A Favourite for WoZ

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A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Bobinwales » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:05 pm

I had occasion to post THIS. It is an Australian publication, but uses "favorite" instead of "favourite". Is this usual WoZ?
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Wizard of Oz » Tue Jul 07, 2015 3:06 am

.. unfortunately Bob the use of Americanisms in Aus is increasing due to the widespread use of computers .. the fact that spell checkers are set to American English as the default leads to the uneducated acceptance of American spellings .. this is not helped by the parlous state of spelling education in Australian schools .. the knowledge that one can reset the language is little known .. in schools it should be the first thing taught when learning how to use the keyboard with word processors ..

.. so to answer your question Bob .. yes we do see that spelling in Aus .. oh and before the right is right crowd get on the line this is not about which spelling is historically correct it is about which spelling we in Australia choose to use .. like driving on the left-hand side of the road ..

WoZ spelling it how it is
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Bobinwales » Tue Jul 07, 2015 12:09 pm

I thought that your reply would be as it was, WoZ.

Obviously we in the UK have the same problem. It makes me wonder whether American English is the default setting for computers sold to France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. As I suspect that it is not, the question begs, "Why are ours?".
Last edited by Bobinwales on Wed Jul 08, 2015 2:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Phil White » Tue Jul 07, 2015 11:41 pm

Wizard of Oz wrote:.. this is not helped by the parlous state of spelling education in Australian schools ..
And, patently, the parlous state of punctuation education which makes life extremely difficult for some of us those of us who use screenreaders have to listen to this the problem is that the screenreader does not pause at two dots it just keeps reading as if everything is one sentence this is rather a pain in the arse.
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Jul 08, 2015 5:55 am

.. Phil being serious .. are you referring to how I choose to use two dots to write my posts?? .. I do that simply as I do not consider what I am posting here as being seriously written english but more like a stream of consciousness .. I recognise that the horizontal colon is not a formal punctuation mark but I was unaware that it interfered with my posts being legible .. I do apologise if it causes problems ..

WoZ in Aus
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Phil White » Wed Jul 08, 2015 9:21 am

I am being serious, WoZ. As I can no longer read text visually, I rely on TTS (text to speech) to read anything to me. Depending on the voice I use (I have half a dozen English ones and a couple of German ones installed), the two dots are not regarded as punctuation. To read your posts, I either have to switch to a different voice that does recognize them as full stops, or I have to copy the post out to Notepad, search and replace the two dots with a full stop and then listen to the post. Either way is tiresome.

Punctuation is actually programmed in the voices themselves. The voice I generally use for my work has been very well done. It gives me a pause at a comma, falling intonation at a full stop, rising intonation at a question mark, rising/falling intonation and a long pause at an exclamation mark and so on. It completely ignores an ellipsis or two dots, however. Other voices are nowhere near as easy to listen to all day, but they do see any punctuation as a pause. If you do not use a space before the two dots, my normal voice reads it to me with a full-stop pause. As it is, it is not a great deal of fun to listen to your posts as they stand.

Strangely, if I want to skim read something to get the gist of it, I switch from a natural voice to a fully synthesized voice (like Microsoft Anna, Stephen Hawking or the ones you get on your mobile phones) and ramp the speed up. It gabbles away to me and I can follow it pretty well. Doing that with a natural voice makes it pretty well impossible to understand. Mind you, I don't have a hope of following anything at the speeds that many blind users use to read things. It just sounds like fast-forwarding a tape to me.
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Wizard of Oz » Fri Jul 10, 2015 3:33 am

Gee Phil I'm not sure how to respond. I do enjoy writing in my informal fashion but I am very aware that being able to have you read and respond to my posts is also important to me. As I read your post I wonder about the following options.

1. Instead of using fullstops would commas work. ,, I am trying to find a mutual solution ,, maybe this will work ??
2. Placing the fullstops without a space... would this work??... or does it still cause problems...

Or is writing in normal sentence structure the only option available to me?

WoZ in Aus
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Phil White » Fri Jul 10, 2015 10:55 am

Hi WoZ,

Dropping the leading space appears to work. I hadn't thought of that. Good call!

