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  • Speech processing for Windows 8.1 with Grammars XML?

    If you will install the Microsoft Speech SDK and look in the program files there is documentation to answer your questions about Grammar including how to use the Grammar Building tools.

    In addition, the Microsoft Speech SDK has a redistribution component, so you can use it on all forms of Windows from 7 and up.


  • Speech processing for Windows 8.1 with Grammars XML?

    Rogers,  here's a link to an article on voice recognition on MSDN.  https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/magazine/dn857362.aspx

    There's two types of Speech Recognition, System.Speech and Microsoft.Speech. 

    You can use Microsoft.Speech with MS Speech SDK which requires no training of voice.  System.Speech requires voice training.  I will let the article fill in the details for you.

  • If Xbox Music does this, i am sold.

    It doesn't, but you can get this for Xbox360.


    Make sure to read the reviews, because this is nothing like Lips or Singstar.



  • Wow, killing off TechNet is stupid

    I have just recently moved from Blue to Orange in my career going from Sysadmin/Support to Data/Development and this fall I was going to move to the lower level MSDN anyway.

    That being said, TechNet was an invaluable resource to me, because it gave me the hands on experiences that you could not get from Virtual Labs.  The virtual labs were set up in a task oriented fashion with a time limit, you couldn't get your hands dirty.  If you wanted to get the experience of setting up Lync with Exchange and using a cheap VOIP phone to understand and get the experience of deploying a full MS stack, TechNet was the only way to do that.  No virtual lab would show you what you needed to do to set the DHCP server for  Option 66 to get that phone on the network and provisioned with Lync.

    If you wanted to deploy WMS for streaming live events, you wouldn't get that experience in a virtual lab.  The virtual labs are good practice points, and are valuable for guiding techs in experiences, it's just not the same experience.

    Look if there was abuse, why not crack down on it?  Really? Time bomb the keys, every 180 days let the install insist on getting a new key.  The subscriber would have to log in, get a new key, and reactivate.  How's would this be so much different from the current KMS system?

    Another option would be to have TechNet in Azure.  Let me set up a Cloud Lab for learning.  If you want more IT Pros pushing Azure, this would be the way to go.  Less hardware expense on my part and others.

    Like I said, am moving away from TechNet anyway, but I still believe in the program and the opportunity for Technicians to learn MS products in a failsafe way.



  • What os does Securifi Almond run?

    @giovanni:I agree that it would be interesting to see more hardware developers use WinEmbed, but the problem is the hoops you have to go through to get it.

    With a PC, go and buy an OEM copy of windows at your favorite outlet.

    With embedded, go to http://www.microsoft.com/windowsembedded/en-us/intelligent-systems.aspx

    Then, click and decide the device, then try to find a partner, then try to find a partner with information such as pricing.....or you could just use Linux.


  • Simple family share policies [include gift capability].

    Magical, I think you have accomplished putting together a system and description that was sorely needed during the X1 drm blowback.

    It's  a simple If/ then statement block, but if we had things presented in this way, I think there would not have been quite the same blowback that we saw.

    Simple precise lines in the sand could have cooled down a lot of people, and maybe this will be the path that the future takes.

    For me, my main concern was legacy.  I am a gamer first, a Microsoft admirer second.  It was the first Xbox that got me interested in the company.

    I hate rehashing over dead arguments, but I have been on the wrong side of MS DRM before. 


    Stuck in the middle of a road trip when my Zune decided it was time to "phone home" and be left with 25% of my music collection. (The part that wasn't DRM'd.)  I have had albums and tracks become unavailable because the licensing agreement changed.  Honestly, I am ok with that because I haven't purchased but "rented' under the subscription model.  Still things I had access to have vanished because of licensing.

    I remember purchasing tracks  from MSN music to have the store go belly up and not being able to play tracks unless I burnt a cd and re-ripped before the servers went dark. I remember the hype of sharing music with Zune before that was clipped a few years later and removed. 

    One of my favorite Xbox 360 games, Lips, had downloadable content.  I have spend about $700 dollars over the past 6 years in add-ons.  I have had to change consoles a few times, which when I went to re-download tracks had some of them suddenly vanish from the marketplace due to licensing. Not only that, whenever I play lips, it goes and contact servers for DRM checks on add-ons.  If it fails, I can only play what's on the disc.  I have had to wait at least 5 minutes after loading for the DRM checks to pass, and only then  I could start playing. If they failed, I was stuck on disc.

    So, when I heard about the 24 hour check ins and Family Sharing, I saw echoes of my past dealings with MS DRM.  Adding on to that was my experience with Hurricane Ivan in 2005, in which I was in the midst of playing FFXI ( an mmorpg on PS2)  when it was suddenly cut off from me for two weeks despite power..  Luckily I had xbox games I could play in the meantime, that didn't require the internet.

