SPEECH EDITORMenu-driven S.A.M. talk!
by MARK GIAMBRUNO
Speech Editor brings menu-driven convenience to operating one of the Atari's most unusual software products-S.A.M., the Software Automatic Mouth. You'll need 32K RAM on any Atari, a disk drive, BASIC and S.A.M. ($59.95 from Tronix. 8295 La Cienega Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90301. (213)215-0529.)
Speech Editor gives you quick access to
all of S.A.M.'s impressive speech synthesizing features. This program also
lets you save phrases as long as 113 characters to disk for later use or
modification. But there is a bit of preparation required before you can
Type in the listing for Speech Editor, check it with TYPO II and SAVE it to disk. With your Atari turned off, put the S.A.M. disk in the drive and turn on the machine with BASIC.
After the READY prompt appears, remove the disk and insert your S.A.M. DOS disk (prepared according to instructions in the S.A.M. manual). Type DOS; when the DOS menu comes up, use the [L] command to load RECITER. If you have it, also load KNOBS.REC.
Now use the [B] command to return to BASIC; after you see the ready prompt, insert your disk with the Speech Editor program, and RUN the program. (Disk subscribers please note: you must type ENTER "D:SPEECHED.LST" before typing RUN. We stored the disk version this way to prevent those without S.A.M. from accidentally running the program and crashing their systems.)
Incidentally, the Speech Editor can also be used with S.A.M. by itself, or with S.A.M. and KNOBS.SAM, KNOBS.REC, or RECITER. If both KNOBS are loaded, or if RECITER is loaded with KNOBS.SAM, the knobs option will not be available.
In the center of the editor's screen is a box of options, variables and their default values. The INPUT is set for S.A.M.-you can only enter phonetic phrases. The other option is REC, for RECITER, which lets you enter English phrases.
When you start, the LIGHTS are off, so the screen will blank during speech. If the LIGHTS are on, text remains on the screen and S.A.M.'s voice is slightly garbled.
SPEED and PITCH are both normally set to 128, S.A.M.'s normal values. The KNOBS are on, activating the THROAT and MOUTH variables. These are also set to normal.
Below the menu box is a list of the program control keys and their functions.
To use the editor, hold the [SELECT] key until the item you wish to edit is chosen. Then use the [OPTION] key to change that item. Thus, if you select INPUT, you can flip between S.A.M. and REC with the [OPTION] key. Numeric values are increased with the [OPTION] key, while the down-arrow key, followed by [OPTION], decreases a value. Note that the numbers change slowly, then gain speed.
Push [START] and you should see the "?" prompt in the lower left-hand corner. You can enter up to three lines (113 characters) of text. Longer phrases may be lost.
The cursor, [INSERT] and [DELETE] keys are all available for editing. When you are finished with a phrase, press [RETURN] and S.A.M. will pronounce your phrase.
The Speech Editor keeps S.A.M. and REC phrases separate, so the last text entered remains in memory and is displayed the next time you press [START]. Entering an improper phrase in the S.A.M. mode causes the keyboard speaker to sound twice; once you have pressed [START] no changes can be made to S.A.M.'s options and variables until you hit [RETURN].
After you have adjusted the speed, pitch and knob setting, and want to save a phrase, push the [ESC] key to bring up a "Directory, Load or Save phrase?" prompt. Push S to see a prompt for a filename. The phrase will be saved with all the present voice control values.
To load a phrase press [ESC] folowed by [L], followed by a filename. At this point, you'll have the option of replacing the saved values-helpful in building a library of voices.
[ESC][D] displays a disk directory. [CONTROL] [R] resets the editor to its default condition and clears the phrase memory. [CONTROL][Q] quits the editor, returns you to BASIC, and leaves you with S.A.M., RECITER and KNOBS in memory.
Mark Giambruno of Sacramento, California bought his Atari 800 two years ago on an impulse. Since then, it has been an excellent way to combine his main interests, art, design and electronics