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Transcripts on software freedom

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Each transcript is listed twice, once in the by-topic list, and once in the by-speaker list.

  1. The transcripts, sorted by topic:
    1. Free software
    2. Software patents
    3. Copyright
    4. The GNU GPL and free software licences
  2. The transcripts, sorted by speaker:
    1. Richard Stallman
    2. Eben Moglen
    3. Ciarán O'Riordan
  3. Why are transcripts useful?
  4. The software and method I use for transcribing

The transcripts, sorted by topic

Free software

Software patents

The GNU GPL and free software licences


The transcripts, sorted by speaker

Richard Stallman

Eben Moglen

Ciarán O'Riordan


Why are transcripts useful?

  1. They're more accessible for people with disabilities, such as deafness
  2. Text can be found by WWW search engines
  3. It's easier to find what you're looking for in a digital copy of text document because you can search for words, and because you can skim it visually
  4. Copying excerpts and quotes is easier with text than audio
  5. They are a better starting point for translations
  6. Some people prefer reading to listening - particularly people who are not native speakers of the language
  7. They are much smaller - it's easier to email a transcript to a friend than an audio recording

The software and method I use for transcribing

I haven't found any advanced tools that make transcription much simpler. My current method is to have the "mplayer" audio/video player and a text editor open. Mplayer pauses or starts playing again when you press space. So I press space to start the audio playing, I switch to the text editor by pressing Alt-TAB, and I type while I listen. I can't type as fast as people talk, so after 10 or 20 seconds, the audio recording has passed me out and my brain hits it's limit for how much I can rememember. So I Alt-TAB, press space to pause the audio, and Alt-TAB back to the text editor to write down what I remember. If I need to listen to the audio a second time, I hit the left arrow key in mplayer which rewinds the audio by 10 seconds.

Mplayer is my preferred audio player because it can vary the playback speed. So when I'm transcribing something, I can slow it down to 75% of normal speed so that it takes a bit longer for the audio to surpass my typing speed. Then, when I'm checking the transcript, I can play the audio at twice normal speed so that I can listen to it while reading my transcript for mistakes.

A friend recommended that I try a free software package called "transcriber". I tried it, but I wasn't able to understand how it works. I will try it again some time.


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Copyright 2006 Ciarán O'Riordan. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.