Rashumon – a word processor that speaks for itself, by Sams Harari
Title: Rashumon – a word processor that speaks for itself
Sub title: a graphic multi-lingual word processor for Amiga computers.
Author: Sams Harari, Editor, 32 Bit Magazine
Date published: November 1991
Magazine: 32 Bit (owned by www.pc.co.il)
After a development period of a year, a graphic multi-lingual word processor for the Amiga was announced. The word processor, developed by Michael Haephrati from HarmonySoft, allows typing and editing of text using multiple fonts, (including proportional spacing fonts). The text which is displayed as WYSIWYG can be printed with 8 colors, bold, italicize and underlined. The text can then be exported to other graphic software or saved in ASCII format, including a file compatible with PC format. Rashumon includes the feature of sophisticated searching and replacing, automatic save, math calculations and … reading the English text loud by the computer.
The user interface Rashumon has is intuitive while the end user controls the word processor both with the keyboard and the mouse. Scroll bars, (operated by the mouse or the keyboard), which are part of the user interface, updates the data displayed, in real time. Buttons are used to turn on and off various features and for displaying information about the attributes of the text. Text Edit boxes support proportional fonts and allow performing changes on selected text which can contain fonts of various sizes, colors and styles. Rashumon allows selecting an unlimited number of portions of the text and perform on them actions simultaneously. As for being easy to use, the various buttons are designed in 3d and it is easy to determine the function of each button even without looking at the user manual.
As a multi-lingual word processor, Rashumon can combine text in two languages properly; each line can be chatarterize separately based on its main language.
A unique graphic word processor for the Amiga computer. Sold for $150
Looks who’s talking
One of the original new features Rashumon has is the ability to select with the mouse one or more parts of the text and ask the computer to read them loud.
Many Amiga users are probably aware of the Amiga ability to perform artificial speech from the demo program (DEMOS). Now, a text reading routine was developed for Rashumon to read out load the text in an almost “human” voice. Thanks to the unique characteristics of the Amiga, the selected text/s are translated into phonetic syntax which are converted by a unique library into number which represent digitally (much like a CD player) the required sounds producing the artificial speech. These sounds are sent, using an Analog to Digital converter to the 4 sounds channels of the Amiga. This routine reads the text according to its logical order and not just right to left or left to right.
For the time being, the text reading function in the current version of Rashumon is limited to Latin text or Hebrew text written in Latin characters (the word “שלום” should be typed as “shalom”). In the next version it will be possible to read Hebrew text as well, that thanks to another routine which is now in advanced development stages. This routine, using artificial intelligence will “select” the appropriate Pronunciation which suits best any problematic words that are spelled the same but are pronounced differently.
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