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new browsing access: [Fwd: [The vOICe] GIF support and Internet Access]

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 14:37:09 -0500
Message-ID: <3808D3E5.C3DED34B@clark.net>
To: WAI User Agent Working Group <w3c-wai-ua@w3.org>
You'll see in this message that there is now a browsing component
specifically for sonification of images and loading web pages.  I have
yet to look it over but will report as soon as I do.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [The vOICe] GIF support and Internet Access
Date: Sat, 16 Oct 1999 07:08:43 +0200
From: peter.b.l.meijer@philips.com
Reply-To: seeingwithsound@egroups.com
To: <seeingwithsound@egroups.com>

Hi All,

The latest version 1.34 of The vOICe Learning Edition
now supports reading GIF image files, thus adding to the
existing support for BMP images and JPEG images (the 
latter through the optional add-on). You can now import 
GIF images in the usual way via the file requester that
pops up after pressing Control O, or by traversing the 
File menu.

GIF images involve a compression scheme that is patented
by Unisys, so I needed a Unisys license in order to 
legally provide GIF support. David Poehlman deserves all 
the credit for negotiating a license with Unisys. Without
David's efforts, there would have been no GIF support,
and I am certain that I would have failed where he has
succeeded. This is a perfect example of how representatives
from the blind user community can make a real difference
in the development of their own assistive technology. 
Thank you, David! Developers and users can indeed help
each other to move forward toward the goals of universal

The new GIF support includes support for animated GIFs,
by sounding the individual image frames of an animated 
GIF as a looping sequence of soundscapes.

Now with GIF support available, we have covered the two
most popular image formats used on the Internet: GIF and
JPEG. The next logical step was to enable sonification 
of images on the web, by sounding any images contained 
in web pages. This too has become possible with the latest
version of The vOICe Learning Edition. It has a built-in
sonification browser that lets you enter the URL of an
image file or a web page. When you press Control U, a  new
Internet Access dialog pops up that lets you enter a URL. 
If you enter an image URL, this image will be downloaded 
to your current working directory and then automatically 
sonified. If you enter a web page URL, The vOICe will parse
the page and make a list of images and links in another
edit box within this dialog. After tabbing to that edit 
box, you can use the up and down arrow keys, as well as 
the page up and page down keys, to move through the list. 
Pressing ENTER on any line will cause the corresponding
item to be loaded. If it was a reference to an image file, 
it will be downloaded to your current working directory
and sonified. If it was a link to yet another web page, 
this new web page will be loaded, thus resulting in a 
new list. The list of items is always organized such that
one line gives the filename (preceeded by an item count)
and the next line gives a further file description, if 
available. For instance, in case of an image, the image
filename on one line is followed by the ALT tag description
of the image on the next line. In case of a link, the link
text is normally displayed on the second line.

The Back and Forward buttons (Alt+b and Alt+f) in the dialog
can be used to move back and forth among web page URLs much
like in a regular browser. Note, however, that you have to 
press ENTER to activate the currently selected web page URL.
Also note that The vOICe browsers does not handle or render
the text of a web page. For that you should use a regular
browser in conjunction with your screen reader: The vOICe
jumps in where regular browser accessibility ends.

A nice example web page to try is the home page of the
Whitehouse at http://www.whitehouse.gov/ which has both
GIF and JPEG images.

A preliminary new web page describing The vOICe Internet 
Sonification Browser is


The vOICe Learning Edition version 1.34 executable voice.exe
(400 K file size) can be downloaded directly from one of the


As always, my main focus and interest will remain on using a 
camera with live environmental scenery, but disclosing other 
channels of visual information should further underline the 
generality of The vOICe approach.

Best wishes,

Peter Meijer

Soundscapes from The vOICe - Seeing with your Ears!

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Received on Saturday, 16 October 1999 14:37:26 UTC

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