Joe Calev's WebLog
Posts and information about Microsoft Office Communications Server and sometimes off topic posts.
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Joe Calev's WebLog
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Doing good things while working at MS
Working at Microsoft is really interesting in that I often see my work being used throughout the world. It was nice seeing the press about the Unified Communications launch, knowing that I helped participate. Executives here like to mention that we are changing the world and affecting people's daily...
8 Jan 2008
Thoughts on testing speech applications
Personally, I feel one area that we did not address overly well in Speech Server is allowing developers to test their speech applications. Granted, this seems to be missing from many platforms these days but I think in the case of speech applications this is especially important because they can be tricky...
11 Oct 2007
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. ...
5 Oct 2007
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...
25 Sep 2007
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...
18 Sep 2007
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...
21 Aug 2007
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...
10 Aug 2007
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...
9 Aug 2007
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...
29 Jun 2007
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...
28 Jun 2007
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...
27 Jun 2007
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...
19 Jun 2007
Using UCMA to create clients
I hope my recent blog series on the UCMA API was helpful for everyone. If you would like me to cover other details please let me know. In the near future I will continue to blog about applications for UCMA. However, I would like to point out the UCMA is intended for server side applications. Granted...
29 May 2007
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...
19 Apr 2007
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...
2 Apr 2007
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...
23 Feb 2007
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...
22 Feb 2007
Using message queues for outbound calls
Many of you familiar with Microsoft Speech Server/Office Communications Server are likely aware that the preferred way to place outbound calls is through a message queue. I spent some time looking through our documentation and noticed that we have a decent amount of info on how to setup your message...
20 Feb 2007
UCAS team mentioned in CRN article
Recently the GM of my group was interviewed at CRN . For those of you used to the MSS (Microsoft Speech Server) acronym we have been known as for awhile, we are now called the UCAS (Unified Communications Application Server) team, part of our further integration into the UC world. This article gives...
15 Feb 2007
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...
13 Feb 2007
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...
8 Nov 2006
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...
7 Nov 2006
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...
30 Oct 2006
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...
25 May 2006
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...
19 May 2006
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