Integrating Watson Text-to-Speech Into an Android Native App

This post shows how to integrate Watson text-to-speech (TTS) into your existing Android native mobile app.It was a dream come true when I made my first Watbot commit to GitHub. Watbot is an Android chatbot built using Watson Conversation Service. This was for a hands-on lab in a college. As the students were able to…

Watson TTS has multiple voices that can be used.   This article has great code examples and is the first of a multi-post on the topic.

via Integrating Watson Text-to-Speech Into an Android Native App — DZone Big Data Zone

Makers Faire Grand Rapids 2014 Photo Album

Went to the First (I  hope) annual mini Makers Faire at the Grand Rapids Science Museum.  Have to admit this is an excellent venue to hold a Makers Faire.  Quite a crowd there and the museum had  a little problem handling all the folks.  I think they were caught off guard by how many geeks there are out there.   Made me smile.

Met some very interesting folks there and here is my photo album of the visit.   Click on the photo to zoom into it.  There are 2 pages of photos.  Enjoy!

[shashin type=”albumphotos” id=”2″ size=”medium” crop=”n” columns=”2″ caption=”y” order=”date” position=”center”]

Viewpoint Gtablet


It has been a few days sine I posted.  It has been a dilemma between “Do I do this anymore” and what is important.  Recently I have been obsessed with a pair of ViewSonic GTablet 10.1 inch android tablets.  I have been flashing new ROMS on them and playing with the marketplace, bluetooth keyboards and apps out the waz-zoo.

These are not my first droids.  I have 5 inch, 7 inch and 10 tablets from Archos and

I have tried in the last week to make the GTablet a credible addition to my corporate toolbox.  I have only partially succeeded.   I will post some updates as I experiment with these devices more.

Joli OS – Go figure


Yep just as I start to use something and get a little used to it, then it’s time to change it.   Not really complaining but looks like the Joli-Folks want the JoliCloud I installed on my Asus 701 and a IBM Thinkpad T41 to not be confused with their cutesy Joli-Book  netbook.   Soon there will be a Joli-Droid and everything will be Joli-good.

Joli-OS version 1.2 will be out soon and will support Firefox 4, Safari and experimental HTML 5 port for the iPad.  Since I’ve been part of the Joli-program since the beginning I will Joli-update and post an update.

Moops – Combo of Joy


Whoever invented this game you are evil pure and simple.  I had finally broken my game playing days after hours at Angry Birds now this comes along.   Idea is to use combo shots to make your score jump higher.  Uses some basic physic principles.  Nice introduction and training set.  As you go through the world of Moops there are bunch of different shapes that behave differently and power ups.

To annoy me even more it works on my Android EVO phone and the Archos 101 Android tablet so I can play it anywhere.  Doesn’t work on my iPad or iPhone because Moops don’t like Apple products any more than I do and they use Flash.   Take that “Cut the Rope”.

Evernote like sticky notes in the Cloud


Special thanks to Dan for showing me this tool awhile back.  I just using it seriously and don’t know how I managed with the little yellow and red sticky notes all over the place.   Evernote is Cloud based sticky pad for text, videos, web pages and images.  I’m getting older and I tend to forget shit.  So I write notes to myself and promptly forget where I put the damn notes.   These are not necessarily things for me to do which I use Toodledo to track but just just stuff I should remember.

There is an iPad version and a Android version of Evernote which allows me to use my EVO 4 phone to help me take snapshots of white boards or record a voice memo.   Like all good Cloud utilities the initial taste is free and then it’s $45 a year for the premium edition.  Evernote Premium gives you more than the free 1GB upload capacity, supports more file types, and offers greater sharing options.   Most folks I know use the free edition and that works just fine for them.  

Organizing all your notes into logical categories can a daunting task hat scares you into just not doing it.  Evernote can help you to organize or you can exercise the control over the little bits of information that leak away every day.  

LogMeIn – VPN for the masses


LogMeIn is my remote computer connection (Virtual Private Network) tool of choice.  I was a GoToMyPC user for many years but it got expensive to have 8 or more copies going at a time.  LogMeIn starts out as a free product and you only need to pay $70 annual cost if you need advanced features like remote printing, remote file transfer and sound.   I have 2 licensed copies that I use for my daily connections between the lab and customers.  I also have 15 free connections for all the casual connections.

The LogMeIn folks also have a couple of other products that are very useful.  LogMeIn Ignition which is a Windows client that manages your remote computer list when it starts to get large.   LogMeIn Ignition which is a $40 per year.  There is a iPad and Android version as well.

