[DECtalk] How about a competition?

Dectalk at aol.com Dectalk at aol.com
Tue Dec 18 07:59:47 EST 2007

I love your idea but I have 2  problems.
1.  An OGG file is not standard.  I work  with OGG for my job and it is a 
total pain because not many players play that  format.  I thought WMA was 
standard because everything I have will play WMA  files.
2.  I don't think copy right stuff should be left  out.  I myself can easily 
make stuff up, but not everyone can.  Plus I  myself don't have time.  Plus, 
are you judging Dectalk skills or are you  judging creativity?  If you are 
judging Dectalk skills, people should be  familiar with what they are judging.  If 
your judging creativity, what is  the point of limiting it to just Dectalk?
Here's my idea.  Pick a song that everyone knows,  and see who can do it the 
best.  No text files allowed so that we can't  copy each other.  


In a message dated 12/18/2007 2:45:59 A.M. Pacific Standard Time,  
tony at baechler.net writes:

Hi  all,

This probably sounds crazy but I thought I would throw it out  anyway.  I 
guess it's the holidays or something, I don't know why I  came up with this.

How about a competition of original DEC-talk  creations?  It would be 
like music contests but only for original  files and they must use 
DEC-talk.  They could be plain text for  sending to a hardware 
synthesizer or loading into the demo or it could be  an mp3 file.  Each 
contribution should be no more than five minutes  in length.  You can use 
as many voices as you want.  Mix it with  music or whatever.  Here are 
the rules I had in mind but of course  this is all subject to change and 

1. No copyrighted  works.  That means no Red Dwarf, etc.  It must be your 
own  original creation.  It can't be DEC-talk singing a popular song or  
reading a copyrighted story.  Public domain works are fine.  I  am 
arbitrarily defining public domain as anything published before 1923  and 
whose author has been dead for at least 70 years.  That complies  with 
both US and international laws.  Agatha Christie would not count  for 
example because she died in 1976.  Arthur Conan Doyle would count  but 
only for works published before 1923.  He died in 1930.   Tolkien 
wouldn't count.  This rule would be strictly enforced because  the files 
would be available for public download.  I will not debate  differences 
between US, UK and international copyright laws.

2. It  should not be longer than five minutes.  If you need to go longer  
than that, please explain why.  It would be better for an author to  
submit two entries of five minutes each than one long ten minute  file.  
As much as I like DEC-talk, I don't necessarily want to hear  it for ten 
minutes at a time.  That also keeps file size  smaller.  This applies 
even if you submit a text file, and especially  in that case as the demos 
have a small size limit and copying it directly  to a serial port can 
overload the internal buffer, at least from my  understanding.

3. You don't have to follow a certain format, but music  is probably 
better than speech.  If you want to mix music and speech,  that's fine.  
You can mix in background music as long as it doesn't  violate rule 1 
above.  If you want to compose original music, so much  the better.  
However, music is not a requirement.  If you just  want to do spoken 
word, that's acceptable.  It must be primarily  DEC-talk making the 
sounds though.  You talking and having DEC-talk  say one word won't 
count.  This is somewhat up to the judges to  determine what qualifies 
and what doesn't, but a good rule would be that  DEC-talk should do at 
least 50% of the audio.  Mono or stereo are  fine.

4. No adult material or excessive swearing.  I personally am  not opposed 
to some adult material but I am not allowed to host it.   If someone 
wants to host sexual material, that is up to them but it won't  be hosted 
here.  This is not up for discussion as I am not the one  who made that 
rule.  I know that this rule is enforced and I don't  want to lose 
Internet access, thanks anyway.  Material should be  suitable to all ages 
but something in the "PG" rating scale would be  accepted.  If in doubt, 
don't swear.

5. Only mp3 and ogg  Vorbis files are acceptable formats.  Wave files are 
just way too big  and .wma and other formats are too hard to play on all 
devices.  The  exception is that flac files will be accepted because they 
can be  converted to wave and there are converters for most platforms.  
Zip,  .exe, html, etc will not be accepted.  You may make a zip file with  
your mp3 file and a README, but other files will not be accepted.  If  in 
doubt, ask first.

The judges of the contest will be anyone  who wants to download the files 
and cast votes.  I expect that the  judges will be mostly from this 
mailing list but hopefully people will  spread the word.  All entries 
would be uploaded with ftp or email  attached, depending on size.  I 
would hold them until the deadline at  which time I would put them up for 
public download on a web site.  I  would probably make one master zip 
file with everyone's entries for easier  download unless there are less 
than three entries.  There would be a  short time (probably two weeks) 
for judges to download, listen and  vote.  After the judging deadline is 
over, I would count votes and  announce the winner.  If someone wants to 
donate prizes, the winner  would get a prize, otherwise the winner gets a 
pat on the back and public  acclaim on the site and mailing list.  After 
the contest is over, the  entries would be kept indefinitely.

The inspiration for this comes from  the annual IF Competition which has 
similar rules.  Also, it would be  nice to get more DEC-talk original 
creations out there that are free of  excessive copyright restrictions.  
Submitters are encouraged to  either release their files to the public 
domain or use a Creative Commons  license.  Regardless of what license is 
chosen, authors give  baechler.net and other affiliated sites 
nonexclusive re-use and  redistribution rights.  For more about Creative 
Commons, look at  http://creativecommons.org/ .  It is not a requirement 
to license  your files in this way but it is recommended and encouraged.  
This  gives people the right and ability to use your works in their own  
creations without paying royalties in most cases and knowing that they  
are not violating your copyright while you still have ownership of your  
creation and can use it any way you see fit.  If you put your work in  
the public domain, you give up all rights to it, now and forever and  
anyone can do anything they want with it without your permission or  

If you have questions, it is best to post on the mailing  list but you 
can write to me directly.  I would like to see this  actually develop 
into something interesting.  Other sighted people  have music 
competitions, so why not one designed for the blind?   Anyone may enter, 
sighted or blind as long as their entries comply with  the above rules.  
A final update to the rules would be posted at the  time the contest 
officially opens.  What do you all think?  I am  interested in getting 
discussion  going.
DECtalk mailing  list
DECtalk at bluegrasspals.com

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