Friday, September 26, 2008

Text to Speech

I have gotten interested in Text to Speech after reviewing a sample application provided by Microsoft. The Sam voice that is installed with XP is very poor. You can try out the voice by going to the control panel and clicking on Speech.

Microsoft released two additional voices that are much better. You can download them from this link http://www.text-speech.com/voices/Sp5TTIntXP.msi After they are installed, you will find Mike and Mary available in the speech control panel. These two are much better than the default SAM voice.

I understand that Vista has a new speech voice named Anna. I tried her on one of the office computers and she sounds pretty good.

There are several commercial TTS (text to speech) engine providers. Cepstral has good voices. You can demo them at http://www.cepstral.com/demos/ Their voices are around $30.00.

Nextup has demos of the AT&T voices at http://www.nextup.com/attnv.html The AT&T voices cost $35.00.

I am now working on adding TTS support in the Message Client and will then move to the map. Instead of having dedicated wave files, it would be nice if it could simplay say "A tornado warning as been issued for Tallapoosa County until 10:30 PM". The map would have the bonus to saying expiration messages.

It would also be very simple to add the capability to read a message in the text window. I was playing with this earlier tonight and it works well using the Mike voice. I was surprised how well it could say some county names.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Weather Message 3.4 Beta 3

Weather Message 3.4 Beta 3 has been posted to the web. This update contains a number of changes to WxLoader. It now features independent tabs for AWIPS products and VTEC products. It also has the ability to select individual counties for a task.

This release will also attempt to load the Microsoft.Net Framework version 3.5. Although the 3.5 framework is not required at this time, there may be some features in the next beta that require the 3.5 framework. I thought I would go ahead and add that requirement in this beta to see if there are any problems getting it installed.

The 3.5 framework contains an number of enhancements that improve the performance of 2.0 framework programs. I do recommend that it be installed, regardless of the program requirements.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Red Book Graphics

I have been working on a red book graphic decoder. Here is an example of the convection outlook. It has a long way to go - plotting this on a map will be a challenge.

Goes Image Decoder

I added the ability to decode goes images in WxPort some time back. I have been playing with overlaying the images with the state outlines. Here is an example showing my progress.

A lot of work remains before this can go into production.