About Fire Vox
Fire Vox is an open source, freely available talking browser extension for the Firefox web browser. Think of it as a screen reader that is designed especially for Firefox.
In addition to the basic features that are expected of screen readers, such as being able to identify headings, links, images, etc. and providing navigational assistance, Fire Vox provides support for MathML and CSS speech module properties. It also works on Windows, Macintosh, and Linux.
About the CLC-4-TTS Suite
The Core Library Components for Text-To-Speech (CLC-4-TTS) Suite is a set of extensions for Firefox. It consists of a library for doing text-to-speech synthesis (the Core library), a library for navigating the HTML DOM (the Utils library), and an application that uses the libraries to act as a screen reader (Fire Vox).
While it currently only works on Firefox, it would be possible for me to create versions of this for other Mozilla products such as Thunderbird. I would have to rewrite the application portion, but the libraries would largely remain untouched. These libraries can also be used to construct other extensions that are not necessarily aimed at the visually impaired. Both are directions that I am interested in pursuing in the near future, so stay tuned.
If you are a developer who is interested in using these libraries, please see the "Information for Developers" section. The CLC-4-TTS Suite is released under the GNU GPL, but other licensing arrangements for companies that need to accomodate commercial, closed-source products are negotiable.
About the History of the CLC-4-TTS Suite
When I first created this suite and released it in January of 2005, my idea had been to create libraries that other extension authors could use to make their extensions self voicing, either for accessibility or just as a useful feature (such as have talking reminders for calendar extensions or something nifty like that). Maybe someone would even use it to make a Firefox screen reader. Just to prove that my libraries worked and to show how they could be integrated into extensions, I created a barebones demo screen reader. This demo proved popular and people actually started to use it like a screen reader.
Over the following months, I added a feature here and a feature there to the demo just for kicks. After awhile, I had the startling realization that this was a screen reader and not just a demo anymore. Thus I decided to rename it (or rather give it a real name for the first time) and call it Fire Vox. Interestingly enough, Fire Vox has since become better known than the CLC-4-TTS Suite that spawned it. I am constantly evolving the CLC-4-TTS Suite in order to add new features and accommodate changes in Firefox.
While the CLC-4-TTS Suite was entirely created by me, there are several people who deserve recognition and thanks. Without their support and help, I couldn't have made it so far, so fast.
- Berman, Pamela - for helping me with examples of CSS speech properties and for doing the CSS and HTML template for this new version of my site.
- Finger, D. Hampton - for helping me figure out how to install Fire Vox on Mac OS X.
- Inoue, Kenji - for giving me a bug fix to the CLC_SAPI_DLL code that was keeping the SAPI engine from handling Asian text correctly and for having created a Japanese translation of the CLC-4-TTS and Fire Vox documentation on his website. Sadly, his website has been down for several months now and I fear it may be permanently gone.
- Knowbility - for having me at their events.
- Kruitbosch, Gijs - for helping me with ChatZilla.
- Levy, Aurelien - for giving me a French translation for Fire Vox.
- The Mozilla Foundation - for creating my favorite browser and for flying me out to CSUN 2006.
- Sabnak, Alexandra - for making that artsy portrait of me on this page.
- Slatin, John - for giving invaluable advice and support when I first started this project. You will be missed.