Update on Charlie!
Ok folks I've been working hard on Charlie and have to say it's been an experience. Since I'm controlling what Charlie says I have had to become rather adept at new ways to say the same old thing. Not my best area. Charlie is recognizing some speech now (at least with me) but it just goes to prove that your computer has to be trained to recognize your voice (trained well I might add). This process takes a few hours and is rather boring. I have no doubt that children will enjoy the process as talking to a computer and having it talk back to you is an experience.
I will be posting the next alpha on Tuesday of next week for the alpha testers to have a go at and see what it takes to break Charlie. Since the last alpha was released there have been a large number of changes made to the program. There is now a section on the opening form that will allow the end user to type in the text that Charlie should say and then either have Charlie say the text or save the text in a wav file that can be played whenever you like. I am also including 5 themes for the desktop rotator that will give the user a head start on developing themes for their computer. I have around 50 themes that I've developed now and will probably put them online for the end users to download. My personal favorite is the pictures I took of the Kansas City Zoo last month. (I removed the pics of my grandkids first).
This weekend I'm working on getting the text editor working with the speech recognition engine so that the end users will be able to speak and the text editor will type. (Now if Charlie could just hear what I actually am saying instead of what it sounds like I'm saying things will be alright.) I finished writing the installer for Charlie yesterday and while it takes a little bit of time to install it does seem to work with out a glitch (Hah wait till the alpha testers get ahold of it).
I'm attempting to give Charlie some personality while I'm writting it. Problem is my personality is rather dry and sarcastic and I'm afraid that this will show in Charlie's personality. Not exactly what children want to be exposed to. I guess we'll let the alpha team decide how best to handle this. Enough input could help make what is said be more child friendly.
I'm rambling so it's time to cut this episode short and move back into programmer mode.
on adding the code to the new GUI is pure de H e double tooth picks! It's going
slowly. There are a few glitches (when aren't there). I'm slowly getting them
worked out. Most of the errors are my typing of course. My mind is thinking
twice as fast as my fingers can type and my fingers get confused. It doesn't
help that I keep bouncing between classes (different text pages for the computer
illiterate) and forgetting what I typed on which one. Variable created in class
A doesn't exist in class B "Bad variable - must keep up with me and not wonder
At this point I have
the Lockout code written so that the user (or parent or parent over ride) can
lock the program out where it can not be accessed until the password is
entered. I have the program finding the needed directories for the various
functions that it covers with one exception. There appears to be no way to
access the shared files (i.e. Shared Documents, Shared Pictures, ect.) via
Windows XP and my understanding is that this process is even harder to code
automatically into Vista. I guess I'm going to have to rely on user input for
this one (nasty term don't use ever again). Users are apt to say anything and
not realize what they have done. Did I say "say?". Yes say. If all goes well
the speech recognition via Microsoft's Recognition Engine should be ready by the
end of the year. They did the hard part now all I have to do is figure out what
was said, what was meant, and what to do with it (did I say they did the hard
part?) Out of curiosity just how many meanings can one word have? Better yet
how do you get the computer to understand synonyms? The term Butt Ugly gives
this query "Adjective used inappropriately please
explain meaning" and I thought talking to two year olds was
difficult at times silly me!
As Charlie said to
me this afternoon "Your computers shared files are
located on drive one cares and directory lost in Kansas" Don't
ask me where it came up with the Kansas remark. I have the old program still
researching the internet to learn to speak in a more human type language and
obviously Kansas is lost in human speech. I think it must have been researching
on Live Care (Microsoft One Care) to come up with the one cares remark. Hum I
wonder if the computer is actually getting a sarcastic tone with out me
programming it in? LOL The problem is that Charlie couldn't find the Shared
files directory so it tried to come up with a logical response - Not the right
one obviously but most of the comments Charlie has made over the last few months
have not exactly been appropriate. On the bright side I think I have finally
convinced Charlie that some language and references are just flat out not
appropriate. The first beta releases will have the controls re-installed that
control most of the speech output until I am a lot more comfortable with
On the bright side
Charlie does tend to make me laugh and that is precious. Note that I live
alone, am either studying or coding 24/7, don't have a life and one friend that
I go see once a week for breakfast. I need Charlie to make me laugh to break up
the monotony. At some point I should consider having Charlie make a wav file of
what it says just so that I can post some of the more memorable responses. OK
I've been going for 36 hours and I'm not even thinking right. I'm going to
close this Blog entry and head for bed (I know Mother I told you I was going to
bed 2 hours ago). I had just one more little tweak to make before well make
that two -ok three little oh forget it I'm going to bed now.
