RE: Session Reminder

Perhaps next
year. It appears that Nuance, the current owners of the Eloquence IP are going
to—reluctantly—license the current version to me. While I don’t
sense that the AAC community places much importance on speech quality (yes, it
should), a new Xpress-It running on a new speech engine might raise a few eyebrows.

 

From: Messenger
[mailto:messenger@esclive.net]
Sent: Monday, June 15, 2009 16:24
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: Session Reminder

 

You have registered for the following session:
Session:297079-Texas Assistive Technology Regional Conference
Description:Join other assistive technology (AT) professionals from
across the state in this two and a half-day conference focusing on successful
AT practices. Day One will consist of full-day conference presentations by
nationally known speakers. Day Two and Day Three will include concurrent
presentation strands featuring district personnel who are supporting students
in the classroom and vendor product demonstrations. The conference will also
include an exhibit hall providing the latest information on products. The conference
is sponsored by the Texas Assistive Technology Network (TATN). Session and
materials costs are partially funded through state or federal grants.
Date:6/17/2009
Time:8:00 AM-4:00 PM
Location:MCC 100F-Region 4 ESC


This mail is generated by the system. Please don’t reply
to this email.

 

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RE: Response to your inquiry

 Becky,

 

Just to follow up on our conversation, my remaining IT friends
have directed my attention to the availability of Nuance/ETI software over
torrent. A quick check revealed it to your Symbian PDA app, and thus useless to
me. However, that does tell me Nuance has the Eloquence SDK.

 

I renew my appeal for cooperation. I am not competition to
anything Nuance is doing, and I know that a few AAC companies still license
Eloquence. Please honor my agreement with ETI.

Scott

 

From: Scott Royall
[mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 15:52
To: ‘Halliwell, Becky’
Subject: RE: Response to your inquiry

 

Ah yes, Wizzard. They are the marketing partner for AT&T on
Natural Voice, and they are only interested in customers who will buy at least
200 licenses. It’s a contractual thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if
they also market whatever IBM is doing, but similar contractual limits apply on
everything they’re involved in so they are useless for me. I am trying to
work with AT&T directly to evaluate Natural Voice, but I’ve already
mentioned its limitations.

 

Now wait just a bleeping second, you (Nuance) must have the SDK
for ETI in order to be able to sell the licenses. It’s a legal thing, my
love (and no, I’m not intentionally being patronizing). My thinking is
that, since you must have the SDK somewhere, you should be able to
secure permission to send a digital copy to me (it used to be just a Zip file).
In fact, my original agreement with ETI granted me rights to any updates.

 

You have been very nice, and I absolutely want to stay on good
terms with you. I’m simply reminding Nuance that buying the intellectual
property of another company usually includes honoring any related agreements.
You already know enough about my situation to infer that I have been on the
level with you. I really need a copy of whatever ETI files Nuance took
possession of.

 

Please pursue the matter, ok?

 

Scott

 

From: Halliwell, Becky
[mailto:Becky.Halliwell@nuance.com]
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 13:21
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Response to your inquiry

 

Hi Scott,

 

You have a very interesting story and I really wish we could
help you. Unfortunately, while we’re still in fact selling ETI licenses,
we are no longer selling SDKs.

 

However, I was told that a similar engine is available from www.wizzard.com under the IBM ViaVoice
branding.

 

Hope this helps and best of luck to you,

Becky

 

From: Scott Royall
[mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 5:36 PM
To: Halliwell, Becky
Subject: RE: Response to your inquiry

 

Ah Becky,

 

So someone at Nuance does answer email. Good. I have been trying
to reach Nuance for some time, and I note that this particular inquiry
didn’t explain that my disability does not allow me to speak. That means
that I can’t fairly tease you about asking if I was interested in Dragon.
No, it’s safe to say I have no use for DragonSpeak.

 

As my inquiry did say, I’m needing a update of Eloquence.
The Eloquence speech engine is a product that you likely don’t even realize
Nuance owns. It dates back to its original version in 1996, developed by
Cornell University for the Department of Defense. Eloquence Technologies Inc.
was formed around that time. Unfortunately, they never did market the tool very
well and were bought by Speechworks, which was apparently purchased by Nuance
last year.

 

My relationship with the Eloquence speech engine started in 1997
while I was a programmer for a major oil company. I needed a text-to-speech
solution to talk to my customers, and my managers didn’t like any of the
AAC products that were currently available. Instead, we decided that I should
build my own system based around the Eloquence engine. The last update I
received from ETI was in late 1998.

