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Using Speech

From: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics

Video: Using Speech

The Mac has the ability to obey some spoken commands as well as speak text on the screen. These capabilities are controlled within the Speech System Preference. Now before we get started, understand that speech recognition is not the same thing as dictation. Speech recognition will try to issue commands based on what you say, but it won't transcribe what you say. For that you need a program like Mac's Speeches Dictate. With a microphone attached to your Mac and it configured as the input, enable the Speakable Items option. This little lozenge here with Escape in it appears.

Using Speech

The Mac has the ability to obey some spoken commands as well as speak text on the screen. These capabilities are controlled within the Speech System Preference. Now before we get started, understand that speech recognition is not the same thing as dictation. Speech recognition will try to issue commands based on what you say, but it won't transcribe what you say. For that you need a program like Mac's Speeches Dictate. With a microphone attached to your Mac and it configured as the input, enable the Speakable Items option. This little lozenge here with Escape in it appears.

When you want to tell your Mac to do something, hold down the Esc key and tell the Mac what you want. For example, "open iTunes" and there it is, there is iTunes. We will quit that. To see what your Mac will respond to, click on the bottom of the lozenge and choose Open Speech Commands Window. You can go through this list of speakable items to see what the Mac will respond to. And here is one, Tell me a joke, let's see if that works. "Tell me a joke." (Computer: "Knock, knock".) Who's there? (Computer: "Thelma.") Thelma who? (Computer: "Thelma your soul").

Ha, Ha, Ha. If speech recognition doesn't seem to be working very well- and I kind of test it sometimes, it doesn't- press the Calibrate button. At this point speak able items will try to calibrate the mike, so there it works with Speech Recognition. For example, I would say, "What time is it?" When it is successful, it blinks to let me know that it understood what I said or I could try "Quit this Application", and once again I get the blink and that shows that I am reasonably well calibrated.

If these things are not being set off, you can adjust the slider to low-to-high. If you see things way up in the red that means you are probably hitting it too hard and Speech Recognition could have a hard time understanding what you are saying. We cancel out of that. If you would like to pretend that you are on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, you can select Listen continuously with keyword. What this means is that you speak a special keyword before you say your command and then the computer will listen. So for example I say "Computer, open iTunes" and sure enough it works.

We will go back to the Esc key, because that's the one I prefer and we will turn it off, so it doesn't respond when I don't care for it to. We now look at Text to Speech. Honestly Text to Speech is more useful than Speech Recognition particularly since Leopard now includes a computer voice that doesn't sound like it came from a bad Sci-fi movie. When you click Text to Speech, the system voice should be set to Alex. This is a new voice and one that sounds far more natural than previous voices. Press Play to audition it. (Computer: "Hi! I am a new voice for Leopard.") Now, for fun you can see what it sounded like in the old days by choosing Bruce. Play.

(Computer: "I sure like being inside this fancy computer") As much as Bruce may like that, we don't care to listen to him, we would prefer Alex instead. The options below are mostly self-explanatory; one thing that's worth while checking though is Speak selected text when the key is pressed. I am going to choose Control+F9. Now when I press this key combination, the Mac should read my text and let's find out if it does. I am going to open up a text file and there it is.

I will select that text and I press Control+F9. (Computer: "Speak the speech I pray you, but before you do, don't forget to pick up a gallon of milk at the store.") Thank you very much, Alex, I will get that milk, and that text had to be selected. However, within TextEdit, you find that it has its own speech option and I don't have to select text for that. I deselect it, I go to Edit, Speech, Start Speaking.

(Computer: "Speak the speech I pray you, but before you do, don't forget to pick up a gallon of milk at the store.") And not all applications support speech, but some do, so it's worth looking around if you like to have speech read to you to see if your application has that option. We will close TextEdit, and we finished with speech and we'll close it as well.

