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Help for Awesome Talking Library - CD-ROM Version
Step One: Install
In order to install the program, select Install.exe on the CD-ROM. During installation, you will be asked where you want the new program to be installed on your computer. If you simply agree to the suggested location, the Awesome Talkster.exe program will usually be placed in your computer in this directory:
C:\Program Files\Code-it Software\Awesome Talkster\
You will need to agree to the Microsoft licensing agreements that are shown and agree to install the Visual Basic program so your new Awesome Talking Library will function properly. You will need to restart your computer in order for the installation to be completed.
FOR WINDOWS XP USERS ONLY, before restarting your computer you will need to download Spchapi.exe into your Awesome Talkster directory and then 'double click' it.
Step Two: Use It
After you restart your computer, you will have a new icon on your desktop called "Awesome Talkster," the Awesome Talking Library. Click on the icon, and you will be ready to go.
In order to have the voice speak the words on the page, you need to highlight the words you want spoken and then click the "Selected" button at the top of the page. If you prefer to have everything on the page spoken to you, select "Speak."
This is all you need to use the Awesome Talking Library!
Read further to use optional features, such as talking characters, different voices, different languages, and more.
Awesome Talkster 1.0 uses "Mary," a woman with a deep (but understandable) voice. However, additional voices from other companies can also be added. For a sample of a commercially available voice called "Audrey," Click Here. (Addtional voices, such as Audrey's, called "AT&T Natural Voices," are available for purchase from Nextup.)
If you prefer to hear a male voice at startup, we recommend "Mike," available in the Voices directory of the CD-ROM. Copy the voice from the CD-ROM to the Awesome Talkster directory on your hard drive and then select it to activate it.
You can change the voice for Adult, Boy, or Girl by selecting another voice in the T2S box. For Boy or Girl mode, go to Options, Mode, Kid's Mode, Boy or Girl. Further refine a voice by setting the Speed and Pitch in Options, Speech. We do not yet have a good child's voice.
The CD-ROM version of the Awesome Talkster includes eight languages, including English. If you want to have text that is written in another language spoken in that language, select the two language files associated with the language in the CD-ROM Language directory. Move the files to the Awesome Talkster directory. Select each of the two files to activate them. Then select the language at the top right of the page in T2S when you are in the Awesome Talkster.
Internet Explorer browser allows you to see pages written in fonts of other languages, but you need to load the fonts. Select (on the toolbar of Internet Explorer) Tools, then Internet Options, then Languages (at the bottom of the menu box). Select the language you want to add, then select Add, then OK. You may need to restart your computer to activate the new language so when you open a Web page in that language you can see the fonts. Japanese and Chinese are examples of languages that require fonts that are different from English. Once a language can be seen in Internet Explorer, it will also be visible in Awesome Talkster.
For "Learning Mode," we recommend selecting either Boy or Girl mode so you have a balloon that shows the words as they are spoken. We also recommend using "Mike in Hall" or "Mary in Hall" as the voice, set to "Slow." We recommend the character "Max" for boys because the balloon stays small, making it easier to follow the words. Max is available from the CD-ROM. (See "More Characters" below for instructions for switching to Max.) "ButterCup," the starting character, is a good choice for girls because she also uses small balloons for words. (See "More Characters" below for instructions for switching characters.)
Hide and Start Characters
To hide a character (in Boy or Girl mode), position your cursor over the character, click the right mouse button, then select "Hide." To restart the character, click the icon for the character in the lower right of your screen.
To see the character in Adult Mode, the Mode you have when you first start Awesome Talkster, select Options, Character, Move, On Screen. Then in Options choose Character, Balloon, On. To keep the character out of your way again, in Options select Mode, Adult.
If you want to see a character when you start, you can also go to Options, Mode, Kid's Mode, Boy or Girl. If you choose "Boy" or "Girl," the Boy or Girl character will load immediately the next time you start using Awesome Talkster. Character changes in Boy or Girl Mode stay until you select Adult, Boy, or Girl Mode again.
Warning: Some characters can cause serious problems with the Awesome Talkster program. We have had difficulties with "Joe," the yellow smiley face, for example. Avoid characters that have not been recognized as compatible with Microsoft's software. If, against our recommendation, you use an unapproved character and you can no longer open Awesome Talkster, Fix may be able to repair the problem. (Download Fix and then select it. That should be all you need to do.)
The CD-ROM version of the Awesome Talkster includes additional characters in the Characters directory. They need to be copied to the CHARS directory of your hard drive in order to use them. If the character files end in "exe," they need to be selected after they are copied to CHARS in order to activate them. This converts them to "acs" files. If the files already end in "acs," then just copying them to the CHARS directory will activate them. If the files end with "zip," they will need to be extracted to the CHARS directory with a program such as Winzip. The CHARS directory is often here:
You will know a character has been installed when it shows up in Awesome Talkster in Options, Character, Select and Load. After you have installed it, you will have to select it to have it appear on your screen as the talking character.
Changing Settings, Like Fonts
Talkster gains its settings from your copy of Internet Explorer (4.0 and above). Make setting changes on Internet Explorer and then they will show up on Talkster.
Loading New Windows
The default setting, the setting you have when you start, prevents pop-up ads. However, it also prevents new windows from being opened automatically by the site you visit. Some sites load a new window when you click on a link so that you have to come back to their site before closing down.
If you want Awesome Talking Library to allow new windows to load, click Options, View, Windows pop-ups, then No pop-up windows. If you allow new windows to open, they will be in the Internet Explorer browser, not the Awesome Talking Library. To bring such pages into the Talkster, copy and paste the Web address into the URl box of the Talkster. If you allow new windows to load, pop-up ads are also allowed.
Helpster uses the voice character to describe each of the buttons at the top of the browser. Click on a button in Helpster to hear what the button does.
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