As of late, I've really been frustrated with speech central. Every time I try to use it, I run into the same problem. My book library is pretty extensive, over 123 books. Every time I try importing my library, the following always happens. some files never get imported, requiring me to reimport the files manually, which never works. While at first the books seem to get imported after I manually have to import them and they show up in my library, whenever I relaunch the app, and come back to it, it they aren't there. As an example. As I said, my library has 123 books. 23 fail to import, leaving me with 100 out of 123 books in speech central, my books and articles section reads 100 items. I then import 5 more books. While at first the imports appear to be successful and speech central does read books and articles, 105 items, whenever I so much as say, go into a book and hit back to go back to the main screen with my books... speech central once again reads, books and articles, 100 items. Despite before, indicating I had 105 items and indicating all operations of importing where successful. I have ran accross this problem all over, on ios, and on mac, and I remind people, on the mac, you do have to pay for this app. I have never had problems of this nature with voice dream reader, but problems like these are just unacceptable. I've tried over and over again to use speech central and every single time, I run accross this problem of adding books and they misteriously are deleted as if I had never imported them. This is really frustrating to say the least. I don't know what could be going on but, this is just not a good experience with this app and i'm thinking of going back to voice dream reader, as its a smooth experience, never displaying problems of this nature, where x amount of books aren't imported, and when trying to add them manually, it doesn't work, with the books appearing to be in the library one second and disappearing the next, as if they weren't there in the first place. This is really not a good user experience.
did I need to update the pro version to use the microsoft voice
did I need to update to the pro version to get the microsoft voices?
Thanks for the description
I am the developer of the app. I really appreciate your detailed description and I can confirm that in this specific and somewhat rare use case there is a problem that I was not aware of.
To be perfectly clear I do consider that the use case is legitimate and that it should be supported, but hopefully you understand the other side of the coin - this is likely to affect only 1% of users that match this pattern (large number of items, no archiving of them to make difference between active and inactive items and syncing between devices enabled) and as such it wasn't tested and there were just two or three similar reports but unfortunately they were not precise enough and those users also didn't provide additional information when being asked and investigation of those problems came to dead end.
Now that I have the information regarding the problem it will be fixed. The problem comes from the fact that Apple by default limits iCloud queries to 100 items but it is not documented so I couldn't predict something like that. I will take several actions regarding that. First, I will raise the limit above default (I think that 250 may be a good value to start with). Second, if the new threshold is met the app will only sync the active folder so as long as you have folders that have fewer than 250 items sync will still work no matter how many items you have in total. Finally if it turns out that a folder has more than 250 items it won't lead to unexpected archiving of items, though the syncing will be limited (new items will be added but items removed on other device won't be removed).
Those are immediate measures that should be active as soon as next week. In the long term (and that is by the end of this year) the app will be completely rewritten and sync will be extremely robust, scalable and performant as the logic of syncing will be made on a very different methodology.
One thing to note is that the severity of the problem is lower than what you have perceived and described. Speech Central use cannot lead to the data loss, it is technically impossible. The items could only be archived and as such they are still available for play at a single click just they appear in the Archive section. I don't say that the app should work by moving items there without user action and that this is acceptable but still it is not as horrible as data loss that you have mentioned.
Speaking of that you can search forums here or Twitter for fairly numerous cases of data loss in Voice Dream Reader (and to be fair they also represent just a small fraction of their users), while I am not aware of a single case of data loss in Speech Central though the price level is hardly comparable.
RE: did I need to update the pro version to use the microsoft vo
you don't need to update to the pro version to use the Microsoft voices.
Please note that if you use VoiceOver you already have all Pro features activated and most people here do use it.
Thanks for the responce, could you let me know when the update is out? I really would like to use this app on ios and mac os to read books on one platform.
Also, I did check the archived section but the items that didn't show up in speech central when it said they where imported didn't show up in archived.
I'll give speech central another shot once this is fixed by next weak, but please let me know. Also, this happened on mac and ios by the way. On mac I added the books natively and it didn't import all of them as well.
You can disable syncing and I am 100% sure that you won’t have a single described problem even without update.
I’ll post back when the update appears which should also resolve this use case with syncing on, it is coming very soon for sure, could be even Monday.
Thank you for your understanding and for your help.
@ Labsii, Will the new update
Will the new update also be available on mac to fix this problem? Also, for now, I disabled sink on both mac and ios but when I reenable sink, will I just have the one copy of my books which I imported, or would I have two copies of each book do to disabling sinking, importing and then enabling sinking?
