1. 32
  1. 2

    I listened to the 450 WPM samples a few times and couldn’t make a single word out. Is there some trick to understanding it, or does it just take a lot of practice?

    1. 3

      Incrementally increase the WPM, specifically using a text to speech tool. I started at 2x and worked my way up from there and while I’m not at his level I’m certainly close.

      1. 3

        I guess gradually increasing the speed could do the trick. Once you get used to a particular pronounciation, it’s probably similar to reading in that you process entire words or combinations of words instead of individual glyphs. Here, you would recognize “sound” of a word, which may be completely different from the normal speech.

        He also doesn’t mention when he lost his sight. Learning this at young age is definitely a whole lot easier. It’s still amazing, though.

        1. 3

          Playing it at 20% speed doesn’t help either. Would somebody translate a few lines from the beginning, please?

          curl "https://www.vincit.fi/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/essample.mp3?_=4" | mpv --speed 0.2 -

          1. 1

            On mobile so I can’t check the files you sent - but I think the first sample is actually Finnish, not English.

            The second sample actually has some words I can follow, but god help me if I get more than one or two syllables off… I can’t get the words back even when reading the paragraph.

          2. 2

            Suppose it’s the practice propped by the lack of visual channel, primary for most people otherwise.

          3. 2

            proper indentation helps me just as much as it does a sighted programmer

            What indentation method (2 spaces, 4 spaces, tabs) is best for screen reader software?

            (honest question)

            1. 3

              Blind programmers can work with a variety of indentation conventions. If you ever have a blind programmer on your team, you should expect them to follow the established convention.

              You should even insist on it, and not feel bad about it. One time, many years ago, my employer at the time hired a blind programmer to help out with some web development in PHP. (Hey, it was 2002.) We were a tiny company, so we mainly cared that the work got done at all. But he didn’t indent his code at all. I didn’t say anything about it. I later came to regret that I had let that happen. I have since worked with other blind programmers who will indent their code properly without being compelled to do so.

              1. 2

                I suspect the answer is the obvious and boring one: whatever is configured in the editor is read out by TTS as “indent” (and/or shown in braille as the corresponding empty space.)

              2. 1

                Me and cmb, who work at your friendly neighborhood hosting provider, gave a presentation on accessibility at SCALE17x: https://youtu.be/FvrQPdt1X30 The screen capture didn’t come out quite right, but if you’re an open source maintainer, I would love for you to listen.

                1. 1

                  Very interesting article. I’ve always wondered how it works. Keep on fighting!

                  BTW: What about emulators or text-in-image in general? Can the reader somehow pick that up? I’ve seen some OCR-based readers, so that’s why I ask.

                  1. 2

                    Some screen readers can take a screenshot and run it through OCR. Note, though, that this has to be done on a discrete screenshot, not continuously as you use the application. Also, while OCR can detect text, it generally doesn’t convey the structure of a screen, nor things like highlight or cursor position that are crucial to understanding the state of a non-trivial UI. So, OCR is quite helpful for identifying an individual unlabeled UI element, but rarely enough to navigate a whole UI that isn’t otherwise accessible.

                    Since you mentioned emulators, though, check out Pokémon Crystal Access, by a blind hacker friend of mine. He hacked a GameBoy emulator to make Pokémon Crystal accessible.

                    1. 1

                      Thank you for your reply. Yeah, I was worried about this. By emulators, I mostly ment virtualization, but I just realized you could use qemu -nographic to have output in a terminal. So as long as your reader can deal with the terminal, it would work without the OCR.

                      1. 1

                        Yes, screen readers on all major platforms can read the terminal. Some are better at it than others. In particular, VoiceOver on macOS doesn’t provide a very good user experience in the terminal, so the same blind programmer that did the Pokémon Crystal Access project also wrote tdsr, a screen reader for Unix terminal environments (using a pty), so he could have a better screen reader in the macOS terminal.

                        As for virtualization programs, the OCR capabilities of screen readers are sometimes useful with programs that don’t have something like qemu’s -nographic option, like VMware Workstation or VirtualBox, so a blind person can read what’s on the VM’s console or even muddle through an OS installation process.

                        1. 1

                          VirtualBox has virtualized serial ports which can be used with any text-based installer: https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch03.html#serialports . Many distributions don’t release ISOs for a serial console, but you can remaster the ISO to add the command line options for it, or use a netboot installer directly. The “extra.install” key in https://github.com/prgmrcom/prgmr-image-source/blob/master/distros/distros.cfg shows what that the extra command line options are for a few distributions.