[Fwd: [emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop] Emacspeak WebSpace --- Interaction-Fre...]
hzoebelein at gmail.com
Thu Mar 6 18:23:43 UTC 2008
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop] Emacspeak WebSpace ---
Resent-Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 10:26:00 -0500 (EST)
Resent-From: emacspeak at cs.vassar.edu
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2008 07:25:58 -0800 (PST)
From: T. V. Raman <tv.raman.tv at gmail.com>
To: emacspeak at cs.vassar.edu
A few months ago, I started an Emacspeak module called
|emacspeak-webspace| that is now ready for wider use. The goal of this
module is to unobtrusively fetch useful information from the Web and
communicate it at those times that one is context-switching among tasks.
I gave a talk on user interaction at the last Hackers Conference
<http://www.think.org> in November; in the same session, there was
another talk whose gist was a plea for /less/ human-computer interaction
--- motivation: User Interfaces are nice, but wouldn't it be nice if one
didn't have to /explicitly/ interact with the machine to get
information? The speaker coined the term /Zen interfaces/ in that
context, something that stuck in memory long after the talk.
I built that thought into module |emacspeak-webspace|. Conceptually, it
consists of /smart fetchers/ that fetch information asynchronously from
the Web, and /smart displayers/ that communicate this information at
/appropriate/ times. These are detailed below.
There are two fetchers at present:
Fetches current weather conditions for your location.
Fetches headlines from a customizable collection of ATOM and RSS feeds.
Note that this module is not intended to be an RSS or ATOM feed-reader;
for that, use module |greader| --- an API-based Google Reader client
that is bundled with Emacspeak.
Communicating Useful Information Usefully
With the information in hand, the next question is how does one
communicate this information /usefully/, and what does /at the
appropriate time/ mean? Things to avoid:
Do not require explicit user action to hear the information.
Avoid creating an auditory user interface that chatters at the user
all the time.
These are conflicting constraints. Notice that in a visual interface,
one can meet the /interaction-free/ requirement by displaying the
information in a toolbar or sidebar and allow the user to ignore or
absorb the information at will.
Emacspeak uses Emacs' /header-line/ to display the continuously updating
information. This meets the /interaction-free/ requirement. The header
line updates every time Emacs updates its display, and automatically
speaking it would produce too much feedback. But Emacspeak doesn't
automatically speak the header-line; it only speaks it when there is a
How To Use
Here is how I am using |emacspeak-webspace| at present:
Activate weather display in the |calendar| and |scratch| buffers.
Activate feed headlines in selected |shell| buffers.
You hear the updated information when switching to buffers where the
webspace display is active.
Activating WebSpace Displays
Webspace displays are activated via the following commands; all Webspace
displays will be placed by default on prefix key |hyper-space|
* |emacspeak-webspace-headlines|: |hyper-space h|
* |emacspeak-webspace-weather| |hyper-space w|
Share And Enjoy, And May The Source Be With You!
Posted By T. V. Raman to emacspeak The Complete Audio Desktop
at 3/06/2008 07:25:00 AM
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