Feb 13, 2013

Jan - 30 2013 | By

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Paul & Glenn were in the studio with their guest Andrew Lauder of myLanguage

myLanguage makes language translation applications for mobile devices. Their new app is called Vocre, which facilitates vocal conversations between people who speak different languages. <More about that later>

Paul followed up on the PD10 Android tablet he mentioned on the 1-23-13 show. <See those notes for details> He admonished listeners to be careful what website you get the feature list from. He made the mistake of getting the info from the manufacture's site: info predicated on buying 10,000 units. That webpage said the unit included both front & back-facing cameras and GPS. The unit he bought from a vender had neither.

He also talked about "Android on a stick" on the 1-23-13 show and today he added more details.
– It takes about 45sec to boot up.
– It can take up to a 32gig micro SD card. He found such a card for $19.
– It can access the Google app store called Google Play.
– To use it you'll need to have a USB port to supply the required 5 volts of power, an HDMI monitor/TV and a USB mouse. You don't need a keyboard because "Android pops up a keyboard as required on your screen". <TV screens are not multi-touch capable so I guess you have to use your mouse to click on the letters>
– It has BlueTooth so you can get a cheap BlueTooth keyboard for it.
– If you want multi-touch, you can get a multi-touch mouse pad.

Glenn mentioned that Vizio, the brand of his TV, offers a smart-TV add-on called Costar for $99, which has a touch pad. However, there may be some problems with it and Amazon has put sales on hold.
– It has Google TV.
– It has the Chrome web browser.
– It can run various apps.
– Its main purpose is to bring smart-TV apps like Netflix, Voodoo, Youtube to your TV.

Paul got a similar smart-TV device for $55, which he identified only by what's in it: RK3066 (the number of the chipset in the device). He went on to say many TVs you buy these days have network capability to receive services like Netflix, but "they're usually proprietary". A friend of his bought a smart-TV thinking he'll be able to plug in a USB camera, but it turned out he'd have to buy a particular camera from the TV manufacturer.
– It can take flash memory (where you can store your movies).
– He recommended a free app called X-plore to go with it, so you can see and manage the files you have stored. It also shows the contents of your web-based storage: Picasa, Google Drive and many others
– He said he's "never seen this much horsepower in a small package"……
– The unit has a 1.6 gigaHz duo-core RISC processor licensed by ARM and a "respectable graphics processor" for 3-D rendering.

Paul said he loves the latest WordPress. It's entirely web-based where it can update itself. And you can use plugins or webapps. You can install it on your computer or use the version on the WordPress website. He said it seems to have pulled ahead, in popularity, of competing platforms like Joomla.
<For more about WordPress, see the notes for the 8-22-12 show>

Andrew Lauder was reintroduced and he spoke a bit about his Vocre app. It does language translation as you speak to someone on your mobile device. You push the record button and speak. It does the translating and sends the result to the other person in their own language. They, in turn, follow a similar process and you can carry on a conversation.

Glenn had a chance to try it last night and found it to be very speedy. He's planning to go to southern Europe and tried translating into Spanish & Greek, but he had no foreign speakers to evaluate the accuracy of the translations. He sent the result to a couple of Greek speakers but hasn't heard back yet.

Paul said the pronunciation is good. The voice doesn't sound synthesized. Andrew said it's based on actual human speech and mimics the flow of the speech by matching, and then using, the appropriate phonemes.

He said Vocre uses the Nuance speech recognizer. What you say is sent to Nuance (on the web) where the recognition is done. Nuance converts what you've said to text, which is then sent to another business partner called iSpeech to convert the text into a human-sounding voice. And that eventually is sent to whom you are speaking in their language. Vocre is available at the iPhone app store and the Google Play store for $2.99. In the Google Play store, browse the Travel category, it's pretty highly ranked there.

The guys did a brief test of Vocre by translating an English sentence into German and then translating it back to check the accuracy. It did pretty well.

Andrew said they started the development of the Vocre app in 2008 and it came out for the iPhone first. His inspiration came when he visited Greece and had only moderate success in carrying on a conversation.

While the others were talking, Glenn pasted some English text into the app and had it converted to Spanish. He then played it on air and asked any Spanish-speaking listeners to call in to give their impressions. <No one called during the show>

There was some talk about the algorithms used in translation: how similar common phrases <"hello, how are you" "how do you do" etc.> are mapped to one phrase in the foreign language.

Paul said there is a free developer tool called Xcode Tools <apparently for Apple only> for developing mobile apps. He wondered if Vocre was written using Xcode. Andrew said the iPhone version was, but not the Android version. The Android version was written in Sencha: an HTML5 tool.

Talking about the developer environment, Andrew said the Apple community seems more supportive in sharing code and such. He also said it's easier to try an app and get your money back from Google Play, whereas that's quite difficult to do at the iPhone store.

Paul talked a bit about Youtube moving to HTML5 and away from Flash. He tried using it with Flash turned off and only using HTML5 and said it's currently unusable because it kept nagging him to download a plugin. Andrew suggested he change the "User Agent" setting to make it look like he was using an iPad and thus forcing Youtube to use HTML5 to stream the video. There are several extensions for Firefox & Chrome that allow you to change the User Agent.
<User Agent setting tells the website that you're visiting what type of browser you're using.>

Andrew said there is an app for iPhone & iPad that allows you to use website with Flash content. It converts the Flash content to a form that the iDevice can then display. He wasn't sure about the name but thought it might be SkyFire. <Apparently it's a browser & available for Android too>

Glenn said he'll be talking about the jailbreaking of his iPhone 3GS and that Skype & Direct TV no longer work. He expects to do that on the next show.

Paul mentioned evasi0n.com <He really butchered the sentence and didn't say what it was, but from what I've, heard it's a very popular jailbreak for Apple's iOS 6>

The disclaimer:
The views and opinions expressed on this show are those of the speakers only and not necessarily those of KVMR, it board, management, staff or contributors.

Paul said the podcast of this show MIGHT be put up on KVMR. Go to kvmr.org and look for the podcast link.

Last updated 10:29 PM 2/13/2013