The new update will be for iOS and Mac. As different people review them in Apple they may not necessary appear in exactly the same time, though there shouldn’t be more than one day in between.
If you add new books and sync them after there is no way to conclude that those items are the same, they would appear as double.
I only can find the voices that is on my IPhone.
how to find the estra voices ?
Re: microsoft voices
Regarding on how to use the Microsoft voices there is a section in the help that explains it, you can also read it from this link: https://speechcentral.net/ios-help/#azure
Think I found a bug
@ Labsii, I just sent you a bug report via the contact support button of speech central. its miner but,
When I pause a book, and then resume it via the listen to articles, the current voice I have set, announces the books name, and how much time is left, despite that I have the announce remaining time set to never. Also, the speech announces the title and remaining time at a really slow rate, I believe its the default rate, 50, however I have it set to 65 in the settings of speech central. Just wanted to let you know here as well, i'll paste a link to the screen recording.
Also, quick question, if I have sink enabled on mac and ios, and I pause the book on ios, would I then be able to resume playback from the mac right where I left off on ios? Also, does sink need to be enabled on both devices for this to work?
Re: Think I found a bug
I am not sure if it is always helpful, but this is by design, not a bug.
That setting is used regarding the announcement of the time when you start to read the article or chapter from the beginning and it works as intended. Such announcement is optional.
However if you start to read the article from the middle and the screen is off or VoiceOveer is on there is a good chance that the user may be unsure of what is happening and from where he starts from so he gets a message to make it clear.
The most confusing case would be if the user reads short articles one after another and one happens to be already started and thus it continues from there. While it is proper to start from there figuring out what is happening is extremely hard without any announcement, that is something that I can tell for certain as I've been going through this case many times before this feature was implemented.
Also you might have noticed but there is a new version for iOS and macOS as of today.
It does have some improvements in syncing. For the best experience it is recommended that you don't have more than 100 items in one folder. While certainly there won't be any data loss or movement of items to folders without user action, the case with more than 100 items in a single folder does leave some small theoretical possibility that some information may not be received.
As said before some completely robust and scalable solution will require everything to be rewritten from the scratch and that work has started at the end of the last year but it will take some time before it is completed, the target date at this moment is September.
Regarding your latest questions, your current paragraph is always remembered and synced if syncing is enabled (it should be enabled on both devices).
Re, new version
@ Labsii, thanks for the notice. Is there a way to move books to a folder in speech central on ios? For instance, I I press add item, and press folder as the option, the folder gets added, but when I select the books I want to move to that folder, only archived and books and articles show up as locations where I can move the books to, however the books I want to move are already in books and articles, is there way to move them from books and articles to the folder I created?
Re: new version/folders
Speech Central works like nearly all other apps regarding the folders concept, but very different from Voice Dream Reader that has its own logic that you might got used to.
In Speech Central you can have hierarchal folders with no limitations regarding the number of levels of subfolders. That implies that you cannot get all folders at once in the dialogue but only folder hierarchy that you can navigate. As such if you open the Books & Articles top folder in the dialog you will see subfolders created there (which may contain its own subfolders and may be further opened in that case).
Re, folders and some suggestions
The only suggestions I can think for the speaking of title and remaining length of the book or article via the listen to books and articles, button, are,
1, Add a option on settings screen to make the speaking of title and remaining length optional via a on and off switch or,
2, Let it be controled by the speech rate that the user sets, I.e, if the user has the reading speed at 65, then the announcement reads at 65 as well, at the moment, the speech is stuck at the default speed of 50, regardless of the speech rate selected by the user.
Both of this options could work, but the setting to turn it on and off depending on the user's preference might be the better option.
Thanks for suggestions!
I do agree that this might need some more thinking.
This works well without VoiceOver as it announces only when the screen is off and users are likely to need that announcement at that point.
That logic can’t be used with VoiceOver (if it was applied there would be no announcements). However disabling this for VoiceOver users till some more complex solution is found might be a good thing.
One thing that I will consider for that future development is to make this a VoiceOver announcement when the text is opened. That sounds more inline with VoiceOver guidelines.
Actually I’ve noted one important thing in your use case - Auto Play is off I think. That makes all of this much less natural and it may be a good balance to disable this when Auto Play is off as some first step.
How do you get folders to work on mac?
