speaking xmailbox

what is this?

The idea behind this xmailbox is very simple: what about a speaking xmailbox? So, the result is a modified xmailbox program which is able to speak From and Subject fields from the incoming mail. The trick is to keep a time-stamp of mailbox file (the original xmailbox was disturbed by the speaking program accessing the file).

what you need?

Everything is platform/system independent, so if your *NIX machine has audio capabilities you should be lucky enough to find a speech synthesis program and start this xmailbox.

If you have a linux-box and like the easy way you can download a binary distribution (just be sure you have sound support in your kernel). It contains xmailbox, say and ugotmail programs (you're still needing a python interpreter).

how it works?

xmailbox is patched and it's keeping a time stamp (after system function call); this new time stamp is used to decide if the mailbox was accessed by another process (i.e. reader). I tried to keep the code as simple (and clean) as possible and I think/hope I didn't changed the normal program flow (w/o SndComm).
The python script is used to get from the mailbox From and Subject fields; it also advances in the file to skip old messages. xmailbox program keeps the length of the mailbox and is passing the starting point via argv[1].
say (from rsynth) is used to convert the text to sound; the previous script is making some changes in strings to avoid some wrong meaning of special chars (need some more ....). Any program can be used, the calling format is say "what to say".

what else?

nothing left to say. I hope you'll enjoy it; at least my folks got scared hearing someone speaking while they were working on my linux-box.
hmmm, i said what else?
ok, if you insist ... one of the (unsolvable) problems is when starting xmailbox with some new mail. It goes through entire mailbox file; this is not a problem if you're good behaved (i.e. move your messages from mailbox after reading), but if you have a lot of mail in it be prepared to hear a lot.
be sure you have *mailSndComm: /usr/local/bin/ugotmai in your Xresource .... or whatever.

Mihai Manolescu

Last modified: October 06, 2003
Last access: April 22, 2017, 11:17
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