General discussion

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  • #2316979

    An idea


    by the young one ·

    In the spirit of everything becoming “easier” i have noticed some great little features becoming available on mobile phones that haven’t quite caught on in IT.

    An example is the voice tag feature for speed dials. With the latest mobiles, you can press a button, say your best mates name and boom, it starts calling him.

    Wouldn’t it be great if you could just say “Start Full Backup” and the tech workstation would begin the process of backing up the system?

    Couldn’t be that hard, it would just be an ‘on event’ script caused by a common trigger, and with speech recognition already available.

    Anyone else like to see this sort of stuff start happening?

All Comments

  • Author
    • #2741003

      Love it :)

      by oldefar ·

      In reply to An idea

      Wasn’t it Windows 3.1 where voice commands were available? I know it was by the early 1990’s, and may have been before that. Then there were those commercials for the feature.

      I had to chuckle. I remember coming up with this great idea to use the car engine to charge the battery. My dad almost wet himself laughing before finally taking me out to the family car and showing me the alternator. Oh well.

      I don’t know when that capability was dropped from the settings, but I can’t find it on 2000. Maybe on the CD?

    • #2740982

      Human factor …

      by jardinier ·

      In reply to An idea

      Because of the fallibility of the human memory, important procedures could easily be forgotten. I would much prefer to have the system set up for regular back-up, with a visual and audio announcement: “Scheduled back-up now starting. Expected time, 2 hours 23 minutes (or whatever).”

      Or if you go for the voice recognition, how about a suble warning if you forget to issue a command at the appropriate time. Following Microsoft’s lead it could be something like: an ear-splitting “Ding!” with the message: “You have failed to remember a scheduled operation. You will be shot at dawn.”

      • #2740954

        Add feedback loop

        by oldefar ·

        In reply to Human factor …

        I like your idea, but a feedback loop might help. First the ear-splitting warning and message. Next, an electrical surge to the chair of the miscreant – high voltage, low current. A doubling of both volume and voltage with each subsequent offense could serve as reinforcement.

    • #2740933

      Actually, it already exists

      by lordinfidel ·

      In reply to An idea

      Dragon’s Naturally speaking can do this already.

      From their site:
      Perform complex tasks on your computer instantly with a spoken word or phrase. Create your own specialized commands-from simple dictation shortcuts to scripting commands that can automate virtually any process.

      I personally don’t use it.

      But this would not be good for tasks that should be automated anyways, like backups.

      But I guess it would be cool to sit at your pc and instead of clicking on a icon, to just say the programs name and it would launch.

      • #2740775


        by ghstinshll ·

        In reply to Actually, it already exists

        …The stuff isn’t just for dictation……. (-:{

        I loved that “alternator” story above…


    • #2740893

      I like silence.

      by admin ·

      In reply to An idea

      I actually automated my house extensively at one point, including voice commands. As long as you kept it simple it worked. By the time the voice activated television remotes were on the market, I had already decided that I enjoy typing, pressing buttons and being generally silent as I go about my business. I find it easier to point and click while someone is on the phone with me, and kind of silly to be alone in my office saying “Computer:Check Mail” etc.

      Sounds good on Dexters Lab, Silent Running, 2001 and of course when Kirk speaks….. but I didn’t like it in real life.

      The new cell phone feature with the photo transmission is interesting to… now to find the old RS modified rf scanner and the source code for the protocol and proggy, eh?


    • #2740889

      I like the idea, but…

      by dbgirl ·

      In reply to An idea

      I downloaded a program awhile back that used voice commands to automate tasks on my pc. It was okay, but it got a little annoying. Something about how I talk, and I went through the training, is hard for the computer to understand. It’s really unnerving to say something to your computer, and have it say “I don’t understand.” The programs come with a training program that you are supposed to read out loud so the computer will understand you, but that’s kinda funny too. The one I downloaded had you read stories to your computer to train it. That was about 2 years ago, so maybe the program has improved. I don’t remember the name of it, but it was freeware.

      • #2740754

        I am not surprised …

        by jardinier ·

        In reply to I like the idea, but…

        that a downloadable freeware version would be ineffective. As mentioned in another posting, Dragon’s Naturally Speaking seems to be the current favourite.
        Then there was IBM’s Via Voice, but I don’t know if it is still available.
        Voice Recognition is also included in certain sofware packages.

        • #2740575

          freeware not the problem…

          by dbgirl ·

          In reply to I am not surprised …

          I actually did try Dragon’s Naturally Speaking as well. It really didn’t work any better for me than the freeware. Something about the way I speak just doesn’t work well with these programs. I have a coworker who used the freeware program with great success. I think it has something to do with the fact that I tend to not speak loud enough. I try, but it takes a lot of concentration.

