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Help for Awesome Talkster

Step One: Preparing to Download
If you already know how to find a file that has been downloaded, skip to Step Two. If not, Awesome Talkster should be downloaded to an easy to find directory in your computer, such as "Download." To create a directory called "Download," click on your "C" drive icon, click File, click New, click Folder, then rename the "New" folder "Download." When you click to have Install.exe downloaded, you will be asked where to save it. Put it in your new "Download" folder.

Step Two: Download
In order to download Awesome Talkster, Click Here. After you download it, find the Install.exe file so you can click on it to start the installation. If you placed it in your Download directory, go there and select Install.exe. 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\

During installation, you will be asked if you agree to the licensing agreements. 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 Talkster 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 Three: 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."

You are now ready to use the Awesome Talking Library!

Read further to use optional features, such as talking characters, different voices, different languages, and more.

You can change the voice used by Awesome Talkster by selecting another voice in the T2S box of Awesome Talkster, available in the upper right box. Further refine a voice by setting the Speed and Pitch in Speech options, under Options.

Awesome Talkster 1.0 uses a free voice named "Mary." Voices available from other companies, such as Nextup, can also be installed and used in the Awesome Talkster. To hear a sample of one of the AT&T Natural Voices™, "Audrey," available from Nextup, Click Here. See "Languages" below for installation instructions for new voices that are not already available in the T2S box in the upper right of Awesome Talkster.

Talkster can use free voices that are designed for Spanish or other languages, so it can be very helpful in bilingual education. The voices do not translate into other languages, but they can speak online text written in other languages. Awesome Library is available in other languages (at the bottom of this page) so the language version of text can be combined with the same language in voice. In this way, Talkster can make the Web more accessible for persons who do not normally speak English, persons learning English, or persons learning a second language.

If you want to have text that is written in another language spoken in that language, select a voice in the language at the top right of the page in T2S. If the language you want is not present, you will need to download and install it. Languages are available
Here. You will need to save it in the Awesome Talkster directory where you installed Awesome.exe, probably here: C:\Program Files\Code-it Software\Awesome Talkster\. You will then need to click on it to install it. If it installed correctly, you will find it listed in the T2s box when you use 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 you 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.

Learning Mode
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 the voice set to "Slow." The Boy and Girl modes are available under Options, Mode.

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.

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.

More Characters
Warning: Some characters can cause serious problems with the Awesome Talkster program. Avoid characters that have not been recognized as compatible with Microsoft's software. Peedy, Genie, Merlin, and Robby, found Here, have been tested and found to be compatible. 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.)

Be sure to download any new characters to the same place in your computer where the other characters are stored, usually:


After you download the character to the Chars directory, it is ready to go, as long as the file ends with ".acs." If the file ends with ".exe," then click on the new character file to install it. If the file ends with ".zip," then you will need a program such as Winzip to extract the file to the Chars directory.

You will know it is installed when it shows up in Awesome Talkster under Options, Character options, Select character, Load character. After you have installed it, you will have to select it to have it appear on your screen as the talking character. After selecting Load character, click on the new character file to replace the character you are using in Boy or Girl mode. When you choose a new character, you do not erase the character you were using. You can get the original character back by selecting Options, Mode, Kid's Mode, then Boy or Girl.

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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