Audio tape

Subject: Audio tape
From: rjl -at- BOSTECH -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 1996 17:18:39 EST

Paige Medlin asked about tech manuals converted to audio tape.

Yeow! That's -much- harder than it sounds (near-pun not intended). Despite
the growing popularity of books on tape, it would be difficult (if not
impossible) to get a usable product from reading a tech manual into a
microphone.

Essentially, you're seeing the issue that divides broadcast journalism
copy from print journalism copy. The two are written much differently,
for one important reason: your eye can quickly move back over the printed
words as needed to comprehend a complex sentence, but it's not terribly
convenient to stop tape and rewind if you missed a word.

And of course there's the problem of trying to guess what a specific software
command is when you don't see it written in front of you, only pronounced.
(It probably doesn't apply to your situation, but I'd go nuts trying to
pronounce our system commands like vpu_stat or vmstart.)

So, if you -were- to go that way, you'd likely have to re-write all your
documentation in order to be suitable for "hear copy."

I think the first thing you need to do is ask him if you can have a sample
of one of those tapes. Give it a listen, see how well it words.

Rick Lippincott
Boston Technology
Wakefield, MA
rjl -at- bostech -dot- com


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