    So, having an offer of an Xbox with 24 hr. check in DRM (less time than the Zune Phone Home)with all digital titles that were done from licensing that may or may not expire depending on the whim of the publisher, with a sharing feature that may or may not be revoked in the future.......

    Do you see the pattern?

    Gaming to me is a serious hobby, I may not buy first day on all titles, but I will pick up a game down the road when I get a chance.  I prefer to buy new, and I prefer to keep and not resell.  I have also been known to pick up an Atari 2600 cartridge as well when the opportunity arises.


    The argument about the developers is still a distraction. It really doesn't take into the account all of the issues.

    If used games stores can make a profit reselling 60 dollar games at 5 to 10 off the price of new, what does that really say?

    If publishers want to compete, then compete.  60 a game only to reduce to 30 three to four months later is ridiculous.

    Introduce AAA titles at around 40, and see what happens to the profit margins.  I would expect a tremendous amount of sales.  By the time you do 60 then 30, you would have been better off starting and sticking with 40.

    Lastly, the video game crash of 1984 has a lot of lessons to teach.  When all of us learn them, maybe we can stop the great publisher manufactured video game apocalypse that is being pushed on us, today..



    TLDR1: MS has to earn trust for a DRM scheme to succeed, and they have to be specific and honest. Straight up rule sheets is the way to go, but must also provide remedies should the provider fail to keep the contract/bargain.









  • E3 Smackdown

    It's over. 

    It looks like we have a new Microsoft coming back.  One that listens to their customers.

    DRM and Always online are gone.


  • Windows 8.1 looks interesting

    @Ian2:Thanks for the share.

    This video makes me feel like they are getting it right.  If they could "restrict" the start screen/desktop transition just a tad then it could be less jarring.  I know that sounds nuts, putting the breaks on an action, but if you would slow it down to 1/2 speed most people wouldn't be freaked out by it. Maybe a toggle feature from the control panel could turn it off/on.  On by default, off for power users.

    Else:  Telemetry is just one tool, and although it's important, it's useless without context.  I really believe bringing back real beta testers is the only way to solve this.  They are the only one's that can give context, especially if you include the it community in those tests.

    The current beta-testing system is broken. 

    It's going to be hard to create a great system for taking feedback and telemetry together, but without that system, everyone is operating in the dark.  Feedback with telemetry could open insights.  Feedback could say, "Hey, this person is doing this action because that's all they know." as compared to "No one uses this."  Instead of focusing on discovery, the option is to get rid of a feature or option instead of making the feature more democratic.

    Including IT admins in the process would help, but you would have to find the right admins and be willing to listen to them.  There are some admins that hate all change, but there are others looking to improve.  Filter and find the experts that are looking to improve, question them, listen to them, and even if you don't decide to follow their suggestions, come up with a damn good reason besides telemetry.  Share with them your thoughts, and honestly listen to theirs.

    If you don't, then you can be guaranteed they will never deploy your product.  Never.

    You have to realize the real gatekeepers in the enterprise, and they are not consumers, they are IT directors and admins.  Until you can win them, you will lose.

    That being said, there will always be the admins that hate everything new, because it means more work learning for them.  Those jokers you can ignore completely, but those that embrace the Microsoft way, are diehard Microsoft users, and diehard believers in the Microsoft stack, you better listen to them and take what they say to heart.

    There was a lot of noise with Vista, but those of us that kept up knew exactly where we stood.  Vista was a new paradigm, and you either got on board or not.   For me, I pushed and pulled the organization I was with to start thinking about ALM.  I pointed out benefits vs. detractions.   I insisted on focusing the organization into thinking about these things.

    With Win8?  The brick wall that was put up where they stuck their fingers in their ears and said "I can't hear you, the telemetry says you are wrong."  That put a sour taste in my mouth.

    It did the same with most pro MS admins.

    Win 8.1 looks like they are hearing us at last, and I am grateful.  The work, the overtime, and the blood/sweat/tears that have went into this release is appreciated.

    Thank You.  Thank you for all the hard work that has been done.

    Now a suggestion.  Let's work together, let's build this further, and let this be a partnership between the users/developers/admins to make the best product possible.  Let's have the two way conversation again that was the founding principle of C9. 

    Don't ignore your friends, but listen to them, take their complaints and advice into account.  Most of us here want MS to succeed.  We have invested in you, would it hurt to listen to some of us.

    And for the constant detractors, if you have to criticize, then offer an alternative solution to the things you criticize.  Don't just B' and Moan.  Be constructive.  Live the spirit of C9.  Make it two-way again, and maybe we can get back on track.

    Sorry about the rant, but it needed to be said.

  • How and why is it OK to ban second-hand games?

    I am not at the point of storming the streets with a pitchfork, but I can see how some people can feel that way. I am a video game collector, and this whole mess just makes me ill.

