Archive for Software

AI-aided text-to-speech

I’ve written here in the past about speech recognition (column DD, and brief notes on Google Voice), but I haven’t written much about speech synthesis, except for a post about song synthesis and an aside in column iii. So I’m pleased to note that Google has made some remarkable improvements in text-to-speech lately. For example, […]

XXX: uʍop-ǝpısdn

It appears that in all these years, I’ve never yet written about turning text upside-down. Note: It’s possible that some parts of this column won’t be readable, depending on the font in which you’re reading it. Apologies if so. I think that if you view this column on the Words & Stuff site, in a […]

Neural net comes up with bird-species names

Janelle Shane, who has trained neural nets to generate entertainingly semi-plausible names for all sorts of things (Pokémon, Star Wars characters, etc), posted a new list about a month ago: bird names. But this time, most of the names weren’t much weirder than real names of bird species. Still, I enjoyed them. A few I […]


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iii: So, Mimi…

Whenever we speak, we make music. Well, okay, that's not entirely true. But in voiced (not whispered) spoken English, every speech sound has a pitch. In most utterances, the pitches stay fairly constant from one syllable to another, though pitch rises at the end of a question and falls at the end of a statement; […]

DD: Excuse me, what was that?

Sometime around the early 1980s, Logical Business Machines (creators of computers with names like David and Goliath, and a programming language called English) released a computer system called Mike. This system came with speech-recognition software and a microphone. An executive of the company attempted to demonstrate the product on a television show; he stood at […]