RE: Licensing Fees

Robert,

At least you chose to respond when you didn’t have to. I suppose that’s
worth a point or two. Yes, I understand the dilemma you face. If you see
Aurora Systems as strictly a for-profit venture, you cannot do individual
discounts because you have to meet payroll and other obligations. I know,
but the fact that I’ve had to basically shut my company down due to lack of
business does allow me to see the other side of the equation. If many
potential customers cannot afford a product, how much growth potential does
any business have? AAC is such an enabler–when done well–that giving it
out might actually lead to more sales in the future by making more disabled
people employable. That’s one theory anyway.

I think that saying voice synthesizers are a matter of personal preference
has some functional truth to it while missing an important underlying
reality. As any good SLP will tell us, we all hear and process voice input
somewhat uniquely. It’s a product of numerous biomechanical and
neurological factors, but I’ve learned by experience that the synthesizer
that does the best job overall will still be the synthesizer understood by
the most people. If you really read my blog, you’re aware that I’m now an
Amateur Radio Operator. I can’t imagine a more grueling and objective test
for a synthesizer, partly because "hams" tend to be older males with
degrading hearing. Xpress-It doesn’t score perfectly, but it is understood
by above 90% of the strangers I encounter. The SAPI stuff, while improving,
still has a ways to go to match that number. I’m on record as saying that a
vocally-impaired person’s requirements of voice synthesis largely comes from
his/her horizons. Talking to a world of strangers is far more demanding
than communicating basic needs to a few caregivers.

Thanks for your time.

Scott

> —–Original Message—–
> From: Robert Basler [mailto:service@aurora-systems.com]
> Sent: Thursday, December 20, 2007 2:36 AM
> To: Scott Royall
> Subject: Re: Licensing Fees
>
> Thanks for writing. Unfortunately the sentence you referred to refers
> to things such as school district-wide licenses, term licenses and such,
> not single-user licenses. We added the Value and Standard editions at
> lower prices in order to try to give better access to our products.
> Many of our customers are in the same unfortunate situation as you and
> we are unable to offer individual discounts.
>
> If you are having to do vocabulary additions, most likely you are
> running the core dictionary which is intended as a base for children to
> work from. Our predict dictionary’s 180,000 word vocabulary should
> include all of the words in this email and is thoroughly trained to do
> next word prediction.
>
> If you are solely interested in word prediction, the Value edition
> should work well for you, however there are some word prediction
> improvements in both of our other editions. You can check out the list
> here: http://www.aurora-systems.com/pages/comparison.html
>
> I read on your blog that you don’t like Aurora’s speech synthesis. The
> reason we don’t include other speech synthesizers in our package is
> simply that speech synthesis is a very personal preference and every
> customer we recommend synthesizers to ends up selecting a different
> one. A product I worked on previously came in 18 different speech
> synthesizer versions and it was a logistics nightmare testing and
> maintaining all the installers, tracking licenses, producing media,
> etc. We also don’t want to have to increase the price of our product to
> include them.
>
> There are lots of great speech synthesizers out there, all available at
> very reasonable prices, and all of them work with Aurora through SAPI.
> Speech synthesizer developers typically require licensors of their
> products to purchase licenses by the hundreds or thousands. One we
> spoke to had a minimum purchase quantity that was 10 times the total
> number of Aurora software licenses we’ve sold over the last 18 years.
> Also, invariably these same synthesizers are sold stand-alone for the
> same discounted price as we can purchase them, so it really doesn’t make
> sense for us to try to resell them.
>
> If you have any further questions or concerns, please let us know.
>
> Scott Royall wrote:
> >
> > Gentlemen,
> >
> >
> >
> > This isn’t an easy email for me to write as it flies against my
> > pride. I’ve spent my life beating the odds and exceeding everyone’s
> > expectations despite being what’s usually labeled as “severely
> > disabled. “ I have a Computer Science degree, and worked for Shell Oil
> > for many years as an application developer. In fact, my job required
> > that I develop my own AAC software after none of the
> > commercially-available products proved up to the challenge of a
> > real-world corporate environment. However, none of my achievements
> > seemed to matter at all when lay-offs came around, because I’m now
> > trying to get along on Social Security Disability.
> >
> >
> > I’m also finding myself spending greater and greater amounts of time
> > writing text so generalized word prediction finally becomes worthwhile
> > to me. My own software, Xpress-It, does word prediction, but within
> > the context of speaking. That’s one reason why it works so well.
> > Generalized word prediction is quite a different specialty, and I see
> > no point in re-inventing that particular wheel. Although your
> > software isn’t perfect, it does address most of the issues. Gus! Word
> > Prediction is a little closer to what appeals to me as a developer and
> > writer, but that company has a bad reputation with me. What little
> > money I have will not go to them.
> >
> >
> >
> > We are competitors in a sense, but I have to give you credit for the
> > little statement on your price page encouraging people to contact you
> > if their means don’t match with your licensing prices. At least that
> > shows you’re not oblivious to the stark realities many of your
> > potential customers face. Aurora is an example of what I refer to in
> > my blog as the “Swiss Army knife “ approach to AAC, and I am quite
> > familiar with the pressures a developer faces to go down that path.
> > But, I’m solely interested in *good *word prediction so 80% of Aurora
> > is irrelevant to me. Besides, I honestly don’t have enough money for
> > even your “value” version. At least not all at once. What I can
> > offer is $70-80 now, maybe more in installments, and some tips from
> > someone who is an experienced AAC user /and/ Windows developer. Both
> > of my current laptops are Dell frontline systems with Vista Ultimate
> > (I do still have a *few *non-monetary resources left).
> >
> >
> >
> > Scott Royall
> >
> > http://www.conchbbs.com/xpress-it.shtml
> >
> >
> >
> > p.s.
> >
> >
> >
> > As you can see from my vocabulary, your Value version would be
> > useless. Even the Standard version is having fits with the large
> > number of vocabulary additions.
> >
> >
> > No virus found in this outgoing message.
> > Checked by AVG Free Edition.
> > Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.17.4/1188 – Release Date:
> > 12/17/2007 2:13 PM
> >
>
>
> No virus found in this incoming message.
> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
> Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.17.4/1189 – Release Date:
12/18/2007 9:40 PM
>

