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Speaking Variable Values

upstatemike

Senior Member
I just learned that JDS is going to discontinue incorporating the voice/telephone board in Stargate controllers and I am a little worried. A huge percentage of my automation applications involve speaking the status of things that incorporate a variable value in the message. Things like thermostat setpoints, high and low temperatures for the day, number of times the well pump has operated, total runtime for the day of furnaces and other equipment, etc. etc.

Hopefully my Stargate will run a long time without any problems but if the voice board fails and is no longer available for replacement, I'm not sure what my options would be. The Elk M-1 does not speak variables and HVPro does not speak at all. I tried Homeseer last year and the fact that speaking variables was not a simple operation was one of the things that I didn't like about it. (HS required a bunch of scripting instead of just inserting the variable into the text string to be spoken in the gui interface the way stargate does)

If anybody has a good way to speak messages that include variable values, preferably in a simple gui or command line format (no VB or complicated scripts), then I waould appreciate hearing about it so I can begin to formulate a backup plan in case my SG voice board ever fails. Maybe an xAP or xPL solution based on ASCII messages from a Stargate serial port?
 

Stinger

Active Member
I just posted the message you were referring to in another thread. I can't imagine Jeff would discontinue the boards completely and believe he was just theorizing on how it could be done in his message.

Also, it's the telephony board he is going to replace, which has nothing to do with Stargate's speech. Rest assured, everyone using Stargate is using the voices, and it will never go away.

BTW- When is the UNY Home automation meet? E won't come out and play, but I think there are about 3 others on this board from the Syracuse area.
 

electron

Administrator
Staff member
Hey, I didn't say I didn't want to :) I had a few personal issues to deal with, and work has kept me extremely busy as well.
 

Mike

Senior Member
On the speaking part, isn't that something that Hal 2000 does very well? I thought I saw someone here with a demo of their setup that included it. Granted it ties in a lot of voice recognition, but the responses were quite clear "What is the weather in Oklahoma City?" "The weather in Oklahome City is xx degrees".

I forgot where I found it, but it was a very nice demo (it was a link on someone's signature here).

I haven't used it or even done much research, but it seemed like something interesting to check out down the line once I had the basics done...

Sounds like you don't need it though.
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Stinger-
The Telephone/IVR board has the connections for the speaker, line-in, line-out, phone, intercom and CO line. Without that stargate has no voice.

Mike-
HAL reads stuff off the Internet fine but I'm not sure if it will read a value stored in a stargate variable. Worth looking into though.

As for an automation meet, I don't come down out of the hills much. Might go into Syracuse on Friday to see Serenity but other than that my only trips to the big city are visits to The Blue Tusk. Of course if you wanted to hold a meeting there...
 

Steve

Senior Member
I don't know what the voices out of Stargate sound like but HAL only support a few that aren't that great. They are also not SAPI compliant so you can't change them. David said a future release of the M1 would allow you to speak variables in a May 21 post but I don't think that will be in the next release.

Besides HAL which I'm not sure if it can handle the variables and HS which you say is difficult, but it does support good voice, you may want to consider Charmed Quark (CQC). I believe today you would have to do a macro to speak a variable but in the next release coming out shortly you will be able to speak a variable directly from the action command which would be very easy.

Only downside is there is no Stargate driver for CQC today but the good side is there is an excellent M1 driver, so you could use the M1 and CQC and get what you are looking for, plus CQC supports SAPI so you can use any SAPI compliant voice if you'd like.
 

damage

Senior Member
grab xPLTTS here:
http://www.xplhal.com/xpl_net.htm

install that on the same machine as winevm

you'll also need to install microsoft's SAPI 5.1 to get their crummy free voices. i purchased AT&T natural voices instead.

similar to what i suggested for controlling your squeezebox, you'll add ascii out commands to run a .bat file:

&&speak_var.bat <variable>

speak_var.bat will look like this:
xplsend xpl-cmnd * tts.basic speech=%1

which will send the voice to all xPL TTS apps.

tts.basic schema:
http://www.xplproject.org.uk/modules.php?o...artid=14&page=1

now the fun thing, once you have xPL TTS going, is you can install them on all your pc's and send zoned TTS announcements by directing the xpl messages to a particular pc.

ie, instead of "*" we're sending to KIDSPC:
xplsend xpl-cmnd tonyt-tts.KIDSPC tts.basic speech="hey! it's time for bed!"
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Steve-
Good input on M1/CQC combination. I am definitely going to do some more research in that direction.

damage-
I already have the AT&T voices from when I tried out homeseer. I currently use them to make custom wav files that I either play through WinEVM or record into stargate user response locations. If this method works, then I can use AT&T voices in messages that report info from variables as well. This is cool enough to use in conjunction with the built in voices... no need to wait till I have a hardware problem!

Thanks for another great solution!!!
 

Stinger

Active Member
electron said:
Hey, I didn't say I didn't want to :) I had a few personal issues to deal with, and work has kept me extremely busy as well.
E - I was just kidding around, I know it's hard to find time.. Do you know if the other Dan (from Syracuse) frequents this site at all

Upstate, my office is in downtown Syracuse, but I get there about once a month tops. I live in Clay. Not sure where to meet, but I'd be more than willing to host the first one.
 

Mark S.

Active Member
upstatemike said:
(HS required a bunch of scripting instead of just inserting the variable into the text string to be spoken in the gui interface the way stargate does)

If anybody has a good way to speak messages that include variable values, preferably in a simple gui or command line format (no VB or complicated scripts), then I waould appreciate hearing about it so I can begin to formulate a backup plan in case my SG voice board ever fails.
I speak Stargate variables via Homeseer every day. It does not really require fancy scripting. Put this line in your script box for the HS event (edited for your device/situation).

&hs.speak "Outside temperature is" & hs.devicevalue("[12") & "degrees."

It's pretty easy - in my opinion much easier than some other hardware solution. Unless I'm not really understanding your issue...

That said, I do most of my speaking from real, but simple VB scripts. Once you know a few rules, speaking scripts are cake. The quality of the AT&T voices blows away the monotone Mr. Stargate.

Mark
 

upstatemike

Senior Member
Mark-
Thanks for the detailed example. I still have the copy of HS I played with last year installed on my system so I'll take another look at it.

I have to admit I don't remember the details of the issue I had last year. Your example is exactly what I was trying to do but when I asked tech support about the correct syntax for inserting the variable (the &varaiable& part) they said I couldn't do it from the gui. There were also issues relating to devicevalue vs stringvalue or something like that. It is very possible I just did a poor job of asking the question.
 

Mark S.

Active Member
If you do give HS a try again and would like some more scripting examples, let me know. All my announcements were moved from SG to HS.

Mark
 
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