First impressions: Mycroft voice assistant

I don’t get voice assistants. Telling computers what to do using my voice has never really appealed. Sure, they’re cool. And I admit they’re also super useful for some people. Just for not me. In spite of this, I’m fascinated by the speech recognition and text-to-speech software behind these assistants, which, quite frankly, is incredible. Of course, it isn’t the most efficient way of interacting with computers, but when it works it’s magical.…

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My 2019 Reading List

With the new year comes a new resolve to start a list of all the books I want to read. Until now, the approach has been to keep a haphazard list in my head. Unfortunately, this mental list is generally inaccessible when it comes time to choose something new to read.

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QWERTY hurts while kana charms: Changing my keyboard layout to type in Japanese

The past few months I’ve been hitting the kanji study hard. Between the two web-apps I use, I’ve regularly been reviewing at least a couple of hundred items a day. What this has really driven home for me is that QWERTY is just not a great fit for typing Japanese. Sure, it does the job, but it feels a little… off. Like wearing your belt one hole too tight. Off-balance almost.

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Off to ProsLang!

Currently writing this from Chūbu Airport, before I head off to Proslang, a speech prosody workshop being held at Victoria University of Wellington. I’ll be giving a poster presentation this Friday. For anyone interested, I’m making a copy of it available here, which should go up in the next couple of days.

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Cold facts?

The growing influence of English is a threat to Icelandic, according to an opinion piece in the The Guardian by Icelandic crime fiction author Ragnar Jónasson. Should we, or more importantly Iceland, be worried?

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Sucker for etymology

Heading into work this morning, I read an excerpt from Rose George’s new book Nine Pints: A Journey Through the Mysterious, Miraculous World of Blood on the Guardian. This particular section of the book documented the author’s visit to the “UK’s only leech production business.” Personally, I had no idea there was still a market for medicinal leeches in the UK, but by the sounds of it business is pretty good.…

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Building a standalone IPA keyboard: Part 4 - Putting it all together

Aw. Yiss It’s done! I did the thing! Keycaps landed a little while ago and after a little fiddling around I had a finished IPA keyboard in front of me. Stoked. For anyone interested in the details, I’ve written about the final steps below. A closer look at the keycaps I was more than a little apprehensive before the keycaps arrived. While I was reasonably confident they’d be fine, I couldn’t help but wonder……

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For goodness shake

Visiting the ubiquitous Japanese coffee chain Komeda’s the other day, my girlfriend noticed something odd about the menu.

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Building a standalone IPA keyboard: Part 3 - Disaster Strikes!

The other day my programmable keypad arrived in the mail. I was eager to get a bit of tinkering done before the keycaps came, so I decided to get stuck in.

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Building a standalone IPA keyboard: Part 2 - The Design

Right, to recap the aims covered in my first post, I want to build a small keypad programmed to type IPA symbols, to supplement my regular QWERTY keyboard.

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