Emacspeak-98 Release Notes
For Immediate Release
Interactive Accessibility Provides Speech-Enabled WebTop
What Is It?
Emacspeak is a fully functional audio desktop that
provides complete eyes-free access to all major open
32 and 64 bit operating systems. By seamlessly
blending all aspects of the Internet such as
Web-surfing and electronic messaging into the audio
desktop, Emacspeak enables speech access to local
and remote information with a consistent and
well-integrated user interface.
+ Preliminary support for the recently released Emacs 20.
- Usability enhancements including:
- Smart prefix recognition
- Flexible customization of dictionaries
- Pause and resume
- Lazy voice-lock for faster audio formatting
- Enhanced outline support
- Support for games including gomoku and tetris.
- Better support for running remote sessions.
- Supports many additional major modes.
Emacspeak-98 (Labrador) is a major upgrade to the
speech output extension to Emacs. Emacspeak-95 (code
named Illinois) was released 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 goes further by
integratingInternetWorking into all aspects of the
audio desktop to provide the first fully interactive
Visit Emacspeak at http://cs.cornell.edu/home/raman
--You can also pick up emacspeak via anonymous ftp from
You can subscribe to the emacspeak mailing list
firstname.lastname@example.org by sending mail to the list
greg e. priest-dorman.
Based at Cornell (NY)
--home to some of
the most innovative auditory interfaces on the WWW--
Emacspeak is mirrored world-wide by an international
netwrok of software archives. The Emacspeak mailing
list is archived at
Vassar --the home of the Emacspeak mailing list--
thanks to Greg Priest-Dorman.
Press/Analyst Contact: Aster Labrador
CopyWrite )C( Aster Labrador. All Writes Reserved.
Labrador (DM) Is A Registered Dogmark of Aster Labrador.
What Is New?
- Pause And Resume
- Emacspeak-98 implements an extremely responsive
pause/resume feature. With this, you can now
have Emacspeak-98 speak large documents and
easily pause and resume speech. When speech is
paused, you can move around the document, read
words, lines and characters and then resume
speech where you left off.
- Emacspeak-98 supports the newly released Emacs
20.2. I have been using emacspeak with emacs 20 for
about a month now.
- Versions of the Emacs W3 WWW browser
beyond W3 3.0.86 are difficult to install under a
default Emacs 19.34 setup. If you plan to use later
releases of W3 --I use W3 4.0-- you should first
upgrade to Emacs 20.2
- CC Mode
- Newer versions of Barry Warsaw's CC-mode
(5.xx) are bundled with Emacs 20.2 and
later. Emacspeak supports this fully, and you get
support for C++, java etc. with a unified
interface. Once again, installing cc-mode 5.xx under
a default emacs-19.34 installation may be difficult
due to conflicts with older versions of the custom
- Hiding Blocks
- Emacspeak-98 has a flexible mechanism to allow you to hide
and expose blocks of text where a
block of text is a
sequence of lines with a common prefix. This is extremely
useful when reading conversation threads in email, browsing
through source code with many lines commented out etc.
- You can now define pronunciations that are local to a
buffer. Such definitions are temporary and not written out
to the Emacspeak dictionary.
- Defining Pronunciations
- You can now use the contents of current
region as the default when defining dictionary
entries. Also see command
- Mobile Desktop
- In conjunction with screen (available
Emacspeak-98 provides you with a powerful
I routinely run Emacspeak under Screen
3.7.4 on my Sun workstation
and attach to the running Screen session
from my laptop. Once attached,
The Emacspeak session running under
Screen on the Sun connects to a speech
server (see below) on my laptop.
Thus, you get the same effect as setting
your X Display to point to your local
machine with the added advantage of being
able to use a single session from
- Remote Sessions
- Emacspeak-98 now lets you run a remote speech server to have
speech output from a remote Emacspeak session go to your
Prior versions of Emacspeak did this by launching the speech
server via an RSH (remote shell) command --this was
difficult to use when using DHCP (Dynamic IP)--
e.g. when you connect via PPP and get a
different hostname each time.
Emacspeak-98 now lets you communicate
with the remote speech server via a TCP socket --see
the notes in file remote.txt in the Emacspeak
- TAR And ZIP Archives
- Emacspeak now speech-enables the various
modes for dealing with compressed archives.
- Enriched Text
- Emacspeak-98 provides audio formatted
output for the various modes that use
Enriched-Text. This means that if you receive
mime-encoded email with richtext, the messages will
be automatically audio formatted as they are decoded.
- Buffer Indices
- Emacspeak-98 speech-enables package imenu
to provide context-sensitive buffer indices for easy
navigation. A W3 addon w3-imenu.el (part of the
contrib code in Emacs W3) uses this feature to enable
navigation around W3 buffers --so now you can open a
WWW page and move through the various sections with a
- Abbrev Mode
- Abbrev-mode is now speech-enabled so you
hear the expansion of the abbreviation instead of the
abbrev you typed in.
- Outline Mode
- Emacspeak-98 extends outline mode with
interactive commands that let you browse through the
various outline levels. Check out commands
emacspeak-outline-speak-next-heading and friends.
- Lazy Voice Lock
- Lazy voice-locking speeds up
voiceification (aural syntax coloring or audio
formatting based on syntax) by only voiceifying parts
of the buffer that are currently being displayed.
- Emacspeak-98 speech-enables Emacs'
bookmark feature. This allows you to mark positions
in documents and return to them in later sessions.
- Remote Auditory Displays
- Emacspeak-98 can use a remote auditory
display to produce both speech and auditory icons on
a local desktop while running on a remote machine.
- You can make up for the time Emacspeak
saves you with its productive interface by playing
the following games:
- Check this out --tetris itself is
not bundled with Emacs-- but it is a fun game to play
- I've not managed to beat Emacs at
this game --the best I have been able to do is to
- Not the card game-- but the board
game known as HiQ in North America and as Solitaire
Here is a link to the release notes for the previous major release,
Last modified: Mon Nov 10 21:05:17 1997