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Author Topic: A "better Voice" for BXVC  (Read 86987 times)

HA Dave

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A "better Voice" for BXVC
« on: February 17, 2007, 04:55:20 PM »

.../ Female Voice to Replace MS Mary

[TTA Edit: Split off from BXVC Main Thread, per Dave's list; gave 'temporary' title. ;) ]


Well....With the holidays behind me I returned to getting my voice to the Voice Commander.

GLT had explained (earlier post) in detail how to use an intercom - making some modifications. Knowing that would work (thanks to GLT and Don H) I had decided to try a cheaper alliterative, Walmart's least costly.. The Safety 1st Crystal Clear "baby monitor." at $17 (US dollars).

The Safety 1st Crystal Clear really is "Crystal Clear" as I am sure lots of new audio devices are (as my hearing getting more muffled). Actually I tried several different things, wired microphones, a wireless mic, a bluetooh headset/comm-badge. EVERYTHING worked! That is, everything worked as a replacement to a microphone. Nothing worked well as a multiple unit set-up.

After having some extra spare time (snowed in) and then a PM with TTA and an IM (X10 yahoo chat?) with Bill (of BXVC). I re-attempted the "baby monitors." (Thank-you both for your ideas and information)

This time I setup two sending/broadcasting units on appliance modules. And wrote a couple simple marcos that only allow one monitor on at a time. The receiving unit stays on with the computer. Right now, I am switching locations (sending units) using a two button remote (KR19A). But will be getting some HawkEye motion sensors to automate the switching. But will keep the remote as an over-ride.

Plus..this is Bill's idea... I will be adding a couple "follow me" commands to BXVC. (computer...follow me to my office). BXVC will handle the switching of the broadcasting units for me. Triggering one unit to turn off, and another to turn on (a Macro).

AHP $50, each room (Monitor + appliance module) $27, BXVC....... PRICELESS.


[TTA Edit: As per our PM conversation, SPLIT off from the main BXVC Daily 'Coffee Klatch':

Quote from: Dave_x10_L

...I read through the BXVC thread (yet again) and complied a list ...of posts that consist of me, tuicemen and glt discussing better voices (listed below). They are classic "Coffee Klotch", but would provide real usable info as a thread (I think).

I don't know what to do here... I could write something... but I really think the "posts" say it all. Maybe, just combined in a thread called "Selecting a voice for BXVC (complied from the BXVC thread)"...
][/size]
« Last Edit: April 10, 2007, 05:32:28 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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HA Dave

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2007, 11:05:01 PM »

Since the whole concept rides on having only one microphone on at a time (but always one) it's important that the mic thats on... is in voice range.

Following up on Bill's idea... of adding "follow me" commands to BXVC. (computer...follow me to ......). BXVC will handle the switching of the broadcasting units for me. First I created a macro that switches the microphones...triggering one unit to turn off, and another to turn on.  After spending some frustrating time correcting (thanks for the help Tuicemen) a poorly conceived macro, I do have one "follow me" command written and running.

When leaving my office the voice command "follow me upstairs" triggers a macro that turns ON the upstairs mic... then turns OFF the downstairs mic.... waits a few seconds, then turns OFF the office lights.

When BXVC "hears" the OFF for the office microphone MS Marys says "moving upstairs" (so I know the lights will be turning off behind me).

As soon as I get my HawkEye motion sensors...... A motion sensor in the office will trigger a macro that turns the lights ON as well as the upstairs mic OFF and Office mic ON. The motions sensors OFF signal will trigger nothing. So I won't need to move around to keep the lights and mic on.

If I forget to tell BXVC to follow me upstairs, I can use my two button remote to switch to the upstairs mic, then use BXVC to turn off the office lights. Since the remote only triggers a macro (not the actual appliance modules the monitors are plugged into) I only use one button to switch microphones (no matter how many mics I add). 




« Last Edit: February 21, 2007, 11:10:16 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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TakeTheActive

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2007, 12:41:33 PM »

[An (obvious, at least to me ;) ) observation from a BXVC LURKER / FAN who, while reading this post, heard several loud DING-DING-DING-DING sounds in his head.]
::) :P OOW!
...First I created a macro that switches the microphones...triggering one unit to turn off, and another to turn on...

