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Not a good day :(

Facebook asks for a Status update saying, “How’s it going Ian?”
Well if you must ask its all going to garbage the moment. Seems that lugging my suitcase around on Saturday after my arrival back from the Linux Conference in Canberra has really upset my arms to the point I’m going to see the quack this afternoon to try and find some sort of relief other than painkillers that make me sleep or take my brain away for a holiday.
I’m having trouble doing the lightest of keyboard tasks and so relying on Dragon to type for me and may be even do some navigation of the browser.

I have 1000 word essay due on Friday and still have not been able to get the system working for me to get it started, to even find the rest of the research that I want to do on it, because when the pain comes my brain goes away. I’m already into a week’s extension that needs this to go away before I can start to concentrate and do some research, some study, some writing, hell even do some work, that would have been nice!

Sorry for not posting much but I’m just not up to it at this time.

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Linux Conference – Canberra: Arrival

Hi blog readers, coming to you from the muggy jungle of the ACT. Hopefully I can bring you some updates so you don’t feel completely left out because of all the fun of LCA (Linux Conference Australia) and you couldn’t make it 😉

Good morning world. OMG 3-4-5 AM something and I have woken up and cant sleep!
I am in the dorm at the Australian National University, Canberra and it has been a warm muggy night and we don’t have fans or any air moving.

Flights were great. We traveled QANTAS and folks, the service I got was nothing short of excellent! For domestic travel it was great! David Lloyd, Geoffrey Bennett where were you? Nobody to do any impromptu LAN cabling across the seats and down the rows. Just miss you guys around these halls of Geekiness 😉

Leaving home at OMG-it’s-too-early-time I caught buses and trains into the Airport. Met a really nice young man who explained in his limited English that he had recently arrived from Iran as a refugee and was heading to Womens and Childrens hospital where a few days earlier his wife had given birth to their new daughter. He had a son 5 who they had to leave with relatives when they fled the persecution in that war torn country. Such a nice young man, I wish them all the best in their adopted country.

Adelaide Airport. What can I say? One day it will look really nice but at this time with all the construction going on it is shambles! The bus stop is miles away from the terminal, well it seems that way when lugging gear! Met up with Daniel Sobey and we had a fun time for the trip. You should have seen the going over he went through when the Melbourne guys checked out his backpack and the IT gear he has stuffed in there LOL

Melbourne was nice but I didn’t get to meet up with my good friend as we had planned. Hi Bernadette Dimitrov! Hope all is OK with you.

Canberra. A lot has changed since we lived here in 80-85. A lot has stayed the same. They have a lot of construction going on in the CBD. Even getting what might be called some hi-rise buildings. Well compared to what we see in Adelaide they might be sort of hi-rise 😉

The LCA crew are awesome! Shuttle buses waiting for us and those bright blue shirts! Outstanding! Checking was smooth and some nice goodies in the welcome pack. A nice touch is the goodies kit was on our beds waiting for us when we found our allocated rooms. Good one Canberra!

Uni campus is nice and quite extensive. We worked out how to get LAN and it is screaming so that’s a big bonus. Can you believe it, a linux.conf and we have Internet in our rooms before Monday. Wow <giggles>
Such a nice bunch of geeks, met up with some good friends, Hi Kylie Willison! Very helpful local crew. Romana, your Serval guys are next door. Last night they were hacking away for the presentation due later today. Not sure if they pulled an all-nighter but it looked like it was going to be a long night for them. Miss your smiling face around here. Take care. Hugs.

The dorms are … well dorms but the Kitchen facilities, wow, you would think it was a commercial catering centre but NO tools, utensils, post, pans, nuttin!

UPDATE 29/01: The lovely folks at linux.conf.au have kindly provided pots/pans/utensils for our part of the Kitchen. Way to go folks, awesome support!

