Showing posts with label voice. Show all posts
Showing posts with label voice. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The UN Voices Project: Print Advertising That Talks

A truly groundbreaking advertising campaign titled 'The UN Voices Project' was launched by Saatchi & Saatchi Australia earlier this week. Tailored for the United Nations, the new campaign combines innovative creative thinking with cutting edge mobile phone and image recognition technologies. According to Saatchi & Saatchi The UN Voices Project is probably the first attempt to make outdoor posters and press advertisement voice communicating with their targeted audience. Here is how this is done according to and four examples already printed (Click images for high-res versions).

"The campaign features outdoor posters, print and online elements. These are combined to reinforce the message of giving a voice to those whose plight normally goes unseen and unheard."

"People around Sydney are encouraged to take a mobile phone photo of the featured person’s mouth and send it to a number on the poster as a text message."

"Using digital image recognition technology and an Australian first call back service, the sender receives a return phone call with a pre-recorded message from the person they have photographed, giving a brief insight into how they live and highlighting some of the issues they face."

"The message then directs people to a UN website where visitors can leave their own comments and thoughts, turning the original seven voices into thousands."


Product: United Nations
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney
Creatives: David Nobay and Steve Back (Creative Director), VINCE LAGANA (Creatives), Steve Jackson (Creatives)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Skype protocol has been cracked

The proprietary protocol used by Skype for its voip services has been cracked by Chinese programmers, voip startup Vozin Communications co-founder Charlie Paglee reports on

Paglee says on July 12, 2006 - more than a year ago(!) - he received a Skype call from a friend at a company in China telling him he was not using Skype to make the call (screenshot above) claiming "his company has successfully reverse engineered the Skype protocol". The friend was after testing the new software with another end user in the United States to see how it worked between physically distant IP addresses.

According to Paglee the Chinees programmers reverse engineered a protocol that was not protected by patent. According to Chinese company CEO, their software will not support Skype’s Super Node technology... digg that :)


Friday, August 17, 2007

Skype outage: supernode shortage?

If I am not mistaken we are getting close to the 48 hours line of the world major voip service provider failing to provide its service. Remember we are not only talking about (millions of...) 'free' users who pay nothing and enjoy the ride. Many Skype users I know have good American money invested in their SkypeOut accounts. They use it as a major international communication tool, Including for business. this is a very very problematic situation for Skype.

I have read many explanations by now. According to Valery Marchuk from an exploit code published by an anonymous user on their forum may be the reason. Marchuk says the code uses standard Skype client to call to a specific number, causing a "denial of service of current Skype server and forces Skype to reconnect to another server.

David Beckemeyer posted a more reasonable yet much more amazing theory about the nature of Skype problem related to their usage of "Supernodes". According to Beckemeyer Skype depends on "supernodes": selected end user computers preforming as database servers and other network services. Thus, when the number of supernode skype clients goes under a certain minimum the network fails to preform. Beckemeyer think it could theoretically take days for this pathology to end.

By the time i finished writing this my Skype turned green. and then gray again. and then green again. we'll see in the morning.

More about Skype Supernodes


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Skype is a problem

Someone I know has already convinced me long time ago that being Skype such a dominant player in the global Internet VOIP arena is a major problem that needs to be taken care of by the open source community.

Today, when Skype managed to have some kind of significant malfunction making it completely unusable for national or international calls. I know that for sure because I verified it with people I work with abroad.

Check out this message published on the official Skype blog:

Problems with Skype login
By My status Joosep on August 16, 2007.

UPDATED: Some of you may be having problems logging in to Skype. Our engineering team has determined that it’s a software issue and hopes to have this resolved quickly. Meanwhile, you can simply leave your Skype client running and as soon as the issue is resolved, you will be logged in. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Now, excuse me for saying so but I don't think what they say is true because I have three workstations running in my home network and surely all three were already logged in. So, being Skype a so called Peer-to-Peer software: why should I even be in any need for their (commercial) dysfunctional login mechanism?

I used to like Skype VERY much in their early days. I even spent my good money on a Phillips Dect Skype phone. But I am afraid I now think the problem is the VOIP being held in one company, not the login as Skype claim in their blog.