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Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard Beyond the Basics

76 video lessons · 26675 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
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  1. 2m 34s
    1. Welcome
      2m 34s
  2. 7m 20s
    1. Getting settled into the interface
      3m 47s
    2. Moving more quickly on your Mac
      3m 33s
  3. 18m 44s
    1. Changing languages with the International system preference
      7m 28s
    2. Adding security with the Security system preference
      5m 30s
    3. Configuring a firewall with the Security system preference
      5m 46s
  4. 28m 26s
    1. Adding a Bluetooth device with the Bluetooth system preference
      4m 6s
    2. Configuring your display with the Displays system preference
      6m 46s
    3. Configuring your input devices with the Keyboard & Mouse system preference
      5m 43s
    4. Printing and faxing with the Print & Fax system preference
      8m 15s
    5. Setting the Sound system preference
      3m 36s
  5. 35m 18s
    1. Setting up your MobileMe account with the system preference pane
      8m 36s
    2. Configuring your network connection with the Network system preference
      15m 46s
    3. Sharing your computer with the Sharing system preference
      10m 56s
  6. 41m 33s
    1. Understanding the Accounts system preference
      5m 46s
    2. Creating a new account with the Accounts system preference
      5m 31s
    3. Limiting access with the Parental Controls system preference
      10m 18s
    4. Updating your Mac with the Software Update system preference
      3m 54s
    5. Using Speech
      4m 19s
    6. Changing your startup disk with the Startup Disk system preference
      3m 17s
    7. The Universal Access system preference: The basics
      5m 44s
    8. The Universal Access system preference: VoiceOver
      2m 44s
  7. 33m 14s
    1. Tweaking your account settings
      6m 53s
    2. Organizing and viewing messages
      3m 30s
    3. Filtering mail with Rules
      11m 45s
    4. Importing and exporting mail
      3m 52s
    5. Mail tips
      7m 14s
  8. 14m 2s
    1. Creating complex iCal events
      4m 17s
    2. Publishing and subscribing to calendars
      4m 39s
    3. Importing and exporting calendars
      1m 47s
    4. Expanding iCal
      3m 19s
  9. 18m 55s
    1. Creating complex contacts
      4m 22s
    2. Importing, exporting, and sharing contacts
      5m 10s
    3. Organizing with Groups and Smart Groups
      7m 15s
    4. Printing from your Address Book
      2m 8s
  10. 17m 17s
    1. Doing more with Bookmarks
      3m 27s
    2. Covering your tracks
      3m 26s
    3. Working locally
      3m 54s
    4. Expanding Safari with Saft and PithHelmet
      6m 30s
  11. 54m 3s
    1. Monitoring your computer with Activity Monitor
      8m 31s
    2. Configuring an airport base station with Airport Utility
      4m 10s
    3. Configuring manual settings on an airport base station
      6m 16s
    4. Copying files with Bluetooth File Exchange
      2m 36s
    5. Setting up a partition with Boot Camp Assistant
      2m 36s
    6. Console
      5m 40s
    7. Storing your passwords with Keychain Assistant
      3m 45s
    8. Using keychain access for more than just passwords
      4m 22s
    9. Transferring user accounts with Migration Assistant
      4m 0s
    10. Monitoring your network with Network Utility
      6m 43s
    11. Using System Profiler
      5m 24s
  12. 23m 3s
    1. Understanding Disk Utility
      2m 18s
    2. Verify and repairing with Disk Utility
      3m 14s
    3. Formatting and partitioning with Disk Utility
      4m 28s
    4. Configuring a RAID with Disk Utility
      4m 13s
    5. Creating disk images with Disk Utility
      5m 34s
    6. Burning CDs with Disk Utility
      3m 16s
  13. 18m 18s
    1. Introducing the Terminal
      1m 36s
    2. Essential Terminal commands
      9m 58s
    3. Using the manuals
      1m 20s
    4. More useful Terminal commands
      5m 24s
  14. 7m 9s
    1. Changing permissions
      4m 27s
    2. Enabling the root user
      2m 42s
  15. 19m 18s
    1. Automator essentials
      1m 18s
    2. Creating an Automator workflow
      6m 52s
    3. Mailing images easily
      2m 42s
    4. Creating a timed backup system
      3m 10s
    5. Playing songs randomly from iTunes
      2m 27s
    6. Recording automation
      2m 49s
  16. 16m 13s
    1. Using the Calculator
      3m 16s
    2. Using Font Book
      3m 25s
    3. Importing and managing fonts in Font Book
      5m 1s
    4. Syncing your devices with iSync
      4m 31s
  17. 20m 13s
    1. Keeping your computer healthy
      8m 15s
    2. Using Disk Warrior
      3m 41s
    3. Using Onyx
      8m 17s
  18. 22s
    1. Goodbye
      22s

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