logo - white text on black background, with white border - and red braille version hovering in front of normal text

bzPersonal Assistant (beta version) documentation

Table of contents

General information

Firstly, I don't plan to charge anything for this software - as in, it's free. Secondly, it's literally meant to be just what the name implies/suggests - a form of personal assistant software to maybe make it easier/simpler to do certain common, hopefully useful every day tasks, etc.
Back to table of contents

Speech output

Speech output can be toggled on or off using either the Ctrl + G keystroke, or using the Toggle speech output menu item on the Tools menu.
Back to table of contents

Data and settings

Your data and settings for the bzPersonal assistant are saved in a file called, under either your user account's documents and settings, or users folder, on your hard drive.
When you exit the program, both data and settings will be saved automatically.

You can also save data/settings from file menu, as well as reverting them, which would literally undo all the changes you have made in a session, without having saved them first - form of data changes undo, just in case.
This file can be copied for backup purposes, or at least found by selecting the locate data file menu item off the file menu, generally for backup purposes.
Back to table of contents

Audio books

This section is a relatively simple section to let you listen to audio file eBooks, currently limited to .MP3, .WMA and .WAV file types. It will also try to remember your last position in a previous file, and will then prompt you with regard to returning to the same position the next time you open it for listening.
In both menus, and on interface buttons, you can choose your default file browsing starting point folder path, can open an audio file to listen to, and can then toggle playback/paused mode, choose/change your default starting point path, jump backward and forward by 10 seconds, jump to a specific position in seconds, etc.
Might still at a later stage let you define your own, multiple bookmark positions for a single file, letting you provide labels for them as well, and would then later on offer you a listing to navigate to if you then opened that same file again, but for now it just stores the last position, per file name. Am also not currently letting you change output volume, so, for now it just plays back audio at it's default volume level.
Back to table of contents

Audio notes

Audio notes are, for now, meant to be small sound clip recordings to either just, literally, make a quick note of something, or to possibly record an actual sound clip of something, like a song, a meeting, etc.

However, bear in mind that am currently just making use of standard format .wav files, so long files might end up somewhat larger in file size than something like an .mp3 file of the same track length might be.

Also, the primary thing to bear in mind is that am just recording directly from your PC's default audio input source, which is a setting that can generally be changed under the control panel, and at times, the microphone might be muted by windows, or just have it's volume levels set quite low, but, accessing, and changing thos settings will vary somewhat from version to version of windows, for what it's worth.
In this window, you will find a list of categories, and next to that are buttons to add, edit and remove categories, and if/when a category is selected, if there are currently audio notes saved under it, they will then be listed in the other listbox on this screen, and next to that are buttons to add a note, play a note back to you, and a button to remove a note, and, if you start recording, you will first be prompted for a note title, and you will then hear a short tone rising up the scale, to notify you that it's literally about to start recording the audio input, and you will be focused on the stop button, which when you hit space bar on it, or click on it with a mouse, then it will stop recording, and save the file to your data folder, under audioNotes, under a folder for the category, and you will also hear a short tone descending the frequency scale to let you know it's stopped recording.

You should then find it focused on the audio notes list box, where your new audio note should now appear/be listed.
Also bear in mind that across the various sections you will find the _general category listed at the top of the category listing, and you cannot rename, or remove it.
Lastly, there will be a close button right at the end/bottom, which will then close the audio notes window, and take you back to the main window. All the controls should also have shortcut keys assigned to them, if relevant, and generally, the close button would be invoked by hitting a keystroke combination of alt + L.
Back to table of contents


The calendar section is still very simplistic, and effectively just let's you select which month you'd like to view/look at, by choosing from combo boxes for year - from current year, to two years ahead - and month, and it will then populate the following list box with any/all events/occasions for that month.
Once focused on that list box, you can move/scroll up and down, and after that, there are some buttons to add an entry, edit the currently selected entry, or remove it.
Either choosing to add, or edit an entry will bring up a details dialogue, which contains data entry/selection fields for year, month, day, and time, a checkbox for an alarm - the actual implementation of which hasn't been implemented as of yet, and lastly, a text field for you to enter details in, and then there are Ok and Cancel buttons to either save the entry, or ignore/discard it.
And, on the main window for the calendar section, there is also, obviously a Close button to return to main window.
Back to table of contents


