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Re: SMIL text and audio

From: Mike Burks <mburks952@worldnet.att.net>
Date: Fri, 6 Mar 1998 09:37:16 -0500
To: "Charles McCathieNevile" <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>, "Al Gilman" <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <01bd490d$5c4e9be0$3423450c@mike-b>
I agree with Charles about the cheapest option, at least to begin with.  The
fact is that before audio cards improved, the cost of a screen reader was
much higher in terms of the equipment needed to make it work.  Is the price
dropping on technology?  Of course it is, but this has to be measured in
terms of the money available in any particular culture.  Americans in
particular have to tune themselves into this.  We need to take a look at the
overall situation in an area or country and make our decisions based on
that, not on what is available in our culture alone.


Mike Burks

The opinions expressed here are my own and are not necessarily those of my

-----Original Message-----
From: Charles McCathieNevile <charlesn@sunrise.srl.rmit.edu.au>
To: Al Gilman <asgilman@access.digex.net>
Cc: w3c-wai-ig@w3.org <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Date: Friday, March 06, 1998 9:09 AM
Subject: Re: SMIL text and audio

>People always have to settle for the level of technology they can afford.
>For many of us, that means buying the least we can possibly survive with
>- it is not about being physically disabled, but financially - if I can
>make do with what someone else throws away I will be able to use the web,
>if not I cannot afford it at all.
>And speech does not help deaf people in the slightest. As audio
>technology improves, one part that improves is speech synthesis.
>Australian deaf people, as I understand it, learn Auslan as their first
>language - the Australian sign language. It has a grammar and vocabulary
>different to english, which they learn as a second language. Since that
>is the first language tey are likely to encounter, they are already at a
>disadvantage. If it is sent around as audio, and the have to rely on a
>piece of equipment that they have no other use for to make the files go
>back to text, they are likely to be left further and further out.
>In the world out there cost is a real factor. As Asia increas its online
>presece, it will be a bigger factor - currently Vietnam is said to have
>3000 computers, it got ISPs in December, and there are 70 million people
>there. The amount of money they have to invest in technology solutions
>for blind people, deaf people, or any other group is limited, and the
>cheapest option has to be shown to be functionally inferior before it can
>be rejected. That includes the case where one person can have the 'best'
>or lots of people can have something that works better than nothing.
>(Sorry if I'm harping on - if so tell me to shut up)
>Charles McCathieNevile
>Sunrise Research Laboratory
>RMIT University
>On Thu, 5 Mar 1998, Al Gilman wrote:
>> Charles McCN has given us an interesting post on the "business
>> case."  What do others think?  I have just inserted my working
>> draft of technology futures in the area Charles touches on.
>> to follow up on what Charles McCathieNevile said:
>> > As I understand it, it is currently a lot easier and more efficient to
>> > transmit text which is converted to audio than vice versa. The
>> > deaf-blind, and those of us who are stuck with text-only would probably
>> > really appreciate this sort of approach to the technology - speech
>> > recognition is possible, but is also expensive in terms of the hardware
>> > and software required by an ordinary person. It seems that text will
>> > always be ahead of it in price, and easier to transmit, with the work
>> > conversion to audio done by client-side applications.
>> AG::
>> Text is cheaper to send but that cost is decreasing rapidly.
>> Audio is much easier on the ear.  Synthetic speech is grueling to
>> listen to for any length of time.
>> > The point is that somebody watching a video is likely to have a
>> > sound-capable system. Somebody reading the text on an embossing
>> > or small slow computer is more likely not to have access to the sound,
>> > let alone the additional system requirements to converty it to text.
>> AG::
>> It's cheaper today to set up for speech than Braille, and people
>> are investing madly in the ability to bring that audio capability
>> to market at lower and lower prices.  Audio access devices are
>> the telephone and walkman; these are cheap.  It's the computer
>> that is expensive, not the audio.
>> Computers will catch up.  The disabled should not let themselves
>> settle into a backwater of un-supported technology.
>> Al Gilman
Received on Friday, 6 March 1998 09:34:04 UTC

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