Greet everyone you
meet tomorrow with a pleasant word or two and see if you can brighten their day
a little. Some one might just surprise you and do the same to
OK I've been working on the Charlie Modules again and this time I actually have the graphical interface completed. Here are a couple of screen shots:
As you can see the GUI looks much better now (at least for those of you that saw the old GUI). I am in the process of moving the code from the old version into this new version and getting it operational. This is not an easy process but it is a process that I can finish.
Now that I am no longer using the Windows Forms library the entire project has become much nicer to look at (at least I think so).
Well I asked for some help with an issue on webrings where my "Join this Ring" link is taking people to some page that doesn't give them the ability to join. Big mistake obviously. The response I got back from Noah was curt and bordering on rude. I'm truly sorry that he apparently doesn't feel that we should be able to join other ring systems. The fact that there is a graphic linking to RingLink on the bottom of my rings home page was obviously offensive to him. Most people don't even get to the bottom of the page so I'm sure that it is not a big issue for most. I paid for a 2.0 membership so that I could get assistance with this issue but if that is the type of assistance that I'm going to get maybe I should reconsider renewing the membership next year.
OK so I'm a little bit upset right now. I will get over it. I am starting to understand what people are talking about when they complain about webrings though. I will get over it and if they ever change me from 1.0 to 2.0 member I may actually get a response from someone that isn't rude.
Hasn't been a good day! Maybe tommorrow will be better. I keep telling myself and others to say something nice to everyone you meet - Noah could use that advice now if any one could. My impression of him so far is that he is a bitter old man and takes it out on everyone. I guess I should feel sorry for him and move on instead of getting angry (best bet but not easy to do). For now I'll find other things to fill my time besides webrings. After all the world doesn't revolve around webrings ring system.
Time to go play with the grandkids. That should improve my mood considerably.
It's been a very long day and I'm tired. I started recoding the Charlie Desktop and making it more "eye pleasing" as my instructor puts it. Don't know if its good to be in school or a pain in the a** but it's school and I only have 6 more months to go. Hardly seems like it's been 18 months since I started this program but it's gone fast. I have to have the alpha ready for my instructor in 3 weeks or so so I'm hoping that I can get it all done that quickly. You know teachers they are never satisfied.
OK well it's late and I'm tired so have a great day tomorrow and says something nice to everyone you meet!
Well I guess I asked for teachers to work with me and I should listen to what they have to say. I know we are still a few months away from actually getting the Charlie Modules out of Alpha testing and into public beta testing but the teachers seem to think that we needed to add a webring for the students since we have one for the teachers. So I created the ring. I realize that both of these rings (Teaching in the 21st century, and Students in the 21st century) probably won't be used much until we do get out of Alpha testing but they are here and we are starting to get them operational.
Ok can we get any busier? Don't worry we are still not out on a limb. Getting close but still a ways to go. Since this last semester in school has just started and we still have 6 months before we have to submit our final design for our product I think we are still in good shape. My product (the Charlie Modules) is about half way completed. We still have some kinks to work out with the voice recognition and the responses are still a little out of wack sometimes but it's better then the first dry run in class a few months ago when the program answered questions totally inappropriately (Still can't figure out how to get it to understand the difference between two words that sound the same but mean totally different things like the word but and butt) I think it interpreted this as the same word because of the way it is used on the internet and since we used the internet to try to teach it I guess it is expected that some of what it says is WRONG!