 

Yes, Eloquence is a product you would normally license to other
companies to build systems around. You don’t market it to consumers,
because few of them could write programs that use it. I have. The program I
wrote in 1997 was called Xpress-It, and I’m still using a version of it
every day. In fact, the 1998 version of Eloquence, which I believe was version
4.7, still performs very well compared to even AT&T’s vaunted Natural
Voice. Although Natural Voice usually sounds “better,” Eloquence
still appears to be more flexible and adjustable. The problem is that I need to
update Xpress-It for changes in my needs and the Windows environment, and
Eloquence 4.7 is starting to cause problems in the program building because of
its age.

 

I have tried to market Xpress-It, but the nature of the AAC
market is such that an outsider can’t enter effectively without
significant financial support. Sadly, I’m now living on Disability so it
looks like I’ll be Xpress-It’s only user. Anyway, I need whatever
was the last/latest Eloquence software development kit. I’m certain that
Nuance hasn’t updated it, and it’s a pretty safe bet that
Speechworks didn’t. That probably means I need ETI’s last SDK. Can
you help?

 

Scott

 

From: Halliwell, Becky
[mailto:Becky.Halliwell@nuance.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 08:25
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: Response to your inquiry

 

Hi Scott,

 

In response to your inquiry:

 

I’ll make it easy on you. I’m an existing user/developing
Eloquence technology, and I need to talk with you about a single user/dev
upgrade.

 

I’m disabled so DO NOT CALL. Please email.

 

For which of our products were you looking for an
upgrade?  We have several.  Was it Dragon? What version are you
currently on?

 

Thanks,

 

BECKY HALLIWELL

NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

1111 Macarthur Blvd., Suite 100

Mahwah, NJ 07430

201-252-9100    Office

973-722-3911    Mobile

201-529-1070    Fax

 

www.nuance.com/care/

The experience speaks for itself

 

RE: Response to your inquiry

Ah yes, Wizzard. They are the marketing partner for AT&T on
Natural Voice, and they are only interested in customers who will buy at least
200 licenses. It’s a contractual thing. I wouldn’t be surprised if
they also market whatever IBM is doing, but similar contractual limits apply on
everything they’re involved in so they are useless for me. I am trying to
work with AT&T directly to evaluate Natural Voice, but I’ve already
mentioned its limitations.

 

Now wait just a bleeping second, you (Nuance) must have the SDK
for ETI in order to be able to sell the licenses. It’s a legal thing, my
love (and no, I’m not intentionally being patronizing). My thinking is
that, since you must have the SDK somewhere, you should be able to
secure permission to send a digital copy to me (it used to be just a Zip file).
In fact, my original agreement with ETI granted me rights to any updates.

 

You have been very nice, and I absolutely want to stay on good terms
with you. I’m simply reminding Nuance that buying the intellectual property
of another company usually includes honoring any related agreements. You already
know enough about my situation to infer that I have been on the level with you.
I really need a copy of whatever ETI files Nuance took possession of.

 

Please pursue the matter, ok?

 

Scott

 

From: Halliwell, Becky
[mailto:Becky.Halliwell@nuance.com]
Sent: Friday, June 05, 2009 13:21
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: RE: Response to your inquiry

 

Hi Scott,

 

You have a very interesting story and I really wish we could
help you. Unfortunately, while we’re still in fact selling ETI licenses,
we are no longer selling SDKs.

 

However, I was told that a similar engine is available from www.wizzard.com under the IBM ViaVoice
branding.

 

Hope this helps and best of luck to you,

Becky

 

From: Scott Royall
[mailto:royall@conchbbs.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 5:36 PM
To: Halliwell, Becky
Subject: RE: Response to your inquiry

 

Ah Becky,

 

So someone at Nuance does answer email. Good. I have been trying
to reach Nuance for some time, and I note that this particular inquiry
didn’t explain that my disability does not allow me to speak. That means
that I can’t fairly tease you about asking if I was interested in Dragon.
No, it’s safe to say I have no use for DragonSpeak.

 

As my inquiry did say, I’m needing a update of Eloquence.
The Eloquence speech engine is a product that you likely don’t even
realize Nuance owns. It dates back to its original version in 1996, developed
by Cornell University for the Department of Defense. Eloquence Technologies
Inc. was formed around that time. Unfortunately, they never did market the tool
very well and were bought by Speechworks, which was apparently purchased by
Nuance last year.

