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Use Speakable Items to navigate Safari by voice Web Browsers
Have you tried the Speakable Items lately - on a Mac, of course? Turn on Speakable Items in the System Preferences (the microphone) in X, and you can ask your Mac the classic question "What time is it?" and it will come back to you with the exact time. There's a whole lot of other commands in the speech commands window, which you open by clicking the little arrow at the bottom of the nifty round speech feedback window. Or you can just say: 'Open Speech Commands Window!' and it will open. But you can also make applications speakable. How?

Open Safari. Say: 'Make this application speakable'. Then say: 'Define keyboard command'. A window will open, and you hit the keyboard combination for a shortcut, let's say Command-left arrow. Write the command: 'Back'. Save. Now you can not only say the default window commands like: Move page up, move page down, move page to top, move page to bottom, but also 'back', and you will see Safari go back to the last page you visited. Now, say 'Define keyboard command' again, and this time hit command-right arrow and write: 'Next, please' (this works for me, forward doesn't). Now you can go back and forth in Safari with your voice.

The urls in the menu bar each have a command+1, command+2 and so on for nine favorite places you often go to. Now make these places speakable! Whoa! Mac rules! Safari rules! And, of course: Command-Alt-P: 'back to basics' (the new Safari command to go back to the mother site). Instead of 'back to basics' you can also say: 'back to the mother ship. It's your choice! And Command-Alt-S: 'back to search' (the new Safari command to go back to the search results you started with). And Command-Alt-B: 'Navigate' (my choice) will bring the bookmarks on/off. Nifty!

[Editor's note: You can, of course, use Speakable Items with other applications ... but people often overlook this feature, so I thought it was worth a mention, and the Safari context seemed timely...]
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Use Speakable Items to navigate Safari by voice | 9 comments | Create New Account
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Doesn't understand me...
Authored by: signals on Jan 16, '03 12:00:57PM

Ok, I've followed the directions, enabled speech control, and gotten the round microphone window. I can hold down Esc and speak into my powerbook's internal microphone and the green bars bounce and I get the arrows by the microphone in the round window. I've tried "What time is it?" "Open Sherlock." and a whole slew of others. It is obviously detecting that I'm speaking to it, it just doesn't seem to understand any of my commands.

Could this be because I have a faily deep speaking voice or something? Or am I just doing something wrong?


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Doesn't understand me...
Authored by: davidcrickett on Jan 16, '03 01:46:12PM
Have you tried System preferences/Speech/Listening(tab)/volume(button). Here you can rehearse to see if speech gets your message, and adjust the volume, too. Remember, you can also set the prefs to 'key toggles listening on/off' and name: 'Fred' (duh!) and name is:'required 15 seconds after last command', then you don't have to press any button before speaking, you can just say 'Fred' and the command. See Talk to your Mac for further explanation. I can talk my Mac through anything. See, no hands! :-)

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Doesn't understand me...
Authored by: davidcrickett on Jan 16, '03 01:55:19PM

Oh, and one more thing... ;-) Your internal microphone may not be the best one. I've tried with mine, and it didn't work out very well. It picked up a lot of noise from the computer, it sounded like I was speaking sitting in a Lancaster over Germany 1942. Get an eternal mike, and you're up and running, I'm using my sons cheap everyday pc microphone.

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Speakable Items Wrecked...
Authored by: mac_guy on Jan 16, '03 02:19:51PM

I have an iMac G4 (640MB). I've tried the unusual system software that comes with Jaguar: Ink & Speakable Items. Ink isn't useful. Speakable Items is (but for one big flaw). I didn't buy a microphone, the internal one worked well; but it's quiet where I use my iMac. I wrote my own applescripts, put them in the Speakable Items folder (and created new folders for other applications). And it all worked better than I'd ever seen with OS8 or OS9. It was a real joy to speak the name of my custom scripts to run those scripts while working on something else.

But then it all started to go wrong. Each day the computer became more unstable, the Finder especially: disappearing icons, inexplicable bitjunk in windows, crashes that'd occur a few seconds after any window was opened. I searched the web, tried lots of fixes, and none worked. Then I turned off Speakable Items and the problems went away.

oh, well. Maybe someday this 'talking to one's computer' will work.

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Speakable Items Wrecked...
Authored by: prk on Jan 16, '03 06:26:07PM

I had the same problem with my wife's iMac. When speakable items was turned on, the system became very unstable. The Dock was getting all whacked and applications were crashing. I turned it off and things went back to normal.

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Speakable Items Wrecked (possible solution)
Authored by: bluehz on Jan 16, '03 11:58:09PM

What you guys may be experiencing is a known bug. I was testing this hint today and found that every time I had speakable items enabled and then switched to the Finder - the Finder would crash. Quite by accident I found the solution in an Apple discussion. There appears to be some odd interaction between Speakable items and some features of Universal Access. If you are having problems with Speakable Items and instability - you might try opening the Universal Access prefpane and disabling the "Enable Access for Assistive Devices" checkbox at the bottom of the "Seeing" tab. Once I disabled that - all the problems I had with Speakable items disappeared.

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System in other language than programs.. in what language should i talk to my mac?
Authored by: giaguara on Jan 16, '03 04:40:28PM

So far my OS X is in italian. And Safari and Chimera are inEnglish. If i would able that talking thing .... should i teach my mac in Italian or English? Probably to command it i'd use whatever i see or think first - "avanti" or "forward" .. I hate the translated mac terminology so before i'd try that i guess i'll better switch my system to English to avoid more headache.

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System in other language than programs.. in what language should i talk to my mac?
Authored by: davidcrickett on Jan 17, '03 03:21:04AM

You can only speak to your Mac in english.

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Works for me now.
Authored by: signals on Jan 17, '03 11:06:10AM

> preferences/Speech/Listening(tab)/volume(button)

That did it. I had to turn the gain down on the mic there. I had already done it on the sound preferences, but I didn't know that screen was there. Thanks.

"Tell me a joke."


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