View of columns, you may have noticed some things we have not covered so far.

  • There are two Buttons labelled "Move Up" and "Move Down". These allow you to change the order of the columns spoken. For example, if you wish the track title to be spoken first, then the artist name, press Down Arrow to reach the "Title" option, then press Tab until the "Move Up" Button is located. Press Space Bar to activate the Button, then examine once again your list of columns. You will see that the titles are displayed first.
  • The "Braille" Property Sheet can be activated by pressing Control+Tab. When this is done, exactly the same Dialog Box layout is revealed, except that this time, all items relate to how JAWS reports the columns on a Braille display. Go ahead and repeat the above steps, eliminating columns, (or changing their order), as appropriate. You will notice that this time, the Button to disable the column from being sent to the Braille display is labelled "Toggle Braille" and, when you examine the list of columns, JAWS will say "Do Not Braille" on any item which is not sent to the Braille display.
  • In either the "Speech" or "Braille" Property Sheet, the "Delete Customisations" Button will allow you to remove previously defined column arrangements to allow you once again to hear (or read) all the columns in the Playlist Viewer. Having pressed the Space Bar to activate the Button, a Dialog Box will appear, asking if you are sure you want to delete the customisations. Press the Space Bar on the "Yes" Button.

All the above functionality relating to customising the columns is available in the "Track Tool". Please refer to a later section of this User Guide relating to the marking of introductions which will give some more information concerning the use of the "Track Tool".

StationPlaylist 5 scripts for jaws updated to build 9

StationPlaylist scripts for JAWS have been updated to version 5.0 build 9. The only difference here is that you can now press the StationPlaylist Key followed by L, from within any application, to obtain the listener statistics. This is of course assuming SPL Studio is running at the time.

The best thing to do these days to update is to run the installer so you get the very latest modifications to the documentation as well as the script update. You can download it from
www.hartgen.org/studio

SPL Studio 5 scripts for JAWS updated to build 8

StationPlaylist Studio V5 scripts for JAWS have now been updated to build 8 with the following improvements.

While the zipped archive will always be available which you can extract to your JAWS Settings/ENU folder, you are strongly encouraged to use the new installer. As of this build, it places shortcuts to uninstall the scripts, the read the documentation and to read the keystroke summary. You will find these under All Programs, StationPlaylist Scripts. You can use the installer to overwrite the existing scripts. Just download and run it.

Finding tracks in the playlist is more reliable.
StationPlaylist Key F equals find forward. Type a search string and press Enter to begin.
StationPlaylist Key F3 equals find again. Finds the next instance of the search.
StationPlaylist Key then Control+F equals find backwards.
StationPlaylist Key then Shift+F3 equals find previous.

You have always been able to press Control+Insert+1 through to 6 to read the column titles in the Playlist Viewer. You can now press these keystrokes twice quickly to output the columns to the Virtual Viewer for closer inspection, such as to verify artist or title spellings.

The documentation has been considerably revised and updated to include new sections and change older ones.

The scripts for the Track Tool are included with this version. While in the Track Tool, press Insert+H to get a list of keyboard shortcuts.

Global Keystrokes

You can now operate specific functions of StationPlaylist Studio no matter the application you are in. This is helpful if you are reading e-mail for example,
and you need to quickly interact with Studio. Alternatively, you can complete a Skype call and instantly start the playback of the next track without
having to focus upon Studio first.

Press the StationPlaylist Key then:

To play the next track press ALT+1.
To stop the track with a fade press ALT+2.
To instantly stop the track press ALT+3.
To skip to the next track and fade press ALT+4.
To start the next track without a fade press ALT+5.
To pause the audio playback press ALT+6.
To restart the audio playback after pausing press ALT+7.
To activate the microphone with the song fading press ALT+8.
To deactivate the microphone press ALT+9.
To activate the microphone without the song fading press ALT+0.