 

My relationship with the Eloquence speech engine started in 1997
while I was a programmer for a major oil company. I needed a text-to-speech
solution to talk to my customers, and my managers didn’t like any of the
AAC products that were currently available. Instead, we decided that I should
build my own system based around the Eloquence engine. The last update I
received from ETI was in late 1998.

 

Yes, Eloquence is a product you would normally license to other
companies to build systems around. You don’t market it to consumers,
because few of them could write programs that use it. I have. The program I
wrote in 1997 was called Xpress-It, and I’m still using a version of it
every day. In fact, the 1998 version of Eloquence, which I believe was version
4.7, still performs very well compared to even AT&T’s vaunted Natural
Voice. Although Natural Voice usually sounds “better,” Eloquence
still appears to be more flexible and adjustable. The problem is that I need to
update Xpress-It for changes in my needs and the Windows environment, and
Eloquence 4.7 is starting to cause problems in the program building because of
its age.

 

I have tried to market Xpress-It, but the nature of the AAC
market is such that an outsider can’t enter effectively without
significant financial support. Sadly, I’m now living on Disability so it
looks like I’ll be Xpress-It’s only user. Anyway, I need whatever
was the last/latest Eloquence software development kit. I’m certain that
Nuance hasn’t updated it, and it’s a pretty safe bet that
Speechworks didn’t. That probably means I need ETI’s last SDK. Can
you help?

 

Scott

 

From: Halliwell, Becky
[mailto:Becky.Halliwell@nuance.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 08:25
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: Response to your inquiry

 

Hi Scott,

 

In response to your inquiry:

 

I’ll make it easy on you. I’m an existing user/developing
Eloquence technology, and I need to talk with you about a single user/dev
upgrade.

 

I’m disabled so DO NOT CALL. Please email.

 

For which of our products were you looking for an
upgrade?  We have several.  Was it Dragon? What version are you
currently on?

 

Thanks,

 

BECKY HALLIWELL

NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

1111 Macarthur Blvd., Suite 100

Mahwah, NJ 07430

201-252-9100    Office

973-722-3911    Mobile

201-529-1070    Fax

 

www.nuance.com/care/

The experience speaks for itself

 

RE: Response to your inquiry

Ah Becky,

 

So someone at Nuance does answer email. Good. I have been trying
to reach Nuance for some time, and I note that this particular inquiry didn’t
explain that my disability does not allow me to speak. That means that I can’t
fairly tease you about asking if I was interested in Dragon. No, it’s safe
to say I have no use for DragonSpeak.

 

As my inquiry did say, I’m needing a update of Eloquence. The
Eloquence speech engine is a product that you likely don’t even realize
Nuance owns. It dates back to its original version in 1996, developed by
Cornell University for the Department of Defense. Eloquence Technologies Inc. was
formed around that time. Unfortunately, they never did market the tool very well
and were bought by Speechworks, which was apparently purchased by Nuance last year.

 

My relationship with the Eloquence speech engine started in 1997
while I was a programmer for a major oil company. I needed a text-to-speech
solution to talk to my customers, and my managers didn’t like any of the
AAC products that were currently available. Instead, we decided that I should
build my own system based around the Eloquence engine. The last update I received
from ETI was in late 1998.

 

Yes, Eloquence is a product you would normally license to other
companies to build systems around. You don’t market it to consumers, because
few of them could write programs that use it. I have. The program I wrote in
1997 was called Xpress-It, and I’m still using a version of it every day.
In fact, the 1998 version of Eloquence, which I believe was version 4.7, still
performs very well compared to even AT&T’s vaunted Natural Voice. Although
Natural Voice usually sounds “better,” Eloquence still appears to be
more flexible and adjustable. The problem is that I need to update Xpress-It
for changes in my needs and the Windows environment, and Eloquence 4.7 is starting
to cause problems in the program building because of its age.

 

I have tried to market Xpress-It, but the nature of the AAC
market is such that an outsider can’t enter effectively without
significant financial support. Sadly, I’m now living on Disability so it
looks like I’ll be Xpress-It’s only user. Anyway, I need whatever
was the last/latest Eloquence software development kit. I’m certain that
Nuance hasn’t updated it, and it’s a pretty safe bet that
Speechworks didn’t. That probably means I need ETI’s last SDK. Can
you help?

 

Scott

 

From: Halliwell, Becky
[mailto:Becky.Halliwell@nuance.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 04, 2009 08:25
To: royall@conchbbs.com
Subject: Response to your inquiry

 

Hi Scott,

 

In response to your inquiry:

 

I’ll make it easy on you. I’m an existing user/developing
Eloquence technology, and I need to talk with you about a single user/dev
upgrade.