...When leaving my office the voice command "follow me upstairs" triggers a macro that turns ON the upstairs mic... then turns OFF the downstairs mic.... waits a few seconds, then turns OFF the office lights.

When BXVC "hears" the OFF for the office microphone MS Marys says "moving upstairs" (so I know the lights will be turning off behind me).

As soon as I get my HawkEye motion sensors...

...If I forget to tell BXVC to follow me upstairs, I can use my two button remote... to switch to the upstairs mic, then use BXVC to turn off the office lights. Since the remote only triggers a macro (not the actual appliance modules the monitors are plugged into) I only use one button to switch microphones (no matter how many mics I add).

While you're waiting for your HawkEyes, you can certainly trigger the 'Motion Detected' Macros with a 'spare' two (four / eight) button remote from your JunkBox. They're also good for troubleshooting / debugging. (During writing / designing, I use a wired Mini-Controller to trigger.)

While I started out with BSR/SEARS wired Maxi-Controllers(16), and then added RadioShack wired Mini-Controllers(8 ), it was a no-brainer to switch to wireless PalmPads(16) when, during some X10 *DEAL* in the past 20 years, they were giving one away *FREE* with every ?I Don't Remember What Anymore?. With the addition of the CM11A, a few of the old 2 AAA boxy two button controllers were strategically placed to allow access to 4 macros (8 with the addition of the HARD-TO-FIND mercury-tilt switch in the battery compartment). And, most recently, a 4-FOR-1 X10 *DEAL* augmented my JunkBox with some wireless Credit Card Controllers(4) (But I just *HATE* getting nailed for those extra BUCKS at Battery-Replacement-Time! >:( ).

Anyhow, that's my 1½ cents worth on the subject... ;)
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HA Dave

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2007, 06:00:57 PM »


While you're waiting for your HawkEyes, you can certainly trigger the 'Motion Detected' Macros with a 'spare' two (four / eight) button remote from your JunkBox. They're also good for troubleshooting / debugging. (During writing / designing, I use a wired Mini-Controller to trigger.)


Yep... I do have plenty of remotes in the big plastic box. And in my office I have a palmpad, a small screw driver, and a chart of the codes I am using (and what they do). The 2 button remote.... the way the macros are triggered..... becomes a 4 button remote, as the off buttons can trigger separate actions (Bill's idea). The keychain remote will end-up on my keychain as a back-up/override.

I am only a couple (how many are in a couple?) macros away from putting a palmpad or two in a drawer!

Thats one of the reasons I get so hopped up about BXVC! When I go (downstairs) to the theater to watch a movie, one voice command sets up the lighting (of course I still have to manually insert a DVD). One button on my Harmony/Logotech remote starts the movie and turns off lights. Another button brings up exit lighting when the movie ends.

BXVC is not only REALLY COOL it's eliminating the button pushing.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2009, 07:30:43 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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HA Dave

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2007, 09:53:40 PM »


While you're waiting for your HawkEyes, you can certainly trigger the 'Motion Detected' Macros with a 'spare' two (four / eight) button remote from your JunkBox. They're also good for troubleshooting / debugging. (During writing / designing, I use a wired Mini-Controller to trigger.)

I am only a couple (how many are in a couple?) macros away from putting a palmpad or two in a drawer!

Thats one of the reasons I get so hopped up about BXVC! ..................BXVC is not only REALLY COOL it's eliminating the button pushing.

Well ......I have good news!
I wrote the marcos and it's awesome! The only reason I needed a pampad by my easy chair was to view the (security) cameras. One I use to check the garage door (to make sure it's closed) but I like to scan through all of them. And now I can simply ask MS Mary to scan the cameras, the macro cycles through the cams (even turns a floodlight on for a better view) and then turns off.

One PalmPad remote is now in the drawer! The endstand is less cluttered.... WAF should go up.

 
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glt

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2007, 08:38:32 AM »

Hey Dave,

Glad to see ya working well w/ VR - but you should really get some BETTER voices! MS Mary sounds lke Bill Gates's wife to me - i.e. just another computer. I use AT&T voices (which I beleve are no longer available for sale in an unrestricted version).