As ever the scripts can be downloaded from
www.hartgen.org/studio

SPL 5 scripts for JAWS updated to build 7

Scripts for StationPlaylist version 5 have been updated to build 7 with the following additions.

Press Control+Shift+1 to hear the remaining time of the cart from within any application.
Press Control+Windows+1 to hear the remaining time of a voice track.

To install or upgrade, just download the scripts from
www.hartgen.org/studio
You can either run the new installer to overwrite the existing scripts, or extract the zipped archive into your jaws settings directory.
No further modifications are required.

Please don't forget that we also have scripts for the Track Tool which should be installed separately.

SPL Scripts for jaws updated with new installer

Hi everyone

Since I began producing these scripts for jaws, we have had a significant problem, which is where the default jaws files need to be modified so that certain aspects of Studio can be output globally. Not only has this caused a problem recently as the installer I was using did not work successfully if jaws 14 was the only release on the machine, but also if the jaws program was updated, our modified defaults would sometimes “break” some of the new functionality.

A new updated build has been created to take account of these problems. Whether you choose to use the zipped archive, or the installer, there is now no need to modify the defaults. This should make the process much easier.

So the procedure is run the installer, and when the Finish screen appears, run Studio.
It should not even be necessary to restart jaws.

I would be interested to know if this solves the problem for those people who were experiencing the problems with the old installer.

You can of course download from
www.hartgen.org/studio

Remembering Helena.

They say that life isn’t fair, that is a thing you get to know at an early age and yet sometimes it is a lesson you have to re-learn when life’s unfairness takes your breath away. You might equally say death isn’t fair and this also is true. When it takes someone away from their family and friends and leaves behind only tears and memories you are left struggling to come to terms with it. At least that is what I am feeling today. Yesterday one of my closest friends, Helena Wenberg, died suddenly at the age of just fifty-two.

I first met Helena in 2009. I use the term loosely as we mostly communicated online and although we did eventually get to meet and spend time together that came later. The first thing you noticed about her was her amazing voice. She had a lovely Swedish accent witch was, at that time, faintly tinged with American. She was heavily into the Wheel of Time series of books so she would use expressions like “What in the name of the light is that?” Which would make you smile. The first time I spoke to her there was none of that awkwardness and feeling the way which comes with a first conversation. It was as if we had always known each other.

After that first meeting our friendship grew steadily and for the next two years we were about as close as two people can be. We were able to be there for each other through some extremely tough times and for her unstinting help I shall always be grateful. In the spring of 2011 Helena came to Wales for an amazing two weeks and believe me I am so glad I have that to remember now.

Helena was an amazing person. She was kind, gentle, funny, loving, she never gave up on anyone however much they may have hurt her, she forgave and forgave again. I remember her swearing in Swedish when she got annoyed, her intense love of cats, her willingness to help anyone in any way she could even if it meant sitting up for half the night, her huge collections of fantasy books, plays, TV series, her endearing playfulness, the way she bore her many health problems without complaint or with a joke. We were very different in some ways and eerily alike in others which made things difficult between us more than once. Like all friendships we had our ups and downs and I only thank God that during the last eight months things got back to normal and we were as close as before.

During the time I knew Helena she went from someone who was deeply unhappy and insecure with no self-confidence to someone who was well in control of her life and always ready to try new things. In her last few months she mastered her new iPhone and grew to love it, a thing she thought she could never do. She became adept at shopping online, something which, like me, she used to be scared of. She still had her sad times but she had inner strength which helped her to deal with them. Since learning of her passing I have also learned how many people really liked her. This would have astounded her, she always said she was nothing special, just a boring old cat, those were her words. Far from it! I haven’t met anyone who had a bad word to say for her. She had a loving, close family and my thoughts and prayers are with them at what must be a very traumatic and difficult time for them. She had a huge number of online friends and our community will sorely miss her bright presence. As I told someone yesterday, she blessed everyone whose life she touched and we were lucky to know her.