    Right now in my collection I have an Atari 2600, NES, Super NES,Nintendo 64, Gamecube, Wii, Sega Genesis, PS2, PS3, Nintendo GBA,Nintendo DS, PSP, Xbox, Xbox 360. When XBOX live arcade debuted on the 360, I was very reluctant at purchasing games due to lack of physical media. I like, everyone else that has bought digitally, eventually got over my fears of not having physical media. I ended up with a large collection of digital content. The one reassurance was that I could always re-download. I have had to do that a couple of times due to failed Xbox 360 consoles.

    Currently I live in a rural area, my bandwidth isn't that great, and now in order to play games I am going to have an always on connection? If Microsoft goes out of business, am I not going to be able to play my games anymore? I can walk over at any time and use any of my other consoles, but suddenly because of the lack of law enforcement and greed of companies I am going to need perfect bandwidth?

    This is ridiculous. You didn't see publishers trying to crack down on used bookstores. You didn't see the music industry try to crack down on used record stores. Now suddenly because the technology is there we are going to have no used video games? This is greed pure and simple. It needs to stop here, or other markets are going to follow the same practice.

    Developers? I'm sorry, but let's go ahead and tell the truth here. This isn't about developers, this about the companies that publish games. Developers are a red herring, and you shouldn't be fooled into that lie. How many developers receive a royalty? How many don't and are fired at the completion of a game?

    I buy games new, because I collect them. I buy used games because I collect them and can no longer buy them new. Video games to me are like artwork. They are just like the movies I buy, the books I buy, and the music I buy.

    Now because of a few companies' greed we are going to change everything? No thank you. I will vote with my wallet. Now if you excuse me, I need to go play River Raid.

  • The sharks smell blood

    I don't know whether ousting Ballmer is the answer.  If you were just looking at stock prices, then someone could make the argument.  The problem is, the stock market makes no sense when thinking about it from the theoretical point of view.

    Typically you buy a stock, the company makes a profit, you make money.  Unfortunately, today's stock market is rife with speculation. People don't buy stock to share in profit, they buy stock for the market price of the stock.  If it's sexy it sells.  That's why GOOG and AAPL are raking in the dough, it's the stock price not the fundamentals of the company.

    I will be honest, when I was in systems administration and planning, I looked at the Apple stack as an alternative to Microsoft.  Apple has nothing for the enterprise, in fact all of their moves lately shows they are running away from enterprise business.  If enterprise wants to deploy Apple, they are on their own.  No management system for iPad or iPhone, no real server product, no central system for software management.  Have you ever looked at the logistics of upgrading or downgrading the latest Apple products?  We had a few Macs, and when we ordered a MacBook with Lion with known issues with Adobe, there was no way we could downgrade.

    Microsoft is still the best for enterprise at this moment.  With open source trying to chase them down, they may not hold forever.

    As far as the Zune, Kin, etc.  Kin was a reject from the get go, and an example of a bad acquisition.  Taking an open source product and trying to make it a Microsoft product, throw on top of that the Intellectual Asset of the founder of Danger running to your rival made it a disaster from the get go.

    Zune on the other hand succeeded too late.  It was far superior to it's competition, yet could not gain market traction.  This comes back to the one thing Microsoft has always lacked, and that's sexy marketing.  Could the Zune product succeed? Yes, but the marketing strategies and the commitment of the company had to be there.

    So what does that mean for now?  I think Ballmer needs good technical leadership if he is to remain.  He needs to stay back, let the tech person lead with vision, and Ballmer needs to handle the numbers. 

    Does Microsoft need to pay attention to it's enterprise customers? YES. 

    With the rumors about the start button and boot to desktop, I believe they are.  It's these two things that gives me hope.  No, the start button doesn't bring back the start menu, but it's a beginning.  Honestly, that bloody button is the one thing that could make me think about deploying Windows 8 with minimal training. Listening to feedback from the admins of enterprise systems would go a long way towards cementing Microsoft permanently as the OS or business.

    (Side Rant: If I had known that Customer Experience would be used to determine the life of the start menu, I would have skipped ever single setting that pinned programs to the taskbar and placed icons on the desktop in my answer files when I deployed 700 machines year before last.  Instead of making things convenient for my users, I would have made sure they would have to go to the start menu for every program they launched.  If the decisions to remove the start menu were based on Customer feedback instead of a data point saying that customers didn't use it, then we would never have had this hullabaloo in the first place.  END RANT)

    Ok back to topic.  So, let's say that Ballmer is thrown out.....Who in the heck would you replace him with?  Would he be business focused?  Would she be marketing focused?  Would they be tech focused?

    I think business wise, Ballmer is doing a good job, but he needs someone there that can provide the input for the tech side, and argue why losing money on a tech product is better for the long run.  God knows he could use someone savvy in marketing for sure.