In the contacts section, you will again find a list of categories, with buttons to add, edit and remove these from your database, and after them, a listbox listing all contacts under the selected category.
The available buttons/functionality for contacts themselves let you add a new contact under the selected category, edit the currently selected one, send an e-mail to a contact that has an e-mail address entered/saved in it's record, a button to remove a contact from the database, and a button to search for/find a contact, which will bring up a text input dialogue to enter a search term into - more on that just now - and if you then hit enter, or click on the Ok button, it will either notify that there were no search results, or bring up a list of matching contacts, across all categories, and selecting one and hitting enter on it should select that category automatically, as well as then focusing on the contacts list box, and might then also, hopefully be focused on the relevant contact there as well.
In terms of the details you will be offered to enter/edit if you choose to add, or edit a contact, the following fields are available - title, surname, name(s), mobile no. work tel. no., home tel. no., eMail address, website, address, and lastly, the description/keywords text field, and this is the data field that will be searched via if/when you do a contact search, by having clicked on the Find button in the main contacts window.

There are also Ok and Cancel buttons on this popup window to either save, or discard data entry/changes, and close that dialogue.
Back to table of contents


The links section is somewhat similar to the contacts section (see above) except that it only offers the ability to then navigate to the website address, along with standard buttons to let you add, edit and remove categories, add, edit and remove links themselves, as well as offering section search functionality, by clicking on the Find button.
In terms of the data entry dialogue for this section, the following fields are being offered/made use of: Title, protocol - standard is just http://, but, you might need/want to select the others for certain specific types of links -, and another description/keywords text field, which is again, the one that gets made use of when searching for a link, via the Find button.
Lastly, in this section, the Close button will again then revert focus back to the main window.
Back to table of contents

Text notes

The text notes are meant for just that - text content notes, catalogued under their own set of categories, including the _general category, which can't be renamed or removed, and this section also offers a category list box, add, edit and remove buttons for categories, followed by a list box for the notes themselves from the selected category - for example, you could use/add categories for subjects ranging from shopping lists, to forms of diary/log entries, to recipes, etc. etc.

Then, after that, there is again a list box for the notes themelves, with add, edit, remove and find buttons thereafter, with the same Close button at the bottom.
The actual content editing dialogue for the text notes only contains two fields, which are the note title, which you will see in the list box, etc., and the actual note contents multi-line plain text box, which is, obviously, the main field here, since it's also the data that gets searched when you click on the Find button on the main window of the text notes section window.
Back to table of contents

Text file eBook reader

This section is designed/meant to help with the reading of eBook content in simple text files, and will attempt to remember the last page you were in/on the last time you read a specific file, etc., but that is based on the file name itself, and thus if you open a different file, but which has the same file name, it might think you had been busy reading a specific page of that file at some prior stage.
Along the lines of what it refers to as pages, it's also just using chunks of 2Kb = 2048 characters to split each text file into pages/chunks to use for referral to a version of chunk size when reading, and for later reference to help you return to the same page the next time you reload a specific book. It is also making sure not to break apart any words/concatenated strings when doing this form of content separation/splitting though.
There are both buttons and menu items to handle all the functionality here, and, for example, you can use the set folder/directory functionality to make it remember which folder/directory location you want to use as a starting point when next trying to open an eBook file, and aside from that, open file will let you choose a text file to load, read will read the currently selected page chunk, next and previous page functionality will either jump forward or reverse content focus one chunk at a time, and then carry on reading, and choosing a page lets you choose a specific page to move focus to, and it will automatically try remember which page chunk you were focused on when you then exit this section.
Lastly, this is meant to help you read text file eBooks, and thus just uses either your screen reader's own spoken text, or will try use the Microsoft SAPI voice otherwise, and thus, any setting related to voice chosen, speed, punctuation levels, etc. etc. are related to other/external settings...<smile>
Back to table of contents

Installation, etc.

The framework used to implement an actual graphical user interface (GUI) for this piece of software is the wxPython GUI toolkit, and I am thus primarily working in the actual Python programming language, in this case.
Either way, this means that while this software might install, and run quite happily on most, relatively modern instances of windows operating systems, it does require a form of system-wide component, called the Visual C++ runtime, and if you want to try installing that first, or afterwards, here's a direct link to download the Microsoft Visual C++ 2008 Redistributable setup, and, the actual link to let you download the setup package to try installing the bzPersonalAssistant software can be found here.
And, lastly, if you have issues, or questions, or suggestions about additional features you'd like me to consider trying to implement, please contact me.