I had typical student fare last night, 3 minute noodles. Jam the noodles in the plastic KeepCup and fill with water. Zap for 2 minutes, drain and stir. Eat, rinse and make Milo in it without any milk because store is 20 or so minutes walk away and too far. Talking with several others and I think we will be putting some cash in a hat and buying some cheap stuff to last us the week.

Oh yeah. You know what it’s like. You get to your destination and think of what you left home. I sure did. How about these classics, Credit card still at home, went through the wash! Loaded up a USB key last night, left it in the PC. Now hacking into the home PC through Team Viewer. Lifesaver!
At least all the power cords and connectors made the journey LOL

So, today is Monday. I managed to get flights to be in enough time to get all registered so that is all taken care of, now on with the Show!

Chasing the Tale of the Dragon

The theme of today was very similar to yesterday, plenty of pain, not much of work.

Earlier today I rang the Disability office at Curtin University to seek help with Dragon NaturallySpeaking. I have been getting all sorts of bad responses when trying to use Dragon to navigate the Internet through my Firefox browser and I asked if they had somebody that could assist me sort it out. Thankfully there was somebody able to help me, he rang me later that day and we set a time whereby he would work with me to take over my machine (using Team Viewer 8) and correct the default settings of Dragon back to something that was more usable and user-friendly. We worked together for almost an hour and now I can use Dragon inside a browser with a great deal more success.

Certainly the time spent mousing has been cut down considerably and there has been a similar reduction in the frustration rate that I had been going through. He also had me go through a training exercise where I read the text on the screen presented by Dragon so that it can process the way that I speak and improve the accuracy of its responses. I’m still getting some silly answers but most of the time it is picking up what I want to say.

I also managed to get some interesting works from the Elizabeth Branch of the Playford City Library today, they’ve been on hold through the Salisbury library, but because all of the South Australian libraries are linked. Now I was able to arrange to pick them up at the Elizabeth library or officially the Playford City Library.

As I’m doing Assignment 2 on wikis and Wikipedia. I found these to be an interesting reference source:
“Good Faith Collaboration the Culture of Wikipedia” by Joseph Michael Reagle, Jr. ISBN 978-0-262-01447-2
“wiki – Web collaboration” by Anja Ebersbach, Markus Glaser, Richard Heigl, Alexander Warta. ISBN 978-3-540-35150-4

This will give me something to read while I’m on the plane on Sunday heading to Canberra for the linux.conf.au – LCA 2013. I am proud to say I have been selected as a representative under the Regional Development Program which means they’re paying to get me there and to look after me while I’m at the place. There isn’t any way I could have afforded to go 🙂
Monday and Tuesday are what they call Miniconfs with a wide range of speakers and topics ranging from Programming your Arduino to getting government and local authorities to use open source software. Wednesday to Friday will be the main Conference. One of the highlights for me will be at listening to Tim Berners-Lee present the Keynote speech on the Friday morning. For those of you not aware Tim Berners-Lee was the inventor of the World Wide Web you are currently using back in the early 90s.
I will be flying back to Adelaide on Saturday the 2nd.

Dear Reader, if you are attending the conference or you live in Canberra I would love to catch up with you to say G’day. Just drop me a line to set up a meeting place.

OpenSource Speech Recognition

Two of the OpenSource Speech Recognition systems that I am aware of are XVoice and CMU Sphinx.

Xvoice is a project using the old software and codings of IBM’s ViaVoice. I was part of this mailing list for quite a few years but the project is essentially dead as they cannot find a current voice engine to power their software. The last update to their software was in 2007.

CMU Sphinx is a project under the auspices of the Carnegie Mellon University but is still a long way from being considered an adequate speech recognition system.

Linux users have another means of running speech recognition and that is to run Wine which emulates Windows then they can install a version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. Not really effective but it is a possible alternative.

There are other OpenSource speech recognition projects out there such as the Julias system which works in Japanese. There are other speech models for Julias including English but basically you need to build your own model which reduces the usability of this system to developers and very experienced coders. Julias is the most up to date of the Open Source systems having the latest software released on August 1, 2012.

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