I call my computer "Michelle" (really AT&T's Crystal 16 bit voice), and oddly enough really missed "her" last week after killing my Kiosk touchscreen computer (plugging in a DVD player while  the computer was on - smart huh?). Well somehow that only messed up XP startup files, and "Michelle" is back now.

You should have seen the look on my yard person's face when I told her that "I had killed Michelle".

Anyway, HS sells these now: http://store.homeseer.com/store/HomeSeer-Voices-Kate-and-Paul-P261C68.aspx

and a little googleing or a trip to cocoontech.com should find some others. You WON'T be disappointed!

And I think Bill is still working on IR control with the USB-UIRT - so save some money for that. Controlling IR equipment with voice is REALLY cool.

GLT

P.S. Bill : While reading a little on USB-UIRT seems people found it difficult to learn some remotes to it, but were really happy w/ it overall - "rock solid". Progress update?
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glt

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007, 09:46:15 AM »

Dave,

Interesting thread involving NextUP and AT&T voices:

http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=119361

Note they are somewhat heavy users of processor power, and always require permission from firewalls.


Bill,

Tuiceman has an email activation system for payment - maybe ask it how well it works. I was hoping mostly for cheap IR to add to cheap VR - making an inexpensive assisted living system possible. IR is probably the key to the whole picture (I see Tuiceman adding VR to the dialer program), so maybe IR could be part of BVC's "plus" package.

Be careful of licensing though, I mean X-10 apparently has few programmers left and the next "must have" plugins would surely be VR and IR control. How can you sell to (or work for) them when you have already licensed your product to users? Just a wild idea.

GLT
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Tuicemen

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 02:04:59 PM »

Quote from:
Dave,

Interesting thread involving NextUP and AT&T voices:

http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=119361

Note they are somewhat heavy users of processor power, and always require permission from firewalls
I've been a little concerned with this as well as I'd like to use other voices with my programs
The samples you play over the internet give one no real idea of how they will play on their system.
How ever I have found Voices which you can download, install and test on your system to make sure they are going to perform correctly for you!
Cepstal makes several Voices although I'm sure there are other companies that offer this same option!
The few I've tried ran fine with BXVC, X10WavPlayer,X10dispatch,and AlertDialer But do test them on your system first to be sure! ;) :D
Note: you need the 8 bit versions to work with telephone Programs like AlertDialer over the phone line!
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 02:08:34 PM by Tuicemen »
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HA Dave

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #8 on: February 27, 2007, 07:06:41 PM »

Quote from:
Dave,

Interesting thread involving NextUP and AT&T voices:

http://board.homeseer.com/showthread.php?t=119361

Note they are somewhat heavy users of processor power, and always require permission from firewalls
I've been a little concerned with this as well as I'd like to use other voices with my programs
The samples you play over the internet give one no real idea of how they will play on their system.
How ever I have found Voices which you can download, install and test on your system to make sure they are going to perform correctly for you!
Cepstal makes several Voices although I'm sure there are other companies that offer this same option!
The few I've tried ran fine with BXVC, X10WavPlayer,X10dispatch,and AlertDialer But do test them on your system first to be sure! ;) :D
Note: you need the 8 bit versions to work with telephone Programs like AlertDialer over the phone line!

Thanks for the input GLT and Tuicemen!

I've been doing some searching and reading on the voices. And I've discovered Anna, Microsoft's new voice in Vista. But I haven't found a way to own and use it other than upgrading the PC that is running BXVC. Which is disappointing as I just bought a Vista laptop.

Mean-while I've been working on the 1st things 1st. I created some nice little macros, and I am more than pleased with the way BXVC is working with the microphone (baby monitors) switching. I had to change my dryer receptacle and dryer plug to use the phase coupler I bought, and also had to modify the AHP interface antenna. With the system stable I have been back to creating marcos (some more successful than others) and trying to automate some of the ways I use X10. Then creating a command that replaces a series of button pushes.

So far my original command of "theater On", which sets up my pre-movie lighting is the most impressive, and hassle saving. I also created a "camera scan" command that turns on the video sender/receiver units, then scans through my security cameras in a pre-set manner, then shuts the last camera and video down. I was less then successful at setting up motion sensors to switch microphones, but voice commands work well with follow me commands (computer....follow me to the office....).