The other product which I will dedicate a entire post to is  A very simple way of sharing your screen with other people.   I’ll use it to have a customer show me exactly what is happening on their computer.  This eliminates the email flood in trying to resolve an issue.   One 5 minute will replace 10-15 emails.   You can also hold informal training classes or work with developers to show them how something should be written.   This is a free service for right now with a Pro version for $30 month.   While that might seem expensive it’s $20 a month less than GoToMeeting.

There are plenty of alternatives like VNC, CrossLoop and Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Connection (RDC) but LogMeIn manages to stay connected through just about any firewall without any complex efforts.  For the servers on the networks I control ,RDC works great, but when there is a corporate firewall involved I tend to use LogMeIn.

Gear Head Mini USB Keybaord


This is my new Gear Head mini keyboard I use with my Archos 101 Android tablet.  $10 from Amazon, 2 day free shipping via Prime.  It didn’t work when I first plugged it in but doing a little ArchosFan search I discovered the Archos needed to powered completely off and back on.  Deep sleep wasn’t enough.  There are some keyboard shortcuts that help you navigate better but overall this makes posting to WordPress, Email and document composing much eaiser.

I decided to go with a simple USB keyboard that just plugged into the full sized USB port on the side of the Archos.  Hear that iPad… full sized USB port.  Bluetooth would have eliminated the cable but added another layer of complexity and more power drain on the Archos tablet.   Nicely built with very little keyboard flex and positive keys.

Below is a picture of the old HP keyboard I was using from one of my desktops for comparison.

Original keyboard

Dropbox – Leave Home without it

ImageDropbox is a free (2GB) of online storage (Yea it’s a cloud) that can be sync’d to multiple computers including Windows, Mac, Linux, Google Noteboox and Android. It’s a file cabinet in the sky that follows you everywhere you go. The files in your Dropbox are actually copied to each of the systems you have Dropbox installed on. The Android is more of a get the file on demand process. Even if you don’t have Dropbox installed on your computer you can still get to the file via the Dropbox web interface.

Clever folks across the internet have used it to sync their music collection, Microsoft Outlook mailbox, IM list of user and the image repository of SnagIt the screen capture tool. I use it to have a common place to put files between my customers sites and my lab.

You can designate a set of directories within the Dropbox to be sharable with other users. When you copy a file to these folders it appears on your other computers with Dropbox and those computers of the folks you shared the directory with.

For those who don’t think the encryption used by Dropbox is good enough you can actually create a directory and use some free software called True-Crypt on it to add an additional layer of security.

I download music (No I’m not a pirate) from Amazon, because remember iTunes is part of the evil empire.  I then put it in my Dropbox directory then I can listen to it just about anywhere.

Many folks never exceed the 2GB free limit but the next step is to pony up $100 a year for 50GB. I know it’s a C-Note, a Benjamin, 10-10’s but it is well worth it.  Another tool on Uncle Shooter’s “Must Have” list.

Chrome Head – Rocket pack part 1

Well it has been quite some time since I have attempted to start posting to a blog again.  I tried with which was a Dot Net Nuke site.  I learned how to install DNN on a GoDaddy web server and how to start using DNN.  It just got to be too much and I gave up.

What got me jazzed again was a good friend who got one of the Google notebooks.   He lent it to me over a lunch hour and he didn’t believe me when I said “I think someone snuck into the building and stole it” while I was grinning.  I filled out the Google form the same time he did but he must of known the right “Google” answers.

I own a HTC Android EVO 4 phone and an Archos 101 10″ Android Notebook and a 7″ Android eBook.  However that Google notebook made me realize that there is another wave of computing coming along.   It will happen when most people start to trust the “Cloud” for their shit and they realize they are almost always near a WiFi spot.    So I have decided to jump with both feet into the Chrome swimming pool and have started to use Chrome as my primary browser on all 10 of my workstations (yea I know, I’m trying to cut back).   I also have some plans to convert one of my 12 notebooks (yea, yea I know I’m a hoarder) to run the Chrome OS as I don’t think Google is going to drop a big shiny new box off on my front porch.

Rocket Packs? I remember reading Sci-Fi magazines back when I was a kid that promised by now we would have flying cars and rocket packs.    Well we don’t actually have those things but we do have some pretty amazing stuff that might just be better.  Maybe it’s time I started to share some of the discoveries and coolness that I come across.   Gadgets, People and Places.