Edit: 23.20 GMT+2
Skype is still down. A world without Skype. wow.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chinese mobile phone batteries explode

China have been popping up a lot lately with various defective products and product recalls. we red about pet food recall, recalled poisoner toothpastes, poisonous toys, we had major car company under pressure to recall its products because there is danger of the tire treads separating and more examples of how low-cost products can turn into high-cost ones very quickly.

If you read this blog (of course you are, what am I saying here?) you must know I make regular use of a Motorola RAZR V3X phone. As a result of this fact I was pretty much interested with this recent news item about how we now also have mobile phone batteries joining this defect spectacle show. Now mobile phone batteries are exploding and killing people for real and in tests! isn't it nice?

Apparently, an exploding cell phone caused the death of Chinese welder Xiao Jinpeng, who used to be working at Yingpan Iron Ore Dressing Plant in Gansu’s Jinta county. As far as I know, apart from the famous January 5, 1996 assassination of Yehiya Ayyash also known as "the engineer" (at that time the leading Hamas bomb expert) which was part of someone's plans, this is probably the first case in which an exploding mobile phone actually kills a man. The battery in the deceased Motorola cell phone exploded in his shirt pocket. According to IntoMobile - a website dedicated news and buzz in the world of mobile technology:

  • The explosion was linked to high-temperatures in the plant, according to colleagues - that must have been some crazy-hot work environment.
  • The fatal battery failure took place on June 19 and resulted in Xiao’s death on July 4th.
  • The battery explosion broke the welder’s ribs and fragments of the casing pierced his heart.
  • Authorities are investigating the incident - particularly whether or not the man was using an authentic Motorola phone and genuine Motorola battery
  • If the device turns out to be a bona fide Motorola product, the embattled mobile phone manufacturer could be in for some fun times.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Dr. T. V. Raman's complete audio desktop

Have you ever tried using your Windows voice-to-text speech engine? If so I bet you got depressed as I did. I bet you went to sleep that day thinking how far we still are from those sci-fi movies showing people chatting with his home computers, normally having the voice of a hot sexy female. I bet you did.

Anyways, if the idea of having a complete voice interaction with your data fits well into your dreams, you might want to check out Emacspeak - a new technology dramatically changing how blind and visually impaired users around the world can interact with the personal computer and the Internet.

Conceived by Dr. T. V. Raman, (see picture from raman's Public Gallery on Picasa webalbums) who obtained his first guide-dog, Aster Labrador, from Guiding Eyes in January 1990 - Emacspeak is a speech interface that allows visually impaired users to interact independently and efficiently with the computer. Using "Audio formatting" - a technique pioneered by AsTeR - and full support for W3C's Aural CSS (ACSS) - Emacspeak produces rich aural presentations of electronic information. By blending different aspects of the Internet such as Web-surfing and messaging, Emacspeak speech-enables local and remote information via a consistent and well-integrated user interface.

A suite of task-oriented tools provides efficient speech-enabled access to the audio desktop and evolving semantic WWW. According to T. V. Raman, when combined with Linux running on low-cost PC hardware, Emacspeak/Linux provides a reliable, stable speech-friendly solution that opens up the Internet to visually impaired users around the world.

See the online manual, productivity tips, speech-enabled applications list and the various online resources for Emacspeak locatable through Google for additional details.

T. V. Raman is one of the most well known computer scientists who came from India. According to Wikipedia, T. V. Raman has worked on speech interaction and markup technologies in the context of the World Wide Web at Digital's Cambridge Research Lab (CRL), Adobe Systems and IBM Research and he presently works at Google Research.

His research interests are primarily auditory user interfaces and structured electronic documents. His PhD thesis entitled Audio System For Technical Readings was awarded the ACM Dissertation Award in 1994. Raman went on to apply the ideas on audio formatting introduced in AsTeR to the more general domain of computer interfaces Emacspeak. On Monday, April 12, 1999, Emacspeak became part of the Smithsonian's Permanent Research Collection on Information Technology at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.

Way to go Dr. Raman. I wish I was half as brave, strong and innovative as you are. I am also going to try installing your amazing system on the Linux machine I plan as version 2 of our HTPC. It's gonna take time, but I am going to give it a try.