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Name: Rupert Scammell
Member since: 2000-12-27 10:51:11
Last Login: N/A

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I'm 22 years old, and live in San Francisco, California. My email address is

My current major project is alice, a multi- purpose voice controlled software package for car computer systems, with voice feedback. Version 1.0 will be released in early January, 2002, and will include the core processing system, and an MP3 player sample module. Future modules may provide real- time navigation information, email, etc.

Past projects include:

WMLGen 0.03b: WML generation and management in Python
pyfi 2.0: Financial functions for Python
wax: A WML front- end to the WAX utility program, using WMLGen.
compound2: A little script for calculating compound interest.
XYak: A utility for the retrieval of net information via cellular email.
MP3View 2.0: A console based MP3 playlist viewer.
Greet 1.0: A voice greeting program for Python
crystal pre- 1: A server for the control of LCD screens.
mwsynth 2.0: Internet speech synthesis.


Recent blog entries by rupert

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\LARGE{This weekend, I learnt how to format and write simple
 documents using \LaTeX~!}
It's amazing how easy the language is to learn and use, and
how good it makes documents look.  I think I'm going to
start doing the documentation for ALICE in both plaintext
and PostScript.

Submitted a patch to fix a couple of cursor movement bugs in pyCFontz, an LCD control library that's part of the mpy3 package, another car MP3 player. It was accepted and integrated very quickly by the maintainer, which was a pleasant surprise. ALICE uses the API from this project for LCD display control also, so it benefits both applications.

Concurrently, I've been making lots of small fixes, and adding final polish to ALICE. Now that the architecture's stable, I've been making the code more readable, breaking out some redundant bits and pieces of code into functions, adding a few more events to each of the core speech and LCD display modules, and still finding the occasional bug :-) The whole app is starting to feel like it's very together, which is a gratifying sensation after 6 months of work.

I do hope that users will enjoy the voice controlled MP3 module that comes with ALICE, and developers will find the available modules easy to work with, and useful for creating voice controlled apps. Potential applications are limitless, but could include things as diverse as a system monitor (disk space, CPU use, memory, users, etc) , an X-10 appliance controller, a voice datebook/calendar, a news and info reader, a data acquisition monitor (with customized voice alarms), a GPS navigation system, and so on...

--- Rupert
bratsche: Very good to see someone else playing with open source speech recognition. CMU Sphinx is a fine application. Best of luck with the project!

--- Rupert
Advogato stats (2002-02-02)

(courtesy of /bin/grep and /usr/bin/nl)

Current number of Advogatoans: 5776
Observer users: 3329
Apprentice users: 548
Journeyer users: 1422
Master users: 477


Added dynamic module registration to ALICE's event distribution server. Now only a single entry in the config file is required to get a module registered (as opposed to having to modify the source, as was the case before).

Happy birthday jmallett!

--- Rupert
fxn - MyAdvogato looks like a really neat project. Keep up the good work!

'Mobile Application Server'?

I noticed that a company called aligo seems to have their own project that they are calling a 'mobile application server'. Our definitions of the term seem to differ a bit. They're developing a small-footprint application server for handheld devices, that's J2ME based, and provides centralized messaging, sync services, etc.

ALICE, which I'm also calling a 'mobile application server', focuses on providing speech recognition, speech synthesis, and LCD display services for hands-free applications. ALICE is intended to be used in situations where using conventional input methods (mouse, keyboard) might be impractical or dangerous (i.e. while driving). The app is also intended to run on a larger footprint platform than a handheld, such as a laptop or permanently installed system in a car. I've also thought about using ALICE in my house, in conjunction with a module that'd control X-10 devices, and take advantage of the permanent DSL connection to provide news and other useful information on demand.

A little project history

A very early version of this system was developed back when the Ricochet wireless modem service was still alive. The input device that I used was a little kids PDA called a Cybiko, that had a full (if microscopic) QWERTY keyboard, along with an RS-232 port, and a terminal program. Via a P- 133 box running RedHat 6.2 in the trunk, I got a serial console running on it, and used MP3View to play MP3s. After several of my friends expressed some concern about me trying to squint at the 4 point type on the screen, while trying to navigate the fast lane on H- 101, I decided to use voice recognition instead. What started as a simple attempt to clean up the codebase that I'd been using resulted in a total, and much needed re- architecture, that made the whole system modular and easier to maintain. Thus, ALICE was born. Muhahaha :-)
The reference to Ricochet above was in relation to the fact that the original version would grab and parse RSS feeds from CNN on demand, parse them, and then speech synthesize the headlines. It was kludgy, though, and after Ricochet went away, it became less of a priority.

Happy Hacking!

--- Rupert

P.S. If anyone would actually like to play with a pre- beta release of the project, drop me an email (, and I'd be happy to oblige.

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