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7:37 PM

M1530, Good News–mostly

Richard,

 

The M1530 just arrived, a full week early.  I must say
that it makes a very good first impression, both in terms of the size reduction
from the M1710, and the overall appearance.  The first blush is that this
might be the best laptop for me yet.  The online information on it does
the machine poor justice. 

 

Unfortunately, I ordered it with the high-capacity
battery.  I had good reasons for doing so, but the website failed to mention
that the high-capacity battery raises the back of the machine a good inch at
least.  Most people would likely appreciate that, as it makes typing
easier.  But, as you know, it’s a real show-stopper in my case because
the laptop must lie flat on the table in order for the Velcro to work.  I expected
the high-capacity battery to stick out the back, like on the M1210.  Can
we do a swap with a regular battery or something?  I can’t use the laptop
until we resolve this. 

 

Scott

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Licensing Fees

Gentlemen,

 

This isn’t an easy email for me to write as it flies against
my pride.  I’ve spent my life beating the odds and exceeding
everyone’s expectations despite being what’s usually labeled as “severely
disabled. “ I have a Computer Science degree, and worked for Shell Oil for
many years as an application developer.  In fact, my job required that I develop
my own AAC software after none of the commercially-available products proved up
to the challenge of a real-world corporate environment.  However, none of
my achievements seemed to matter at all when lay-offs came around, because I’m
now trying to get along on Social Security Disability. 

I’m also finding myself spending greater and greater amounts of time writing
text so generalized word prediction finally becomes worthwhile to me.  My own
software, Xpress-It, does word prediction, but within the context of speaking. 
That’s one reason why it works so well.  Generalized word prediction
is quite a different specialty, and I see no point in re-inventing that particular
wheel.  Although your software isn’t perfect, it does address most
of the issues.  Gus! Word Prediction is a little closer to what appeals to
me as a developer and writer, but that company has a bad reputation with me. 
What little money I have will not go to them. 

 

We are competitors in a sense, but I have to give you credit
for the little statement on your price page encouraging people to contact you
if their means don’t match with your licensing prices.  At least that
shows you’re not oblivious to the stark realities many of your potential
customers face.   Aurora is an example of what I refer to in my blog
as the “Swiss Army knife “ approach to AAC, and I am quite familiar
with the pressures a developer faces to go down that path.   But, I’m
solely interested in good word prediction so 80% of Aurora is irrelevant
to me.  Besides, I honestly don’t have enough money for even your “value”
version.  At least not all at once.  What I can offer is $70-80 now,
maybe more in installments, and some tips from someone who is an experienced
AAC user and Windows developer.  Both of my current laptops are
Dell frontline systems with Vista Ultimate (I do still have a few non-monetary
resources left). 

 

Scott Royall

http://www.conchbbs.com/xpress-it.shtml

 

p.s. 

 

As you can see from my vocabulary, your Value version would
be useless.  Even the Standard version is having fits with the large number
of vocabulary additions. 