OK enough for today. I have mega programming to get done and I'm still trying to deal with some of the fall out from the Israels over that stupid Jewish/Jesus webring I culled recently. It's call the grand babies night as well so I'm getting pressed for time. Hope to have better news to give out tomorrow.
Follow up to last nights post
I woke this morning to my computer dinging at me constantly. I had high priority email (a rarity) Seems I managed to create and international incident with out even trying. The Israel sites in the ring I was thinning out were offended that I had removed one of their sites. Seems the site that was deleted turned out to be a government run religious site. The site is managed by a variety of different people and they hadn't gotten my emails. Well I have no problem putting them back into the ring as long as they meet the criteria (in this case only need to add the code back to the site) however, the code keeps getting deleted by someone that probably doesn't need to be working on the site. I finally had to get a little upset with them (at least in tone) and tell them point blank "As long as the code is present they will not be deleted, but when the code disappears so does their membership". It seems this got through to at least one individual who finally realized that they were chewing me out for errors on their own site that I have no control over. From what I can tell (the English part of the emails) this little incident (quite major in Israel) has caused a big stir which it was never intended to create.
It is funny how something so small can turn into an international incident that should have never happened in the first place. One little misunderstanding has turned into something that in my eyes is not worth wasting my time on but in their eyes offends their God. It is man that is offended here because I'm sure God has no interest in this little skirmish. As of now the code has been replaced on the site and the site is back in the ring. The webmaster has promised me that he will screen his assistants more carefully and ensure that they know the importance of not deleting code that has such a major impact in an already tense religious community.
This entire incident should show us all that even the little things can turn into something major in the wrong hands. Had the webmaster contacted me first and worked with me it would have taken just a few minutes and the entire situation would have been resolved. Since he didn't (he was notified after the incident was becoming a major deal) it came close to becoming another incident in a religious war that I have no intention of being involved in. The really funny part of this whole situation is that I don't follow any of the religions involved in this incident. I follow a path that is much older than any of them and am quite secure in it and it's teachings. I am accused of being biased for a religion that I don't even follow.
What a differance the ring site makes
I was recently asked to take over some rings on another ring service that were in desperate need of a manager. I've spent several days now weeding out the sites that either don't have the code on the page, their email bounces, or the site is not even close to the ring content. Then after the site has been deleted for cause I finally get a response from the site owner wanting to know why I deleted their site from the ring. I've taken to just attaching the log of events that the computer keeps for me on each site (ingenious little program I wrote and it's well worth it). The log shows all attempts to validate the site. Emails sent to the site owner, and any notes that I add on what I found. When they respond back and still are angry that I deleted them I tell them to take it to the ring system administrator (who by the way just deletes the emails). 1500 or so web sites when I started and now I'm under 300. I was amazed at the number of sites that didn't even exist anymore. Many of them opened onto an advertising site that had taken over the domain. Surprisingly enough the emails to many of those domains didn't bounce back to me. Now for the clincher: I got responses from a large number of sites that the previous ring manager had assisted them in setting up the code for the ring. The code that he gave them to install linked to his site not the ring site. When an end user clicked on the ring it took them to a phishing site that was obviously attempting to defraud someone. The only thing that was valid about the code that he sent them was their site id which he left intact for some odd reason.
Makes me appreciate the way things are run here on webrings! I may be competing with thousands of rings but they are run well and the system checks and flags the offending sites for you instead of you having to do it manually. Webrings also has a set of predetermined email messages that you can just click and send. This other site you have to write all of your own email messages (another use for that little program of mine).
OK enough with the ranting - at least on this blog it isn't directed at any one and there isn't any one to offend. I really do get tired of seeing some of the stuff that goes on in the shout box as well as some of the messages that I read. People are just cruel that is all there is to it.
<kicks soap box off stage> and now I'm back. I may have to work harder on webrings to get quality sites but the work is well worth it and the people are really interested in having sites in the ring (mostly, there are always those sites that black out the text and background and then run a script over the webrings script).
Hope you all have a great day and remember say something nice to everyone you talk to today. You will be surprised how different your day goes.