Joe Calev's WebLog

Posts and information about Microsoft Office Communications Server and sometimes off topic posts.

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  • Blog Post: Strategies for creating prompt database for multilingual applications

    Recently a customer contacted me with a question about creating multilingual applications with Speech Server. He had an application that ran in English and US Spanish and noticed that, while changing the synthesizer would switch TTS between languages, it had no effect on the prompt database used. ...
  • Blog Post: Es-Us and Es-Mx locale confusion

    Recently I answered an issue where a customer was confused because sometimes we use the Es-Mx locale for the Es-Us language pack. The reason we have to do this is Windows Server 2003 does not have an Es-Us locale. If you try to create such a locale, you will receive an exception. On Vista and Windows...
  • Blog Post: What should I use to write Speech Server applications?

    Recently, I have seen a few posts on other blogs asking what should one use to create speech server applications. To review, there are four ways to write speech server applications in OCS 2007. 1) Windows Workflow Activities 2) Core API (basically managed code without Workflow activities) 3...
  • Blog Post: Developing applications for OCS - where do I start?

    In a recent post, I presented an overview of all of the different APIs available in Office Communications Server 2007. The goal of that post was to help direct developers who want to know where to start. From that post I received some feedback that this proves that OCS 2007 development is only for advanced...
  • Blog Post: An overview of the APIs in Office Communications Server 2007

    Over time I have discussed all of the different APIs available to you in order to create Office Communications Server 2007 APIs. Today I thought I would do an overview of what's available and when you would use each one. Office Communicator API Example: Microsoft Office uses the Communicator...
  • Blog Post: More info about the answers for yesterday's quiz

    The following is more information about why each answer is correct for the quiz I presented yesterday. If you have not already taken the quiz, please skip this blog entry and go to yesterday's, then come back to this entry for any explanations. 1) To create a new conference, the client must contact...
  • Blog Post: An Office Communications Server 2007 Quiz

    For a little fun today, I decided to put together a little test for those who think they know Office Communications Server. Think of this as a fun little exercise that will help you learn OCS and help me learn what topics to blog about in the future. If one question boggles you, let me know and I will...
  • Blog Post: How to create DTMF applications using the new TTS languages

    OK, say you're a company in Rome, Taipei, Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Madrid, Sydney, Tokyo, or Seoul that is excited about the new TTS languages supported by Speech Server 2007 and you want to create an application. What do you need to know? The first, and most obvious point, is we currently...
  • Blog Post: Speech Server says "Bom dia"

    Yesterday I announced that Speech Server 2007, which will ship as part of Office Communications Server 2007, will ship with nine additional TTS languages. For me, it was very exciting to be able to announce this because that was the first time I have received permission to blog about something that was...
  • Blog Post: Announcing nine new TTS languages for Speech Server!

    Today I am very happy to announce that Speech Server 2007 will support nine additional sythesizers when it ships. This will enable the creation of DTMF applications in a number of new locales throughout the world. The new languages with voices are Mandarin Chinese (PRC) Mei-ling Mandarin Chinese...
  • Blog Post: Creating bots in UCMA - Part II - Using grammars instead of parsing

    In our last bot post I wrote about creating a bot that accepts a message from Communicator and sends a response. The response logic was very crude. We simply looked for certain words in the message from the client and sent back an appropriate response. Obviously as our bot becomes more sophisticated...
  • Blog Post: The DetectAnsweringMachine activity

    At long last I have finished a post on the new DetectAnsweringMachine activity in the latest Beta. While writing this post, there were a number of things that were confusing to me so I hope this information helps. I write a post some time ago about detecting answering machines. Basically, my approach...
  • Blog Post: A short note about simulating unsupported engines

    I have received a number of replies concerning my posts on how to simulate unsupported languages using phonemes. I must apologize that the intention of the post was to show how to use a hack to get "some" support in cases where you need to recognize something in a language for which you do not have an...
  • Blog Post: How to approximate phonemes for a non supported language

    Yesterday I wrote about how to create a grammar for a language for which we do not have a recognition engine. The post ended with a question on how to best approximate the phonemes for a target word. As I mentioned yesterday, my first attempts at approximation led to very low confidence values. In order...
  • Blog Post: How to recognize languages for which there is no recognizer

    This is the first part of a two part post where I will tackle the problem of creating grammars in a target language for which no recognition engine exists. My goal was to create a simple GRXML grammar capable of recognizing a few phrases in Mandarin Chinese. Along the way, I ran into a number of pitfalls...
  • Blog Post: Best practices for concept recognition grammars

    As some of you may know, one of the new features with Speech Server 2007 within Office Communications Server is concept recognition. In this model, you create a grammar by providing training sentences for each possible answer and these are then compiled into a binary .cfg grammar you can use in your...
  • Blog Post: Writing globalized speech applications part III - Strategies for determining the language

    When creating a multilingual application, one thing that is often overlooked is how to determine what language the user speaks. Most applications follow one of the following strategies. 1) The application already knows the language. With this strategy, information already exists in the database stating...
  • Blog Post: Writing globalized speech applications - Part II - Do I have to?

    OK, so you have an application that will be deployed only for three counties in Northeastern Kansas and are quite sure that you will never need to worry about different date formats or languages? Are you positively truly 100% sure about that? What if your application is so successful that your boss wants...
  • Blog Post: Writing globalized speech applications - part I introduction

    For those of you who have attempted to write a speech application that works in different cultures and/or languages, you have probably noticed that this is not a straightforward thing to do. While Speech Server supports applications that run in multiple languages, our tools do not always make this easy...
  • Blog Post: How to use XOML in speech applications

    Those of you who are more familiar with workflow may have already heard of XOML, but in essence it allows you to specify your activities in an XML language rather than in the traditional 'designer.cs' that is generated for you. This seems to be a general direction Microsoft is taking with programming...
  • Blog Post: Creating a custom activity to make a supervised transfer

    Important March 2007 Update: Please do not use the code below in the latest OCS Beta. If you would like to create a custom activity using a supervised transfer there is now sample code installed with the SDK that provides a better example than this code. I suspect this will be one of my longer...
  • Blog Post: Using peml:rule

    Unlike some other posts, this one applies to the current version of Speech Server and the Beta. One of the more obscure features of MSS is peml:rule, which is only briefly covered in the docs and only a handful of people know about. In fact, not many people know about PEML in general - for more info...
  • Blog Post: Determining whether a QuestionAnswerActivity was barged in

    From now on, I will follow a different approach with my Speech Server related posts. Rather than having tutorials (many of which are also in the docs and sample apps), I will discuss actual questions that were posed to me through this blog and during my normal day. So, if you have any topics or questions...
  • Blog Post: Normalizing prompts

    Some time ago one of the program managers and I sat down with a customer exasperated that we do not support normalizing prompts within our Recording Editing and Design Studio. We were quite puzzled because we do actually support normalizing prompts. In order to normalize prompts, right click on the...
  • Blog Post: Two weeks of silence

    I must apologize to everyone for the long period of silence. One of the difficulties with shipping a Beta is it is very time consuming - I had to spend most of my time making sure everything was of a high quality and less time with my blog. But the good news is we are shipping today! Well, OK - we...
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