No virus found in this outgoing message.
Checked by AVG Free Edition.
Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.17.4/1188 – Release Date: 12/17/2007 2:13 PM

RE: Tekzilla Daily

Patrick,

Thanks very much for the personal reply. It’s a rarity these days. While I do
have a Revision3 account, I find life too short to hang out much in forums. I
will try to make it a point to check out Jim’s response, and chime in if I
have something useful to add.

The issue regarding the TZ feed on iTunes is truly an iTunes problem. Apple
needs to at least join the 20th century and add the ability to set auto
deletion policies per feed instead of only globally (a la Juice). Of course we
all know Apple to be the 12-ton gorilla in the podcasting booth. It’s unlikely
to do anything that might slow demand for devices with more and more storage.

The whole question of video on the web is still undecided in my opinion for
the multitasking reason I mentioned. I certainly wish you, Jim, and Revision3
the best because I do enjoy a lot of the content. Still, most people aren’t
going to shift videos to a second screen for several reasons. That means
fitting it somewhere on their primary screen, and that’s not easy to do even
on a 17" laptop. 🙂

Scott

> —–Original Message—–
> From: Patrick Norton [mailto:patrick@revision3.com]
> Sent: Monday, December 10, 2007 2:18 PM
> To: Scott Royall
> Cc: Jim Louderback
> Subject: Re: Tekzilla Daily
>
> Howdy Scott,
> Don’t know if you caught Jim’s response in the forum, but we’re changing the
> order of the
> RSS feed for the TZ show… should stop this. There’s also a checkbox in
> iTunes that’ll keep
> it from overwriting content, but I understand if that’s not how you want to
> set it up.
> Finally, in about a month, we’ll be changing around the RSS feed to make it
> more
> customizable so you can chose between (or both) the big show and the daily
> shows.
>
> Thanks for writing in!
> P
>
>
>
> —– Original Message —–
> From: "Scott Royall" <royall@conchbbs.com>
> To: tekzilla@revision3.com
> Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2007 4:03:11 PM (GMT-0800) America/Los_Angeles
> Subject: Tekzilla Daily
>
>
>
>
>
> In a word, don’t. Please.
>
>
>
> Tekzilla itself is a rather odd beast to me. Yes, it is very derivative of
> TSS, and that’s
> good. Yet, the support cast has not proven itself knowledgeable and
> trustworthy. More to
> the immediate point, you have to remember that video, the touchstone of
> Revision3, cannot
> be multitasked. If it is of any real interested, you must stop and view it.
> Short subjects are
> a limited answer by their nature, because their information content is
> normally low. If I’m
> going to stop and watch a video, the reward really needs to be there.
>
>
>
> However, Tekzilla Daily creates a bigger issue because of Apple’s stupidity.
> Like Patrick, I
> m forced to use iTunes because it’s the only one-stop podcast catcher left.
> I hate it also.
> iTunes delights in taking over your computer if you allow it to. One way I
> fight that war is
> by only allowing iTunes to keep the last podcast downloaded. Ah, there’s the
> rub! By
> putting the little daily ditty in the regular feed, you effectively remove
> your main show
> before I have time to view it! Yes, I know it goes into the Recycle Bin, but
> let’s not
> quibble over details. The point is, I won’t see the full show.
>
>
>
> I’m waving to Jessica, who I met backstage at Tech-TV on 3/4/04 . I was the
> guy in the
> wheelchair with the talking software and the large black teddy bear of a
> dog. No doubt
> Jessica has no memory of me. Sarah and Patrick saw me later that day in the
> little TSS
> audience, but my laptop was having performance problems by then so I didn’t
> get to
> introduce myself.
>
>
>
> Scott Royall
>
>
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> 11:06 AM
>
>
> No virus found in this incoming message.
> Checked by AVG Free Edition.
> Version: 7.5.503 / Virus Database: 269.17.0/1180 – Release Date: 12/10/2007
> 2:51 PM
>

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2:51 PM

A change?

Terry,

 

Either I am imagining things, or Lind has made a significant
design or firmware change in the DE2060-1429. The new one arrive yesterday morning,
and I soon noticed a difference. As the battery in my M1710 charged to 70%, the
adapter began to toggle power off and on about every 15 seconds. Strange, and
it certainly had Windows Vista baffled. However, this behavior had a beneficial
effect on the power source—which, as you know, is a power chair in my case.
The last 30% would put the old adapter into a mode that was especially hard on
the chair systems, but the new one finished literally without a ripple.

 

More intriguing, my caregiver forgot to recharge my chair
last night. That’s usually a real problem that should’ve left me immobile
today, but it didn’t. The laptop was still fully-charged, and the chair had
most of its. True, I still have the laptop set to sleep when closed, but that’s
never helped this much in the past. That’s a neat little trick that makes
these 17” power hogs much gentler on the mothership.

 

Scott

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