It has been said that you can always learn something from a hard knock. Sorry, I know I seem to be spouting clichés but they also happen to be true. I have been sitting here, remembering my friend and trying to think what I can possibly learn from this awful thing.

What I am thinking has been said before but it is brought home to me now with even greater clarity. Life is so transient, so fragile. I was talking to Helena on Twitter one day, the next she was gone forever with no time to say goodbye. I hope, with God’s help, I can live each day to the full even if I’m not feeling my best. I really hope I can help anyone if I am asked, hurt no one, appreciate even more the people who love me and the friends I am lucky to have. Most of all I will always try to be thankful for every day I am given on this earth, for all the good things and blessings I have, and I thank God for being given the gift of a friend like Helena.

JAWS Scripts for the SPL Track Tool Have Been Released

At Team-FM, we are very pleased to be able to bring you full keyboard access to the stationPlaylist Track Tool using JAWS for Windows scripts.

The purpose of the Track Tool is to quickly establish intro times and/or cue and segue positions of individual songs by listening to them, or by scanning the files with volume settings. It may also be used to view basic track information such as Artist, Title, Album and CD Code in columns which may be sorted. 

In addition to providing enhanced reading of the tracks as you move through them with the Up and Down Arrow keys, an optional sound will play if an intro to a song has been marked and is detected.

The following keyboard shortcuts, (many of which were already built into the program), are available. Please press Insert+H to get a list of shortcuts, however they are provided here for convenience.

File management:

Control+O: Open file.
Alt+B: Browse for folder.

Audio player:

Enter or P: Play.
S: Stop.
F: Forward five seconds.
R: Rewind five seconds.
Control+F: Play final five seconds.
Control+R: Move to beginning.

Intros:

F12: Toggle notification of the presence of an intro as you move through the list.
i: Set intro time.
ALT+I: Test intro time.

Other:

C: Set cue time.
Control+C: Test cue time.
l: Set overlap duration.
Control+L: Test overlap duration.
Q: Set segue time.
Control+Q: Test segue time.
Control+N: New.
Control+S: File scan.
Control+P: Player configuration.
ALT+Enter: Properties.
Control+Insert+1 through to Control+Insert+0: Read columns 1 through to 10.
Control+G: Open file from current location.
ALT+F: Fix crossfade.
ALT+T: Set on test.
ALT+S: Stop on set.
F1: Help.

Sorting the list by column:

ALT+1: Artist.
ALT+2: Title.
ALT+3: Duration.
ALT+4: Cue.
ALT+5: Overlap.
ALT+6: Intro.
ALT+7: Segue.

To install the scripts, first download either the zipped archive or the installer from
www.hartgen.org/studio

Next, run the installer or extract the zipped archive to the Settings/ENU folder of the JAWS version relative to the Windows account you are using, (Explore My Settings from the Start Menu). JAWS versions 11 through to 14 are supported.

SPL Studio scripts for JAWS updated

JAWS scripts for StationPlaylist Studio version 5.0 have now been updated to build 6.

There are two notable changes.

First, in the Adjust JAWS Options dialog box, the second item in the list is an option to enable or disable the notification that you have reached the top or bottom of a list, such as a playlist. It is enabled by default.

Second, in the documentation I have included instructions for modifying the JAWS default scripts to make it possible for some notifications to speak or play a sound globally, such as when a song is about to end. Usually the installer would make these modifications, however it seems that the installer I use does not install to JAWS version 14.0 if that is the only version on the machine. Despite my very best efforts including public appeals, I am unable to find anyone who is able or willing to help with the creation of an installer to do this work. As a workaround, this is all I can do. It may help if you have multiple versions of JAWS installed.

If you are already using the scripts for 5.0, just extract the contents of the zipped file to your JAWS Settings/ENU folder of the version of JAWS you are running, replacing those which already exist. There will be no need to modify the default files if it has already been done.

You can download the scripts from
www.hartgen.org/studio

Enjoy the new update!

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