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Posts published in “Accessibility”

Open Source Adapted Bicycle Pedal Comes to the Rescue

Accessibility has always been important to designers of open source software. Now that open source has come to design, that’s more true than ever, as demonstrated with this open source bicycle pedal.

The Screening Room

Bicycle

Smart engineering students at Brigham Young University have devised an open source solution that extends the joy of bicycle riding to some who otherwise would not experience that joy. Watch this heartwarming story in this short video.

Endless OS 3: Linux for the Net Less

This Ubuntu-based Linux distribution provides the Internet for those who don’t have 24×7 access to the net.

In the West, we take the Internet for granted. Oh, we may grumble about a slow connection, but that’s a first-world problem. For many, however, the Internet is a “maybe” thing. For those users, Endless’s Endless OS 3, may be just what they need.

Endless OS GNOME desktop
Endless OS uses a heavily modified GNOME Shell desktop.

This Ubuntu Linux-based operating system is designed for use with the “Asynchronous Internet.”

Steven J. Vaughan-NicholsSteven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writes about Linux and FOSS for ZDNet and other publications.

Getting FOSS Text-to-Speech App Ready for Prime Time

The Heart of Linux

The lead developer of a new text-to-speech app based on MaryTTS talks about what’s been done and what remains to do.

It’s been a while now since we talked about creating a front end GUI to the open source text-to-speech program, MaryTTS. I have a personal stake in this, as I lost my larynx, and thus my voice, due to throat cancer.

FOSS text-to-speech front end
The front end of the new user interface for MaryTTS, a text-to-speech solution.

The state of text-to-speech software in the Linuxsphere is horrible. Don’t get me wrong, the software is out there and much of it is fairly good. Where we fall down is that it requires using the command line to get much of it to work. Often TTS software in Linux comes in parts and pieces that have to be assembled in order to get it to work, and the terminal is where most of that work needs to be done.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

Heal Thyself: Medical & Health Related FOSS

Recently we’ve written on FOSS Force about the progress that Ken Starks’ front end for MaryTTS, temporarily named “SpeechLess,” has made in being released as beta software. When we last looked, Ken had assembled a three-man team to create a GUI for the speech program and, to quote him from his item, “it has come along nicely.”

Open Sequencer logoAlthough the demo is web-based, the team has been able to construct the software so the entire thing is local, meaning little or no latency between hitting enter and having the text replicated to speech.

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Linux Text to Speech Tool Reaches Beta

Although the numbers behind the name do not reflect it, the currently-named “SpeechLess” front end for MaryTTS is now being released as beta software. I was able to assemble a three man team to create a GUI and to my way of thinking, it has come along nicely. Although the demo is web-based, these guys have been able to construct it so the entire thing is local. That means little to no latency between hitting enter and having the text replicated to speech.

I’ve talked at length about how TTS in the Linuxsphere is less than user friendly at about every turn. Our goal is to create a front end that makes MaryTTS easy to use for everyone. We’re getting there.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

Turning Off the Mute Button

Anyone who has read FOSS Force for the last couple of months knows that I lost my voice to cancer and that I’ve become personally involved in getting a decent text to speech (TTS) application developed. Some of you have reminded me that there is a good assortment of text to speech applications for Linux, especially in the mobile market, such as Android and the iExperience. Granted, for both examples, but we are needing an application that can either come preinstalled or be easily installed on almost any Linux distribution. That leads us back to the plentiful choices within the Linuxsphere you feel the need to mention. Yes, there are a lot of them, but when it all gets boiled down, they all share one simple trait.

Jigsaw PuzzleNone of them even approach usability for the everyday computer user. None. And you would think that of all these choices, one of them has to work…or provides documentation reasonable enough for everyone. You would think.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

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