31 Jan 2002 rupert   » (Journeyer)

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 (rupe@arrow.yak.net), and I'd be happy to oblige.

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