Re: Type N Speak Info Needed


David Goldfield
 

Mike,

I feel very conflicted with what I'm about to say as I loved working for Blazie Engineering and its products and was extremely loyal to them. Back in the 1990s people were very used to more robotic voices. Yes, even back then customers wanted to see a better voice in the Blazie product line but they still accepted the voice that came with it. I think that, once this lady hears modern speech she may have a challenging time adapting to the TNS's voice. In all honesty it might be better finding a refurbished VoiceNote from Humanware or getting her a laptop from Computers for the Blind.

Their laptops come with JAWS which is free for the first year. If she's new to computers you could purchase Leasey Total, which is designed for people who want or need a simple, menu-driven interface for their computer.

My other concern is the lack of support for the TNS. Who will assist her if she runs into a problem? Not many people know the commands to use it and I don't know if Freedom Scientific provides technical support for it these days, although you could ask them. It won't be able to go online with today's technology. In order to back up her documents she will either need the external disk drive accessory which was made for it or a computer. I normally wouldn't talk somebody out of purchasing a refurbished Blazie Engineering product. There are many people who would love to purchase a Braille 'n Speak, Type 'n Speak or Braille Lite. For people who know how to use it and who can support themselves and who are willing to pay for it I think that's fabulous, in the same way that many people would love to buy old Apple 2 computers or other similar products. I just don't know if I'd recommend it for a woman who has little experience with blindness assistive technology considering the lack of support. At least if she buys an older Humanware product she can likely get help from Humanware if she has questions or problems. Even buying a refurbished Pac Mate might be a better choice. With a Windows laptop she can easily get support from a variety of sources. Others may disagree with me and that's OK but I just wanted to add my perspective to this before she commits to using it.





David Goldfield,
Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist
JAWS Certified, 2019

WWW.DavidGoldfield.org
On 2/26/2020 8:04 PM, Mike B wrote:

Hi David,
 
Thank you very much for this information, it'll help a lot.  This lady has never used any kind of synthesized voice, other than the talking clock I gave her, so I don't know how I'm going to show her how synthesized voices sound.  Oh wait, I can take her my wife's laptop and let her listen to Jaws!  Thanks again.

Take care.  Mike.  Sent from my iBarstool.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 4:50 PM
Subject: Re: [TechTalk] Type N Speak Info Needed

Mike,

The Type 'n Speak was produced by Blazie Engineering in the 1990s. I used to work for Blazie Engineering and I am, therefore, very familiar with this product and so I'll try to answer all of your questions to the best of my ability.

The TNS does have its own speaker, as well as a standard 3.5 headphone jack. I can't remember the name of the actual speech chip but voice parameters can be altered, such as pitch, rate, volume and tone. Its voice is rather robotic compared to today's speech synthesizers, even Eloquence, and this could be the one challenge this woman might have although we were all used to it back in the day.

You can find a manual for it at the above link.


David Goldfield,
Blindness Assistive Technology Specialist
JAWS Certified, 2019

WWW.DavidGoldfield.org
On 2/26/2020 6:51 PM, Mike B wrote:
Hi All,
 
I don't know much of anything about the Type N Speaks, other than you can save notes, documents address books...
 
I'm looking into purchasing 1 for an elderly lady that could use something like this for her personal files and such.  Can anyone answer the following questions please?
 
Does the Type N Speak have its own speakers, or will speakers need to be provided as well?  And do the speakers use a, 3.5 MM, plug / port if necessary?
 
What speech synthesizer does it use?  Also, Can the synthesizer settings be tweaked much like JAWS & NVDA?
 
All input will be greatly appreciated.  Thanks much.

 
Take care.  Mike.  Sent from my iBarstool.

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