[Bookreader] Newbie question: where's help most dearly needed?

Sayamindu Dasgupta sayamindu at gmail.com
Tue Nov 3 17:11:14 EST 2009

Hi Andreas,
Thanks for jumping in :-)

There are a lot of places where we need help. Sharing of annotations
would be awesome to begin with. I can help you by pointing out the
relevant code files, etc if needed. The workflow I'm considering is
something like:

Click on share -> popup asking if annotations should be shared as well
(I hate popups, but I think it is more important to let the user have
the choice of not sharing the annotations) -> sharing happens

Does it make sense ?


On Wed, Nov 4, 2009 at 3:18 AM, Andreas Gros <info at andreasgros.net> wrote:
> Dear all,
> as I am new to this list I would very much like to know how to best
> support the further development of the xyz-"reader" capabilities on
> sugar resp. the XO. I am currently working for the Max Planck Digital
> Library and Open Access is a very important concept to me. As Open
> Access is not fully achieved if digital content cannot be used in ways
> that let users exploit its contents fully (e.g. with the already
> mentioned text-to-speech, a good annotation system, smart bookmarking,
> sharing of annotations, ...), I would very much like to make digital
> content more usable for children. One of the best ways I see is to
> improve/bring to life the XO's e-reader capabilities (although I
> currently have no first-hand experience with it).
> I am both a programmer (currently, ubuntu is my preferred OS and c++,
> java, python, ruby are no foreign languages to me) and a scientist
> (mathematical modelling) and if you could send me some pointers on where
> help is most needed ....
> Thanks a hell of a lot!
> Best, Andi
> On 29.10.2009 23:30, Mike McCabe wrote:
>> I'll chime in -
>> I also think this is a great idea.  I've worked with several
>> text-to-speech readers recently, as part of my effort to make the
>> Internet Archive books available to print disabled people.
>> They're very useful, and I think that this mode of reading could be of
>> use to a very broad range of users.  I suspect we'll see more of it soon.
>> I'm also curious to hear about specific experiences with
>> linux-compatible free TTS, as we may be producing audio books with this
>> to work with the new Library of Congress audio players.
>> Best regards -
>> Mike
>> Gregor Kervina wrote:
>>> Hi Sayamindu,
>>> thanks for quick reply!
>>> There is a lot of text to speech software out there - I use
>>> http://www.bytecool.com/coolspch.htm that you can try trial and download
>>> additional voices, just to get a feeling, but it is not free and not for
>>> linux. Many other programs are more complex and complicated and some of
>>> them use very complex voice engines that in my opinion doesn't sound
>>> very good. (I use Mary voice with cool speech)
>>> OK I spent some time to find all TTS software that is free for linux and
>>> here are some links:
>>> http://linux-sound.org/speech.html
>>> http://linuxhelp.blogspot.com/2006/01/festival-text-to-speech-synthesis.html
>>> http://larswiki.atrc.utoronto.ca/wiki/Software  - see the links under
>>> Speech section
>>> http://www.xenocafe.com/tutorials/php/festival_text_to_speech/index.php
>>> http://www.wikihow.com/Convert-Text-to-Speech-on-Linux
>>> http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/
>>> http://www.cstr.ed.ac.uk/projects/festival/onlinedemo.html - listen to
>>> some demo voices
>>> http://sourceforge.net/projects/dhvani/ - this one not english
>>> http://sourceforge.net/projects/tts-cubed/
>>> http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/hephaestus.html - click the links in Speech
>>> Synthesis section
>>> http://www.speech.cs.cmu.edu/comp.speech/Section5/Synth/rsynth.html
>>> http://www.linux.com/archive/feature/122197 - two readers - plug-ins for
>>> firefox.
>>> I can not test them because I'm not a linux user. Maybe you can modify
>>> some of these software (probably Festival) for more user friendly
>>> reading and maybe program a specific button on XO keyboard that will
>>> automatically read the selected text no matter what program is used for
>>> opening the text.
>>> Judging from google search result for DTBooks, this technology is not
>>> spread at all. The other problem is that it uses somtimes recorded audio
>>> and the size of that is too large for XO... I think the most important
>>> is that TTS works with reader that will open 1.6M e-books from internet
>>> archive
>>> <http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2009/10/24/internet-archive-opens-1-6-million-e-books-to-olpc-laptops/>(are
>>> you in this team?).
>>> Also one important thing is to add cheap headphones with laptop so
>>> children could listen to reading without desturbing others and in the
>>> noisy environments ... another advantage of audio reading is much longer
>>> battery life because you can turn off LCD monitor and audio alone does
>>> not consume much energy.
>>> Let me know what you think.
>>> All the best,
>>> Gregor
>>> On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 4:08 PM, Sayamindu Dasgupta<sayamindu at gmail.com
>>> <mailto:sayamindu at gmail.com>>  wrote:
>>>      Hi Gregor,
>>>      Thanks a lot for jumping in :-)
>>>      On Mon, Oct 26, 2009 at 2:38 AM, Gregor Kervina
>>>      <gregor.kervina at gmail.com<mailto:gregor.kervina at gmail.com>>  wrote:
>>>       >  Dear Sayamindu Dasgupta, SJ Klein and other members of this list,
>>>       >
>>>       >  I'm a student of electrical engineering from Europe and would
>>>      like to share
>>>       >  with you my very positive experience with text to speech
>>>      technology that can
>>>       >  in my opinion significantly increase the educational potential of
>>>      XO if used
>>>       >  in the right way.
>>>       >
>>>       >  For the past 12 years (since I was 15 years old) I'm daily
>>>      learning from
>>>       >  e-books and internet using text to speech software. I know this
>>>      software is
>>>       >  unpopular in developed world, many people don't even know that it
>>>      exists. On
>>>       >  the other hand many people (including me) don't like reading long
>>>      texts on
>>>       >  the LCD screens - that's why e-books are also not very popular.
>>>       >
>>>       >  But unlike my friends I read 50+ e-books every ear and also daily
>>>      news on
>>>       >  the internet - I just select the text, copy it, and CoolSpeech
>>>      software
>>>       >  (using Mary voice) reads me all the text with speeds 300 to 500
>>>      words per
>>>       >  minute. In this way I can browse other sites or look at photos or
>>>      just lay
>>>       >  down and listen while my laptop is reading to me.
>>>       >  Other people don't understand what I'm reading because it is too
>>>      fast for
>>>       >  them but it can be learned quickly with slower speeds at beginning.
>>>       >
>>>       >  I think XO laptops should definitely have such software
>>>      pre-installed and a
>>>       >  video introduction how to use it and what reading speeds can they
>>>      expect
>>>       >  after some time of practicing.
>>>       >  It is also ideal for children with poor eye sight.
>>>       >
>>>      This sounds awesome. Could you let us know if the text to speech
>>>      software you have in mind is free/opensource and if it works on Linux
>>>      ?
>>>      I am also looking at DTBooks specifications for digital talking books
>>>      - do you know how useful/widespread this technology is ?
>>>      Thanks,
>>>      Sayamindu
>>>      --
>>>      Sayamindu Dasgupta
>>>      [http://sayamindu.randomink.org/ramblings]
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> --
> Dr. Andreas Gros
> Pettenkoferstr. 23
> 80336 München
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Sayamindu Dasgupta

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