I can create folders for books no problems, andd move the books to said folder but, I cant open the folders on mac. On ios I just doubletap and the folder opens but, on mac I cant seem to be able to. VO space, enter it just renames the folder which is focussed, but how do you work with folders containing books on the mac?
I'll try desabling autoplay as suggested.'
On the Mac folders (and other items) are opened with double click, I think that interaction would work the same way you have described in all Apple apps including the Finder - the enter key would activate renaming of the item. At least it works that way without VoiceOver.
Double click is different than they way voiceover handles things
Voiceover uses double tap, if using the trackpad for instance, to open stuff, but this is different than double click. While we as voiceover users use the mouse without problems, and this is just another suggestion, it might be easier to change this behavier for voiceover users so that folders and items open as usual for voiceover users, I.e, via command o, this is how we typically open aitems in finder, and its the same as performing a doubletap if on the trackpad, if trackpad commander is turned on. As a substitute, the command for importing files could be switched to command I, for instance.
The only way I can maybee explain this, is if you enable voiceover on mac, and do the following gestures. To click the mouse, vo modifiers, that is, control and option or capslock, both will work, shift and space bar. Then, to do a doubletap or a default way voiceover opens things, do either command o, or voiceover modifiers with spacebar, both will do the same thing, and that's usually how a voiceover user would open a file, document, etc, with voiceover.
What i'm trying to go to is that while doing a double click with the mouse works, and its not a problem, it is not how voiceover tipicly opens stuff do to the use of the keyboard to do commands such as voiceover modifiers with spacebar or command o.
Look at it like this,
If you do the same voiceover gesture to open files on a iPhone in speech central with a bluetooth keyboard connected, that is, voiceover modifiers with spacebar, or command o, both will work, the file will open. However, do the same gesture on mac, they're the same across both platforms, and you don't get the same result.
Again this is just a suggestion, and i'm just throwing them out there to make the app better for blind users.
Ok, just tested the double click of the mouse and... it kind of, works⋅. If you just let voiceover stand on the item and do a mouse click, it doesn't work, you have to be over the item with voiceover, press vo modifiers f5, to move the mouse curse to the item, then click it and the item opens.
It would be better as I said, to use the default way of voiceover opening stuff, i.e, command o or via voiceover modifiers spacebar, in terms of accessibility for voiceover users, as a double mouse click for a nonvoiceover user works differently than it does for a voiceover user, as I explained above. You have to rout the mouse curser to the voiceover curser, and only then, will the mouse click work.
Re: double click
I definitely agree that there should be alternative mechanism for opening folders for VoiceOver users, but finding a consistent method in current state is a bit of problem.
Historically the app did not have folders and 'Import' was called 'Open'. As such there were keyboard shortcuts optimized for that. And it may be a bad idea to change shortcuts when people get used to it. It means that command plus O is already taken for importing files, while there is a shortcut to open non-folder items that is the same as "Play" (and this is how Apple Music worked the last time I have checked). Technically I could assign that shortcut to opening folders too, but I am not sure how much helpful it would be (like how many people would actually understand that it works that way, if one has to be verbally directed how to use the shortcut that is definitely problematic).
Other than that I do think that in general same gestures shouldn't work the same on iOS and macOS and this is by Apple's guidelines. Gestures in Files app won't work the same in Finder or even on Apple Music for iOS and macOS.
However as Apple allowed iPad apps on the Mac (slightly adopted as Catalyst apps or even without any adaptation on M1 Macs) there will be more and more apps that work the same for iOS and Mac which is certainly confusing for users that various apps act differently. It may be even more confusing with VoiceOver as visually it is easier to conclude that the interface comes from the iPad and that the app follows the iPad logic.
Re, double click
The other thing I can think of to be able to open folders without need of the double click is this,
When your in finder, or anyware with a folder, if you have quicknav turned off and you stand over the folder with voiceover then press right arrow, voiceover will say something like, folder expanded and its then open so that when you press down arrow your browsing the contents of said folder.
Either that, or allow the voiceover gesture voiceover modifier space bar, to behave as default like what you see in all other apps on the mac, I.e, to open, press, etc. Because at the moment in speech central the voiceover modifier spacebar is performing a different function compared to the its default function in other apps.
For instance, go to anyware in finder on the mac, or apps with voiceover on, and perform a voiceover modifier spacebar gesture. Depending where you are at, if your on a button, voiceover modifier spacebar will press said button. If your on a document or folder, voiceover modifier spacebar will open said document or folder.