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DECTALK June 27, 2006

Posted by gordonwatts in computers.
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In our control room we have all the Linux computers networked to a print queue that ends – not in a printer, but – in a speech synthesizer. DECTALK. This thing was purchased circa 1990. We use it to deliver messages to the shifters from the computer monitor systems: “Level 3 input rate is low!”, or “SCL Init needs to be issued”. Of course, this is 1990’s technology, so it sounds like a guy speaking from 10 feet underwater.

This box and its algorithms live on today in places other than the DZERO control room. Someone has made it sing Karaoke. It has been used by Stevie Wonder. The list goes on. There is a history page describing how it came to be (yes, it has attainted that mythical status).

When I was working on the AMY experiment we had a very old Atari that Alan Fry programmed to speak whenever there was a high voltage trip: “High Voltage Trip! Waaaake up! Waaaaake up!” That “Waaake up!” is still part of my dreams sometimes…

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