 

I’m disabled so DO NOT CALL. Please email.

 

For which of our products were you looking for an
upgrade?  We have several.  Was it Dragon? What version are you
currently on?

 

Thanks,

 

BECKY HALLIWELL

NUANCE COMMUNICATIONS, INC.

1111 Macarthur Blvd., Suite 100

Mahwah, NJ 07430

201-252-9100    Office

973-722-3911    Mobile

201-529-1070    Fax

 

www.nuance.com/care/

The experience speaks for itself

 

TWiT 197

Since you’re a self-proclaimed radical liberal, the only way to reach you in a form that you might actually process is through an entry in my blog. Yes, I am a self-identified conservative so I understand that your attention span for anything I say will be very limited (even without your adult ADD J). I’m writing this entry as an open response to episode 197 of TWiT, where you and your guests asserted that university-style education is in crisis. I agree with you for the most part, but I think you missed the primary purpose of the whole college system. Obviously, colleges aren’t trade schools, and they don’t pretend to be. In fact, very little of what they teach the average four-year student has direct application in real-life. I’m your age, and I have a Computer Science degree so I have some first-hand experience with how colleges work. What I was told at the beginning of my college career was that college actually teaches you to learn. Please really think that through for a moment while I explain further.

 

I am reasonably intelligent, and I found high school to be a breeze. That was partly because I had some excellent teachers who took a personal interest in me, in addition to caring parents. However, colleges–especially large universities–are environments where students succeed or fail based on their own merits. Although support services do usually exist, it’s up to the students to use them if needed. That’s part of the overall point of the college system: choice. College is generally the first time young people are out on their own, making their own choices and facing the consequences. They can excel, but only if they really apply themselves. That’s what I mean by learning to learn. The college system isn’t going to reach out and proactively save the students who are failing. My conservative mind finds that to be a positive thing.

                                                

Remember that colleges are still relatively shielded environments where young people can mature safely (recent events notwithstanding). In that sort of situation, tuition becomes more than simply cost-recovery. Most of the people I knew the best in college were disabled so I can most accurately write about them. Unfortunately, very few even aspired to graduate. It’s true that things outside in the "real world" really aren’t good for the Disabled, but that’s well beyond the scope of this blog entry. The fact remains that virtually none the disabled people I attended college with graduated. They were quite comfortable staying where they were and receiving state support. I also knew some able-bodied students who were also quite content to be there as long as someone paid their way. This is why I believe tuition must fulfill a secondary role. Agreed, tuition shouldn’t preclude anyone who is serious about learning, but it should be high enough to deter so-called "professional students." those are more common than you may realize.

 

Yet, colleges serve another function that I think you and your guests glossed over. Where I went to school, the first two years went to learning the basics. You know, small stuff like proper English writing, literature, and (gasp!) history. Also thrown in was a smattering of Math, Physics, Sociology, Political Science, and Biology. In short, the first two years went mainly to learning about humanity and what it means to be a human. True, that learning didn’t make me a better programmer, but it definitely helped me to understand the world around me. I call that sort of teaching "deep learning,” and I daresay you won’t get it in a trade school. If, as was suggested on your show, doctors and lawyers went to trade schools, would they as fully appreciate such niceties as ethics and human rights? Perhaps, but I say not. I say that upbringing and the first two-to-four years of college are what creates most liberals (though a few people are lucky enough to, well, reboot J).  Surely you wouldn’t want to end that?

 

Lastly, I’ll respectfully remind you that even Sarah Lane has told you that you live in a bubble. She was talking about both technology and the way you view the world. Sarah’s comment was even more memorable because she freely admitted to being right there with you, being a child of Haight-Ashbury and all that went with it. At least she has the mental compass to recognize that.  Not all conservatives are Bible-pounding zealots. Indeed, most of us aren’t. We even use much of the same technology as you do, but we don’t find all of it to be anywhere nearly so valuable! I too have a Twitter account, but I was amused today when a friend described his perception of Twitter as "mostly mental gas-passing." Bing! Don’t get me started about “Fiendfeed” either! J I’ve followed you for over ten years, and I understand that you have a need to broadcast your views. I apparently have a bit of that needed since I have a blog going into its fourth year. I’m also W5RUA. However, my blog is mostly about daily life with a disability so I’m a little less ambitious.

 

By the way, your perception of “teaching to the test” will largely vanish after Abby encounters her first essay exam. Expect tears, as Jennifer will probably tell you.

 

Scott (W5RUA) Royall