Thanks.

Having said that, the new "teach yourself braille" course was finally published yesterday, so in a few months (or years) I may be able to savour the full joy of all that is written here.

On that note, it may be of very slight interest to some of you:

Standard 6-dot braille only provides 63 distinct characters, and as a result, a variety of different notation standards emerged for representing things like mathematical, scientific and computer science notation. American, British, Australian braille and so on all differed slightly as well, in particular in respect of the contractions used. Contracted braille is rather like shorthand, as there are distinct characters used, for instance, for "tion" and rules governing where contractions can and cannot be used. Thus, as far as I understand it, US braille had the contraction "tion", while British braille had the contraction "ation". Also, braille uses things rather like HTML tags to change the meanings of characters, for instance for switching from letters to numbers. Thus you have things like "<Capital>this is a number:<Next code applies until off code><number>abcdefghij<off code>." which reads as "This is a number:1234567890."

Back in the late 90s, it was decided to standardize English braille, and the UEB (Unified English Braille) standard was published in 2004. The UK only formally adopted it in 2011, and it has taken until now to adapt some of the teaching materials (which is what I have been waiting for). For ordinary texts, the differences between British braille and UEB are only slight (for instance, the "ation" contraction has been replaced by the "tion" contraction), but technical and mathematical braille have been quite radically changed.

One nice quirk of braille is that the "W" is not in normal alphabetical order. It comes after a bunch of standard contractions. Reason: Louis Braille was French.

I undoubtedly have some fun days ahead of me!
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Wizard of Oz » Wed Jul 15, 2015 3:58 am

Phil I never realised you were vision impaired. I once was the Assistant Superintendent at the Deaf & Blind Children's Centre in Sydney. Whilst there I was involved in making braille maps to assist in mobility training for our students. We made the map out of all kinds of odds and ends then put it through a vacuum press to make the map from "rubberised/plasticised"(?) paper. I also helped to copy the diagrams provided on passenger jets showing the emergency exits and seating plans. Mind you this was in the early 70s and I am sure things have moved on from there. I was on deck when the long cane was introduced here and made the suggestion to put a small ball on the tip to stop in catching and spearing the child using it.

I introduced drama classes for the blind kids in the residences and also dance/movement classes. I was very lucky to find a dance teacher who was happy to have the children feel her body positions as the dance unfolded. For the drama we played music and asked the kids to workshop a story that followed the music and then to act it out. Many many more anecdotes.

Ah memories, wonderful but at times depressing.

WoZ who lived on site.
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Re: A Favourite for WoZ

Post by Phil White » Wed Jul 15, 2015 9:22 am

Hi WoZ,

Thanks for that. I lost most of my sight about 4 years back. I have not been able to read printed material since then. All the new speech technologies available on computers, and nowadays smartphones, have made life much easier, and I can still work with a few restrictions. Even with a huge screen magnifier, I can only read a few letters at a time visually, which is frustrating for someone who lives and breathes the written word.

As it happens, the braille books arrived yesterday and I plunged into them. I almost wept when I read my first sentence: "My dad made me eat my tea" (after one day, I can now recognize 9 letters!). I guess it will take me a few months to be able to read Grade I braille reasonably competently and another year or so for Grade II. Grade I is uncontracted braille, in other words each written letter equates to one braille cell. Grade II is contracted braille, which is a bit like the old-fashioned shorthand. After learning to touch-type over the last couple of years, life is full of new and meaningful challenges!

Actually, braille is a dying art. I walk with a blind walking club and it is only really the older ones who have been blind from an early age that use braille regularly. Most rely on their computers and smartphones gibbering at them. This good, concise article suggests that only 1% of visually impaired people actually use braille at all. My own motivation was much the same as what Blunkett said in the article, namely to refer to notes in political meetings. Whether or not I actually will use it is moot. I have to learn it first and then find out! For my work, I shall undoubtedly stick to the screenreader technology.

Back to my next three letters, and I suspect that one of them will be "s", which is a bugger! "O" is quite hard enough!
My dad made me a baby doll. He made my old boat too.
Yeah, thrilling. I wonder how that story pans out.
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