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Acapela for NVDA v1.5 is here!

Today we released the new version 1.5 of the Acapela TTS for NVDA add-on.

This version brings to the NVDA add-on the latest improvements for all voices, including improvements in both sound and pronunciation for each voice.
It also corrects the issue reported by several users related to problem while using some of the exclamations of different voices. This issue has been corrected with the help of a friendly user who helped us to verify that the reported issue was corrected. Thanks Michael.
If you already have a version of the Acapela TTS for NVDA plug-in, you can just remove the older version of engine and voices, and then download and install the new version via the NVDA “Manage add-ons” menu.
License is not affected by the update, so no action at all is required, the new version of the add-on will find and use the existing license.

Acapela for NVDA and Windows 10 “Creators Edition”

Today 11th April 2017 Microsoft is launching its biggest update for Windows 10, the much awaited “Creators Edition” of Windows 10, with version number v1703.

We did our tests and the result is that Acapela TTS for NVDA is fully compatible with Windows 10 “Creators Edition” and no particular precaution needs to be taken during the upgrade process. Just follow the upgrade instructions from Microsoft, and happy creations!

Read more about the features included in Windows 10 update on the Microsoft blog.

Is your Acapela voice laughing and crying with NVDA?

Acapela voices use special codes to laugh, cry, cough and so on. These codes are called “Acapela sounds”. the Acapela sounds are usually not found in ordinary text, it may be amusing or useful to write special texts to hear these special effects.

Unfortunately NVDA has few smart rules which interferes with the Acapela sounds making it impossible to hear them, which has been a cause of frustration for many users of the Acapela TTS for NVDA plug-in.

However thanks to some clever and helpful NVDA users from the NVDA mailing list we have now found a solution to the issue.

If you want your Acapela TTS Voices for NVDA to cry, laugh and cough in NVDA you need to edit an NVDA file called “builtin.dic”. Always backup the original “builtin.dic” file before editing it, so that you can always reverse your changes.

builtin.dic is found in the installation folder of NVDA and contains few regular expression rules to handle text in a smart way. One of them is named “Break words that have numbers at the end” and it is the one interfering with the Acapela.

To tell NVDA not to use this rule you need to add a # character at the beginning of the next line, that should then look like the following:

# ((?:(?=\D)\w)+)(\d+)    \1 \2    1    1

The # character means that you are “commenting out” this rule and thus it would not be applied. Restart NVDA for this to make effect.

After that you will be able to use the Acapela Sounds. here below is a list of codes. Please note that these do not work with all voices, but only with the most recent voices of Acapela:

  • #AARGH01#
  • #AARGH02#
  • #AARGH03#
  • #BREATH01#
  • #BREATH02#
  • #BREATH03#
  • #CLICK01#
  • #CLICK02#
  • #COUGH01#
  • #COUGH02#
  • #CRY01#
  • #CRY02#
  • #CRY03#
  • #LAUGH01#
  • #LAUGH02#
  • #LAUGH03#
  • #MMM01#
  • #MMM02#
  • #MMM03#
  • #SLEEP01#
  • #SLEEP02#
  • #SNEEZE01#
  • #SNEEZE02#
  • #SWALLOW01#
  • #SWALLOW02#
  • #THROAT01#
  • #THROAT02#
  • #THROAT03#
  • #WHISTLE01#
  • #WHISTLE02#

A complete explanation of Acapela’s sounds and exclamation, including a link to a huge list with all sounds and exclamations is found here.

 

A tale of Ella

We have received a post from our friend Michael and we happily share it with you all. Enjoy it!


My name is Michael Bayus. I am totally blind and have been from birth. I am a Concert Organist and Church Musician working in the Sarasota area of Florida in the USA.

I use NVDA as my Screen Reader, and, of late my voice of choice is Ella. I don’t remember when I first heard Ella, it was probably around the beginning of 2013 when she was first released. I “fell in love” with her voice the first time I heard her, and I wished that there was a way I could have her reading for me.

The Infovox software was not possible for me, as I am a Church Musician on a small income, and Infovox was not something that I could afford. When the Addon for NVDA came out Ella was more within my reach.

I didn’t want a “Childs” voice, however, but I do like the voice I hear to be youthful. I surmised that If there was a way I could lower the pitch and frequency of the voice, I could make her sound “more grown up”. And, because I know something about how a Human voice works, I new that in addition to changing pitch and frequency, I would have to simulate in some way, the spreading of formants, and vocal tract elongation.

Well, I took the plunge, and bought the Addon package that includes Ella.

The first thing I did, was to lower the pitch of the voice from it’s default “32” setting in NVDA’s pitch scale in the Voice Menu, to “5”.

I found, to my gob-smacked astonishment, and my absolute delight that it worked. Not only did the pitch of her voice go down, but her formant dispersion spread was wider, and her vocal tract was lengthened.

I found the result to be so satisfactory and the illusion to be so believable that I no longer use any other of my voices. In fact, I have uninstalled all of them and now it’s Ella all the way.

She is now my new very best best friend.

It occurs to me, that this tip could be useful to any young girl who uses Ella to speak with her AAC device. And she could have the Ella voice follow her in to adulthood.

To that end, I am passing along a couple of audio files. One is Ella as she sounds originally, and the other is a grown up Ella.

Before you listen, allow me to make a small disclaimer. I don’t know who the young girl who recorded her voice for Ella is, so therefore, I just made it up about her having a dog, living with her brother Josh, and liking History in school. The grown up Ella, is entirely made up out of my imagination.

Happy listening, and I would like to know what you all think.

Little Girl Ella:

 

Grown-up Ella:


My thanks to Acapela Group for kindly posting this for me.

If there is a way that all of you could communicate with Acapela Group to tell me what you think, I would invite you to do so.

Also, you could friend me on Facebook.

I’m Michael Bayus who is blind, and I live in Sarasota Florida.

Let’s celebrate World Sight Day 2015

Today 8th October 2015 we celebrate the World Sight Day 2015!

Follow the #worldsightday hashtag on twitter with us and learn about many activities to celebrate the World Sight Day.