2. How to use Dasher in real life

2 How to use Dasher in real life

Dasher can be used to communicate through your computer, and (to some degree) to control your computer. Obviously, the simplest way to communicate with Dasher is to have the person you’re talking to watch the screen as you write. But there are lots of other ways to communicate through Dasher.

2.1 Copy to clipboard

If you have the ‘copy on stop’ feature switched on, then, every time you stop Dasher, the contents of Dasher’s text box get copied directly to your computer’s clipboard. You can then use the ‘Paste’ function of another application to transfer what you’ve written.

2.2 Speaking

Dasher connects to your computer’s built-in text-to-speech system. There are several ways to use Dasher for speaking.

You can choose to have Dasher ‘speak each word’: every time you pass through the end of a word (by entering a space character for example), that word gets spoken immediately.

You can also choose to have Dasher ‘speak on stop’: every time you stop Dasher moving, everything that is in the text box gets spoken.

Finally, you can speak exactly when you want to by switching on Control Mode (which is under the Options Menu in Dasher version 3). This mode brings up an extra box in the Dasher alphabet, coloured grey, which works a bit like an escape key on a keyboard. If you go inside the Control box, you will find several control-related options: Stop (red); pause (yellow); Move; Delete; and Speak. Inside the Speak box are the options to ‘speak everything’, ‘speak new’ (just the new words that you wrote since the last utterance), and ‘speak again’ (which re-speaks whatever was last spoken).

2.3 Save to file

You can save whatever is in the text box of Dasher as a plain text file by clicking the ‘Save file’ icon in the icon bar, or using the menus at the top of the Dasher window (selecting File→Save).

2.4 Send text to other window

You can also have whatever is written in Dasher be directly beamed to another window. Enable the ‘send text to other window’ option under the options menu. Then the window that you select will get Dasher’s output.

2.5 How to get Dasher to ‘always stay on top’?

In Dasher version 3, this feature is not currently provided. It may be the case in Linux, however, that you can configure your window manager to put particular windows on top, but this will depend on your operating system configuration.

In Dasher version 4, ‘always on top’ will be possible.

2.6 Font sizes

Dasher has a text box (where the text appears) and a Dasher canvas (where all the fun zooming action happens). You can change the font sizes of both these regions using the Dasher menus at the top of the Dasher window. The two fonts are called the ‘Edit font’ (for the text box’s font), and the ‘Dasher font’, I think. (I forget the exact menu names in Dasher version 3, sorry.) To change the edit font size bring up the usual dialog box and change size. To change the Dasher canvas size, find the Dasher-size option, which offers three to choose from, named something like: small, medium, and large.