        • #2739064

          A couple of ideas ….

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to I am not surprised …

          Most likely you have already thought of other possible solutions, but I will make a couple of suggestions anyhow.
          You could buy a high sensitivity directional microphone from an audio shop;
          You could visit a speech therapist to see if there is any easy way of strenghtening your voice.
          Good luck in your quest for a solution.

        • #2739044


          by dbgirl ·

          In reply to A couple of ideas ….

          I can speak louder, and that helps the program understand me. I just don’t see the point in it. I might get a higher sensitivity microphone, someday when it is important to me.

          I do appreciate the suggestions though.

    • #2740666

      Reply To: An idea

      by djent ·

      In reply to An idea

      Seems like a lot of work to avoid clicking on a shportcut called full backup or automated backups are even better.

      • #2740579

        You have to laugh

        by the young one ·

        In reply to Reply To: An idea

        It’s great to see that there’s still humour left in all of us after all the fun we go thru all week…

        I joked to a taxi driver about this idea earlier today, and he loved it, thought it was wizz bang.

        As far as the practicality goes, yeah having an automated backup is the way to go, but having the availability to do your tasks by just speaking across the room could be useful when you have your hands tied up (not literally)…

        I know what you mean by having to train your software with long passages that you read in your office to your computer, thus confirming the rumours in the office that you ARE obsessed with your machine. That irritating software, is now a ‘Windows Experience Office Feature’ and you can even read Bill’s vision for Microsoft.

        Seriously though, I think it’s really important to let your mind wander sometimes after you’ve finished a task, and think about how you can do things better, or faster, and you’d be surprised as to how often these day dreams can save you a lot of grief down the track…

        Just some thoughts anyways.

        • #2739296

          It’s here already …

          by jardinier ·

          In reply to You have to laugh

          Australia’s (Govt controlled but not for long) landline telephone corporation is already using voice commands for enquiries. Instead of selecting from a menu (1, 2, 3 etc) you are asked to speak your enquiry.
          The same system is used when ordering taxis in Sydney. You are required to respond verbally to a series of automated queries, and lo, the taxi comes to collect you.

        • #2739809

          Reply To: An idea

          by djent ·

          In reply to You have to laugh

          My point is that increasing complexity, system overhead and cost for the sake of a nominal conveinience is not an improvement. KISS

    • #2740580

      Voice integrated into next system

      by tomsal ·

      In reply to An idea

      Since my company develops its own business operations database system and its totally unique for our industry..being that I’m on the support end of our employees I had some suggestions for voice use with this new system…

      1) User action: Incorrectly types in a non-existent vendor or facility location ID.

      Current system: Will display a text box “Invalid Location ID”

      • #2740578

        ..what the *&#(!?

        by tomsal ·

        In reply to Voice integrated into next system

        Sorry my post got mysteriously submitted before it was done..weird….

        here goes:

        Since my company develops its own business operations database system and its totally unique for our industry..being that I’m on the support end of our employees I had some suggestions for voice use with this new system…

        1) User action: Incorrectly types in a non-existent vendor or facility location ID.

        Current system: Will display a text box “Invalid Location ID”

        New voice system says : “That location didn’t exist the last 10 times your entered it, what makes you think it will exist now?”

        2) User Action: User accidentially deletes a workorder before its processed.

        Current system: Displays a type mistmatch error.

        New system says: “Your screwed”

        3) User action: While waiting for his/her report to generate (all 500 pages) the user slams their keyboard or their mouse in frustration, screaming “This damn thing is so slow..”

        Current system: Shows progress bar in lower left portion of screen.

        New system: “Hey jacka$$ if you didn’t install all those chat programs, fancy screensavers, clog up my hard drive with 2 gigs of downloaded MP3’s on company time and try to run a 500 page report that pulls from 4 tables 10 minutes before you are trying to go home — maybe I’d be able to work a little faster you ungrateful little sh–……restarting report now…have a nice day” 🙂

        That’s about the best use of voice in a system I can think of…a system that is honest back to the user. 😉

        • #2740567

          Where can I get a copy?

          by mrbill- ·

          In reply to ..what the *&#(!?

          I would love to install that software on a few user where I used to work, it would finally teach them something, yea right.

        • #2739252

          Been there, done that, do better

          by deadly ernest ·

          In reply to Where can I get a copy?

          Several years ago we loaded Dragon Dictate onto a PC for a manager who had major elbow problems that made typing very difficult. The biggest problem was that he could not hold a conversation in his office as the software had a large list of words that triggered actions and many were used in normal conversation. Like he would say I will do that report tomorrow and a report on what was on the screen would start printing, etc.

