Help Me Build My Home Office (and win something for yourself)

I thought that it would be a good exercise to enlist your help in designing and building my home office. No, I’m not looking for financial help (though I’ll take any that is offered). I’m really looking for suggestions on building a home setup for developing Speech Server applications.

I suppose I should explain the purpose of the setup first. I am looking at starting consulting on the side and perhaps making it fulltime in the  future. I of course need a way to develope applications for Speech Server as well as any necessary SQL Server componenets.

I know I’ll need a server for running Speech Server and SQL Server plus at least one development machine. I need the ability do develop applications (at least for the short term) in both MSS 20074 & MSS 2007. I am a big fan of having seperate development and production machines so what ever gets developed will have to be deployed to another PC.

I have an MSDN as a benefit of my MVP so I have the necessary software. I have a laptop running XP Pro but my other PCs won’t be a part of this setup. I have a Brooktrout TR1000 I can use in the server but it is a fullsize card so the server will need to be able to handle the large card. I have an 802.11g network (with wireless access)  in place as well as a 802.11b that is not currently hooked up.

Now you know what I want to do as well as what equipment and software I have. Your assignment is to “dream” up the ideal home office setup for doing Speech Server consulting and development. Remember that my budget is limited as is my wife’s patience for my spending on computers.  Don’t go crazy on me.

I’m looking for ideas such as how many PCs you think I should have and how should they be configured. Should I be using Virtual PC for some of this? If so, how would those environments work?  Should I run MSS 2004 in a virtual and MSS 2007 on the host? With only one telephony card how best to use it for to different MSS versions (dual boot)?

Here’s your chance to help design my setup and win somehting for yourself. I have a nice stainless steel Speech Server coffee mug for whoever is the most helpful. The deadline for posting will be midnight August 31st.

I’ve started a thread over in The Speech Tavern where you can post your suggestions


If you build it they will come – the Sequel

Way back on March 16th I led off my blog with an entry entitled “If you build it they will come“. That was our first full day of existence and we were relying heavily on the hope that if we built it you would show up.

I’ve been looking back on our history lately and I’m proud as well as excited that you did come. And you not only came but have participated by blogging or helping others in the forums. We have at this writing 181 users and a total of 9 bloggers all serving one purpose – to promote Speech Server and increase the skills of the community. We have several Microsoft employees that regularly answer questions in our forum so you know you are getting answers from people that know the product and have the experience.

I know that everyone is busy with other things but it makes me feel good to see how many of you are regularly checking in and helping each other by providing insight or answering questions. That’s what this is all about.

I just want to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you for making the dreams that Brandon and I had come true. As we continue to grow you should know that your efforts to promote and participate in GotSpeech are greatly appreciated. People have noticed what is happening here. We have been mentioned on other sites and a link to GotSpeech can be found on the Speech Server Community page. If you Google for “speech server community” you will find us right there in the second position behind Microsoft. Any combinations of “speech server” or “forum” or “GotSpeech” will have us on the first page. Things are looking up and that is largely thanks to you guys

I better end this before I get all teary eyed but I really feel that we couldn’t have got this far with out you guys – Thanks!

No Speech Server book…..yet

Well Sara and I found out today that MS Press won’t publish our book.

I think that the bottom line is just that they feel the audience is too small and they won’t sell enough copies to make it worthwhile. MSS is still just a niche market in their eyes. How’s that for not seeing the big picture?

I guess with Vista and Office coming out about the first of the year that they will have their hands full with books on those systems and MSS 2007 will get lost in the hype.

I think they screwed up big time with this decision but we will not let that discourage us. We are pressing on and will present the book proposal to other publishers.

So, if you think this is a bummer like we do then you can do the following:

  1. Write your Congressman
  2. Write Microsoft Press and complain
  3. Don’t buy any Vista books
  4. Just do nothing and say “So what. You cares anyway?”

We will push on and I’ll keep you informed as to our progress.

If you wish to comment on this tragedy by offering comments, condolences or even rejoice then as usual I would love to hear from you.


Speaker Verification Activity for Speech Server 2007

Casey Chesnut has a great blog entry about creating custom speech activities in MSS 2007 and he shows how to do speaker identification. Once I do get some time I want to tryout his code.

He also has a really neat article on Workflow Foundation where he creates a neat little game using Speech Server 2007 and IM. That article has some interesting links but I’ll let you find them.

Casey is very talented and the only problem I have with him is that he seems to have more time to play with things like this than I do.

As for me I’m working on an article on the new PromptBuilder class in MSS 2007. Hopefully it will be ready for posting soon but first I have to finish figuring out some of the code as it isn’t well documented yet and then get approval from Microsoft to post it.

As usual I would like your feedback good or bad.


It seems that the criminal element is taking phishing to new heights and has evolved into vishing for your personal data.

Does this mean that voice systems are ready to become mainstream?

Hopefully no GotSpeech members are involved in something like this. Be careful with the data you give out over the phone as well as who you develop for.

With great power (MSS) comes great responsibility.

I would love to hear your comments on this.