20 Feb 2001
(updated 20 Feb 2001 at 02:08 UTC) »
Further progress ... my telephony gunk is now able to call
me up on my cell phone and annoy me. Ring detection when
dialing out turns out to be surprisingly hard, though - it
seems that there's no way to tell if someone has picked up
the phone in the middle of a ring until we fail to detect
the next one. I suspect that voice data will fool the
ring-detection filter, too. Perhaps the suggestion to use
the speech recognizer to detect rings and pick-up is not so
far fetched after all.
There is also a fair amount of black magic involved in
getting the IXJ card to play DTMF tones correctly; the
duration of the tones is magic (180ms on and 45ms off are
the magic numbers supplied in the SDK, and other values tend
to fail randomly), and also, it seems necessary to pause for
at least a hundred milliseconds or so after setting the
device off-hook, or it will fail to report tone state
appropriately, causing none of the tones to be played
correctly at all. Ah well. I keep telling myself "we build
voices, not IVR systems" and that excuses all this ad-hockery.
I'm gaining a certain amount of sympathy for the idea of
retiring to the countryside to grow fruit trees and "dealing
in units of time no shorter than a fortnight". Yeah, a
Jargon File reference (I think). So shoot me. (I have to
be careful about saying that in the US, I guess)
I managed to fry the motherboard in my home machine when
transplanting it into a new case, resulting in much cursing,
swearing, weeping, and gnashing of teeth. The 'whisper'
power supply that I bought is, in fact, very quiet, though.
So presuming I don't fry the replacement motherboard, I
should finally have a machine suitable for leaving on all
the time and hence running mail, web, music, and wireless
Still waiting for CMU to make another Sphinx release, as
well as releasing the training tools and so forth.
I must admit that there are some things I like quite a lot
about Red Hat 7. Being able to enable and disable inetd
services with chkconfig(8) is pretty swell. Having
POP3 and IMAP over SSL configured by default is as well
(though of course one must still upgrade stunnel to a
non-vulnerable version). It's a bit frustrating when it
takes longer to download and install all the urgently needed
updates (over a T1, natch) than it does to install the
distribution itself, though.
I'm still regretting that I failed to snag a Conectiva 6.0
CD at LinuxWorld. By all accounts it sounds like the best
of the RPM-based systems yet; they seem to have their heads
screwed on straight with regard to security (shipping BIND
in a chroot jail by default, for instance) and
upgradability (well, if their APT port is any good, at least).
That said, I'm still waiting for one of the RPM based
distributions to get rid of Sendmail as the default MTA in
favour of Exim or Postfix... then I might actually consider
using one on my own machines.
I actually sent a piece of snail-mail today that was not a
parcel or rent cheque. Trying to hook up again with yet
another old friend who has managed to avoid the rise of the
Internet entirely, it seems. I keep half-heartedly
names on Google wondering if they might have resurfaced
on-line, but haven't had much luck.