I have worked at getting the computers sounds (voice) back to me. If I remember the posts correctly... GLT is using X10 sound power units, and Tuicemen is using 900MHz wireless speakers. I tested my video (with sound) sender/receiver units over the weekend... and with cameras, wireless broadband, and wireless phone already in use.... I am afraid I have tied up the 2.4MHz (sound power I THINK). I have also thought about just fishing a small wire and plugging in another speaker.

I will continue to update this thread as I make more progress.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 09:58:48 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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glt

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2007, 08:07:44 PM »

Yes - soundpower is 2.4 ghz and uses the same channels as the wireless cams..

The microwave can be a BIG problem unless you kill the power to soundpower while you use the microwave (I described how I did this in an earlier post).

BUT the soundpower is cool for several reasons:

1. RF wireless remote - works through walls  - my system  is in the attic.

2. Maintains Bass, Treble, Balance and Volume settings even when it loses power.

3. Durable - mine has been in a hot FL attic for 3 or 4 years.

However, wired is ALWAYS better than wireless if you can do it. I'm also quite impressed w/ my RS ceiling speakers which I picked up on sale for $20 each.

I'm quite partial to AT&T voices but you can sample many on this page:

http://nextup.com/TextAloud/SpeechEngine/voices.html#morefreevoices

I use Crystal which is quite good , but I'm so impressed w/ the British Audrey that I may buy her as well. I played the sample for my English friends this morning and they thought she was a real person!

GLT

« Last Edit: February 27, 2007, 08:12:17 PM by glt »
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Tuicemen

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2007, 10:35:54 PM »

One thing to note!
The Morefreevoices refered to by glt are sapi 4 voices created for the Lernout & Hauspie Text To Speech engines  many newer programs don't support them!
Including BXVC,X10dispatcher and my programs, although  the MSAgent version of X10wavPlayer does! ;)
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glt

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2007, 07:42:51 AM »

One thing to note!
The Morefreevoices refered to by glt are sapi 4 voices created for the Lernout & Hauspie Text To Speech engines  many newer programs don't support them!
Including BXVC,X10dispatcher and my programs, although  the MSAgent version of X10wavPlayer does! ;)

Yeah those are on the bottom of the page - should have been a link to the top of the page like this:

http://nextup.com/TextAloud/SpeechEngine/voices.html

But anyway, it's the same page so just scroll up (or down).

GLT


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HA Dave

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2007, 10:22:59 AM »

Here is a Page at Microsoft that lists all the voice's I've heard of.

« Last Edit: February 28, 2007, 02:26:19 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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HA Dave

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2007, 10:16:05 PM »

I looked and listened to several "better voices" online (voices better than MS Mary, Mike or Sam). Some require an engine that is different then the microsoft SAPI.... IF I understand this correctly.... and I am not sure I do.

I emailed Neospeech and asked about the Kate16 and Paul voices.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ken White - NextUp.com" <kdwhite@nextup.com>
To: "myname" <atmyname>
Sent: Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Subject: Re: I have a short question


> Kate and Paul will work with it.
>
> Ken White
> NextUp.com
> The Power of Spoken Audio
> http://www.NextUp.com
>
> ** Check out the exciting new voices from NextUp.com and NeoSpeech at
> http://www.nextup.com/neospeech.html
>
>
> Dave_X10 L wrote:
>> I am using a home automation product that runs ONLY on microsoft
SAPI speech. Will I be able to use Kate and Paul 16 on the microsoft
engine? Or do I need an engine that you use?



11mar07 an update:

I ordered the Kate and Paul Voice both 8 and 16 bit voices are included (Tuicemen provided this link) [/b]
« Last Edit: March 11, 2007, 12:45:04 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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HA Dave

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Re: Dave's Never-Ending Search for a Good Woman...
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2007, 10:38:30 PM »

I ordered the Kate and Paul Voice both 8 and 16 bit voices are included (Tuicemen provided this link) [/b]

I just installed the voices, despite the install warning that said it requires homeseer software to use the voices (I don't have homeseer). It installed and runs fine with my microsoft standard XP Pro software!

I haven't listened to Paul yet... but I am running Kate16 now. I swear to God...on my system she sounds just like Seven-of-nine!

 
« Last Edit: March 29, 2007, 09:18:56 PM by Dave_x10_L »
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