StockTalk
motivated by a discussion on the Financial Webring Forum

A fellow on the FWF forum said he was blind and, though he had software to read text, it couldn't read the data portrayed on charts.

>So you can turn charts into text?
Uh ... not really, but I can download a bunch of data from which I normally create charts and generate a bunch of text which may be useful for blind people who would like to hear that stuff.

For example, I have a draft spreadsheet which looks like this:


Click on the picture to download the spreadsheet.

The user types in some Yahoo stock symbol (like XOM in the example above) and types Ctrl-A.
Then there appears a bunch of text which says something about the stock behaviour.
If the user has speech synthesizers which will read the spreadsheet, then s/he can hear those sentences.
If not, there's a button which will create a text file called StockTalk.txt on the desktop.

>That's a new file, that StockTalk?
If there isn't such a .txt file, the spreadsheet will create it and enter the sentences from the spreadsheet.
If there is already such a StockTalk.txt file, then the spreadsheet will just append the sentences to whatever is already in that text file.

>So do those sentences have the info a blind person might want to hear?
Well ... I don't know. But if anyone has suggestions for additional sentences extracted from historical prices, then please send me email.

>And how does it sound, those sentences spoken by a speech synthesizer?
I don't have such software, but to test the spreadsheet and the format for the generated text, I downloaded a "trial" piece of software, Verbose, and generated an MP3 file. **
If you want to hear it, click here: http://www.gummy-stuff.org/mccreery.mp3.
It says this:

For BOMBARDIER, the price was $5.36 a week ago, on May 29, 2007. It has since risen to $6.07 on Jun 5, 2007.
The minimum price over the past two years was $2.34 on Nov 10, 2005. The maximum price was $6.14 on Jun 5, 2007.
The 20 day E.M.A. was $4.81 a week ago. It has since risen to $5.17.
The M.A.C.D. was -0.07 a week ago. It is now dropped to -0.28.

>It don't sound human!
Yeah, but for lots of money you can get really neat voices.

** Since trying out Verbose, I've bought meself a slicker talker ... and that's what you'll hear.

In formatting the text I noticed, for example, that periods are important. Something like E.M.A. is spoken like EE-EM-AY whereas EMA sounds like Emma.

>So MSFT would sound like ... uh ... Misfit?
Pay attention.
I also find that inserting a period elsewhere causes the software to pause ... else it rambles on without taking a breath.

>So, are you finished?
Hardly. I'd like to get some feedback from blind people who might find this stuff useful.

>But it works, right?
Well, it works with my Windows PC and ...
>And on a Mac?
Uh ... I guess I'd have to change where the StockTalk.txt file is saved, but that location can be changed right in the spreadsheet.


There's FREE text-to-speech software here: NaturalReader.
At this website, there's also a Professional Version with a classier voice.