          His problem always put me in mind of some of those science fiction stories where the voice activated computer responded to everything. thus if two kids started yelling at each other the system went burko carrying out the commands.

          In the mid 1980’s I visited an office where they did a lot of development and research work on software, the programmers had all sorts of weird things programmed into their computers. One was that hitting any key, except the designated safe key, whilst the system was in ‘saver’ mode resulted in an agry voice telling you to f*** off as you ahd stuffed the computer, followed by a loud bang and the screen looking like it just blew up and was on fire. I liked it, stopped visitors from playing with things.

          Sound activation has been around for a long time. In the 1970’s there used to be a sound activated switch you could get for your lights, clap your hands and the switch changed states; first clap lights on, another clap lights off. One fellow I knoe thought it was great and had them put throughout the entertaining area of his house, Had a formal dinner party with lots of VIPs, someone said something and a VIP respond with a sarcastic comment and started a slow clap, the lights went on and off like crazy which started everybody clapping in appreciation of the reaction, was a very psychadelic evening. next visit they had been removed.

        • #2739182

          Mute switch

          by mrbill- ·

          In reply to Been there, done that, do better

          In the case of the manager with Dragon Dictate, put a mic mute switch on his desk. A big button with a backlight to show the state. Muted for in office conversations, unmuted for normal VOX.

    • #2740064

      Training, environment and condition

      by dodo2u ·

      In reply to An idea

      As far as I have understood the already existing voice command systems, you have to train the puter in understanding you. Everybody has his/her own way to articulate and the puter should hear and understand you just in your daily/natural way of speech.
      This probably can only be done in a sanitary environment (where no other sounds are present, so: everybody else please shut up; turn that radio down; who is yelling in the corridor?; can you kill that dog?!).
      I use the puter at any time of the day, evening or night, depending on the workload or my digital appetite.
      I know that my speech deteriorates depending on the time of the day/night and proportionally to my consumption of tea, coffee, milk or whisky. Does/would a voice controlled puter be able to still understand me when it is getting late?

    • #2740050

      I Prefer silent PCs

      by thechas ·

      In reply to An idea

      Keep in mind that the voice systems on cell phones have been added as a work around for the limited keyboards and deep menus used on the phones.

      While in a group setting (the bridge on Star Trek comes to mind) vocal interaction with the computer is a good method, I don’t need more reasons for people to give me strange looks.

      Think about this, in a typical office with cubicles, do you want to be forced to listen in as 5 or 6 people around you curse at their computers for not doing what they thought they told them to do?

      I will continue to compute in silence.


    • #2739866

      Why stop with simple voice commands?

      by generalist ·

      In reply to An idea

      Instead of having a simple voice command system for ‘common’ actions, why not have a full feature Artificial Intelligence (AI) that does all of those things automatically, without having to fool around with settings and the like.

      The AI would monitor how you do things and would adapt the ‘common’ actions like backups so that they are done in a reasonable manner. For example, if you have just been playing high powered games on your computer, the AI will wait in the background doing as little as possible while you play.

      But if you are working on business related things, the AI will do what is necessary to keep your work backed up. Better still, the AI would use it’s knowledge of your habits to keep you from making stupid mistakes like NOT saving a document or saving a copied document over its original.

      Think of the AI as being the bridge between you and the ‘perfect’ computer user. It does all of the grunt work that really needs to be done as well as handling the mistakes people make on a periodic basis.

      Better still, the AI could even work up meta-macros that would cross application boundaries. Imagine telling the AI to monitor for a particular incoming email and create different web based documents based upon the response IF the response is understandable enough.

      The possibilities are endless.

      • #2738287

        I like it …

        by jardinier ·

        In reply to Why stop with simple voice commands?

        Currently there is an ad running on Australian TV in which two young male employees are sitting in adjacent booths, playing a fast-action game. The boss walks into the cublicle of player number one, who immediately switches his computer to a work program. Just as the boss starts to say: “You are showing a lot of promise … ” the guy in the other booth leaps around and yells: “Gotcha!”
        So employee No 1 misses out on THAT promotion.
        Well the AI could detect if the boss was monitoring your activity, and switch immediately to a work related program.
        So you could spend as much time as you liked at work visiting adult sites; playing games; or writing personal emails, as the AI could efectively isolate you from monitoring.

        • #2738664

          Better yet.

          by mrbill- ·

          In reply to I like it …

          Why not just teach the AI your job then all you have to do is play/surf whatever. Of course if the AI gets too smart it will get you fired and take your position.

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