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Software for the visually impaired

Can I find a software that can read aloud Hindi text for the benefit of the visually impaired?

tech reviews Updated: Jun 20, 2003 19:38 IST

Can I find a software that can read aloud Hindi text for the benefit of the visually impaired? (Surinder Sharma)

Yes, and in Telugu as well. Developed by the IIIT, the software project is called "Reading Aid for the Blind". It is also being adopted for more Indian languages. Find out more at www.iiit.net/openhouse.htm#bhasa.

How can I watch TV on my computer? Will I only receive DD? Do I need to have my Net connection on? (Vikas Chauhan)

Get a TV tuner card. It was cost you between Rs 1,500 to Rs 5,500. The cable TV connection goes into the card, though in some cases users have reported that the signal needs a boost. You don't need a running Internet connection. You can also record clips to the hard disk.

Can I automate the processing of votes in polls? (Ramesh Durgan)

Use the free Graphical Voter Interface 2.6.1. It can be used for any private or public election and comes with a demonstration package based on an actual general election. It can handle write-ins and multi-language elections and can automate voting along party lines. It can be used for advanced election methods such as condorcet, Instant Runoff and Approval Voting. It can also be used for conventional plurality elections. GVI provides scripts for counting votes. Published under the Gnu Public License, you can download GVI from http://www.freshmeat.net/releases/114276.

My dot-matrix printer is not working properly. Yet when I blow hot air on it, then it works fine and when I stop blowing, it no longer functions. Please tell me what is happening to my DMP. (Lalit Chand)

What an ingenious Indian jugaad! You fail to mention how you blow the hot air -- are you using steam, a hair drier or something else? Are you blowing on the ribbon, the printer-head, or the circuit board? And exactly how does it not work properly? Usually the ribbon gets worn out, so replace it with a new one. Over a few years, the printer-head needs replacing too. Let a qualified engineer diagnose and repair your printer.

I have been told by a computer dealer that if I install a 48xCDwriter, I can also play DVD discs on it. Is this true? (Kashi Keshri)

Only if it is a combo 16xDVD read, 48xRead/Write, and 24xReWrite drive. Ordinary CD writers cannot read or write DVD discs. Ds come in 650 MB to 800 MB capacities, while DVDs come from 4.8 GB to double or four times that capacity, even though they look exactly like CDs. For DVD movies, you may prefer a six-channel sound-card and 4.1 or 5.1 surround-sound speakers.

My PC has both Windows 98 and XP installed on two partitions. Does this have any impact on my computer's speed? (Amit Meena)

At startup, only the operating system you choose takes charge of the machine. So installing two or more operating systems does not impact the overall speed in any way.

The new breed of mobile phones on the market have Java support and this excites me as a programmer. I wish to create custom applications for my Nokia mobile phone using Java. How can I do this? (Surya Kiran)

You can find free Java developer tools for Windows and GnuLinux released by Nokia on www.forum-nokia.com/main.html. Read the FAQs as well as the documentation and tutorials available on the site for additional help. Check out symbian.org for further tools should you wish to develop far more sophisticated applications. Symbian is the operating system used on several mobile phones and handheld computers.

Filling up folders with scanned photos and those captured by digital cameras is quite inelegant. Filenames alone are insufficient to filter and sort photos. How can I properly catalog my photos for free, and also let others browse them over the Net? (R Bedi)

Full Descent Camera Life 2.1b solves your problem. See a demo at http://camera.phor.net/. FDCL is a photo cataloging system. It supports photo descriptions and user-submitted information. Photo galleries can be viewed in a directory structure or queried by description and sorted into albums. FDCL also supports hiding photos from the system without actually modifying the photos directory, and other administrative options. Get the free download and documentation from http://www.freshmeat.net/releases/109329/. FDCL is released under the GPL license (http://www.gnu.org) so you can even modify the program for custom applications.

Does a Bengali Spell Checker for GnuLinux exist? (Saurabh Bhattacharjee)

Sure. Download Bspeller from www.bengalilinux.org, which also mentions several free Bengali-related tools and technologies for GnuLinux. Bspeller is a lightweight text-editor with a Bengali spell checker. This program is part of the Bengali dictionary project. Bspeller can also print Bengali text files using OpenType fonts, a feature currently not available in most of the other text editors under GnuLinux.

Please send your queries to: httech4u@hindustantimes.com

First Published: Jun 20, 2003 19:32 IST