ISA Expansion Box

From: Frank McConnell <>
Date: Thu Apr 24 19:59:00 2003

Ethan Dicks <> wrote:
> They are a box with a passive ISA back plane and a pair of ISA cards
> that are connected with a single round cable about as big around as
> your thumb. The box itself is styled like an XT (down to the sloping
> front).

The original poster was describing an intended use for these to enable
use of a speech-synthesis card on what I'm guessing is a more modern
PC with a sound card, as a backup for when the sound card or its
drivers fail. I guess what I'm wondering is, how is this supposed to
work with shiny new PCs that have no ISA slots, and is that what the
poster is really after? Probably completely off topic though.

As long as I'm off the rails, some other ramblings:

A blind former ex-cow-orker used to use Artic speech synthesizers to
work her computers. I remember her having both an ISA card and an
external box about the size of a paperback book (maybe a bit thinner
and longer) which attached to the PC via a serial port, and later
another smaller Artic external box (about half the size of the older
one). These were something of a nuisance due to copy protection -- it
wasn't enough to require the speech synthesizer hardware, the Artic
software was keyed to the specific speech synthesizer.

Later (I'm thinking 1997 or 1998) she switched to using a software
package called JAWS from Henter-Joyce. This could either use the
Artic synthesizer or the Windows audio drivers (she was running NT 4.0
on her notebook PC). She liked the voice of the Artic box (because
she'd been using it for years and had got used to it), but rapidly got
used to the software speech-synthesizer code because it meant one or
two less things to have to carry around.

JAWS was also copy protected, with a key diskette that allowed some
small number of installations to hard disks -- you could also
de-install and increment the counter on the key disk in order to move
the installation, but of course if the hard disk got whacked then you
might not have the opportunity to do this.

-Frank McConnell
Received on Thu Apr 24 2003 - 19:59:00 BST

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