Bambang F. Indarto

The Journey… The Shares

Microsoft Office Speech Recognition

Posted by bfindarto on February 6, 2009

Microsoft has been working on speech recognition technology as a product for several years. I’ve been using this feature since Microsoft launch the Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Office XP. Two of the features that we can use in this Voice Recognition technology are Voice Command and Voice Dictation.

This feature is available in the Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, English (U.S.), and Japanese language versions of Microsoft Office 2003 and in the Simplified Chinese, English (U.S.), and Japanese language versions of Microsoft Office XP.

According to its name, Voice Command is a feature that will enable us to give instruction to Microsoft Office family. For example, if you want to create a new file, usually we use our pc’s keyboard by pressing Ctrl+N stroke, or use our mouse by clicking on menu File, and then we choose New. Voice Command adds one more option for giving instruction to Microsoft Office by only saying “Menu File New” with your microphone. Voice Dictate is a feature that enable us to dictate words using our voice and Microsoft Office will type the words automatically.

To use this feature, there are some things that need to be consider and to be done. In general, you will be asked to create a voice profile. And to create this voice profile, make sure that you use the high quality microphone and make sure that you have a quite environment. It would be better if you don’t have any other sound around you.

Ok, lets start to configure and use it. I will simulate the configuration on Microsoft Office 2003. 
Click on Menu Options – Speech to start the Speech Recognition User Profile Wizard.


In this wizard, user will be asked to adjust the microphone volume level.

 micWizzard adjustVolume  signalQualityReport

Next step of the wizard is text positioning.


Next step, wizard will asked user to create user’s voice profile. The process would in the form of voice training; user will be asked to read some words or sentences. User may skip this step by clicking on the Skip button, and the Microsoft Office will load the default user voice profile. But I suggest users to finish the voice training. It take times and need you to be patient, but the voice profile result will be very accurate, because you have your own voice profile.

 voiceTrainingStart voiceTraining  trainingFinished

Ok. Configuration is done. Microsoft Office will show you the Speech Toolbar. In this toolbar, you may use the Voice Command option and start giving instructions to Microsoft Office application, or you may use the Dictation facility to dictate texts to the Microsoft Office.

dictation voiceCommand


Written with Windows Live Writer

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– Life Is A Highway –

Posted by bfindarto on December 31, 2008

Life’s like a road that you travel on
When there’s one day here and the next day gone
Sometimes you bend, sometimes you stand
Sometimes you turn your back to the wind
There’s a world outside every darkened door
Where blues won’t haunt you anymore
Where brave are free and lovers soar
Come ride with me to the distant shore
We won’t hesitate
To break down the garden gate
There’s not much time left today

Life is a highway
I wanna ride it all night long
If you’re going my way
I wanna drive it all night long

Through all these cities and all these towns
It’s in my blood and it’s all around
I love you now like I loved you then
This is the road and these are the hands
From Mozambique to those Memphis nights
The Khyber Pass to Vancouver’s lights

Knock me down get back up again
You’re in my blood
I’m not a lonely man
There’s no load I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

There was a distance between you and I
A misunderstanding once
But now we look it in the eye

There ain’t no load that I can’t hold
Road so rough this I know
I’ll be there when the light comes in
Just tell ’em we’re survivors

——-  Lyric by Rascal Flatt  ——-

Kedah, December 31st 2008

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My Lenovo Veriface… Cool

Posted by bfindarto on December 1, 2008

Silently, Lenovo (formerly IBM’s Personal Computer Division) has introduced a revolutionary new feature on many of their notebook computers called Veriface!  Veriface is face recognition software, which is actually a reemergence of an old idea. IBM had facial recognition capabilities a long time ago. The first introduction was with a ThinkPad T23 with an external camera mounted on the system’s UltraPort. It didn’t work well at all. Most likely because the cameras of that era were terrible. I think they were 0.3 megapixels, but may not have even been that much.

Now that many Lenovo systems include integrated cameras with much better quality (1.3MP), facial recognition has become viable and available for day to day use in securing these computers. The included software lets you log onto your Windows account simply by sitting in front of your system. Your face is your password. What is much cooler is that it is very user friendly for multiple user accounts. For example, let’s say you have three Windows accounts – Mom, Dad, and Sis. If you have associated their faces with their respective user accounts, the system determines which person is in front of the computer when Windows boots and automatically logs them onto the right account. In practice this works very well and is extremely fast at recognition. We have been able to test this with several of our own staff, and each time all they had to do was sit in front of the computer and the system took care of the rest.

Depending on the software used, face recognition uses multiple techniques to identify a person’s face. Some of the more advanced programs use texture mapping in which a person’s skin texture is analyzed and matched. Most however, define nodal points on a person’s face and then use software to mathematically represent those points. Things measured include distance between the eyes, width of the nose, length of the jaw line, or shape of the cheekbones. Together these concatenate a numerical code which is stored in a database for later retrieval.

One particular aspect of the software Lenovo uses is rather freaky. When you sit down in front of the camera, the system generates two white dots that follow your eyes. Of course, this is completely harmless and is nothing more than a few white pixels shown on screen. However, when you see this, you’ll immediately think that there are two lasers drilling holes into my corneas.  Just relax, it’s just the software way of identifying your eyes, and tracking them to map your face.

Of course, a feature like face recognition invites play, and what better way to play than to try and fool the software.

One of Lenovo’s own staff members demonstrated a number of techniques to try to fool it!  First up was an 8 x 10 color glossy photograph of his face (with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back). No matter how I held the photograph, no matter whether the security settings were set high or at their lowest setting, no matter what angle he held the photo, he was not able to use it to log onto the system. The result was exactly what I had expected – that the software was smart enough to distinguish a face from a picture of a face.

The next experiment was to see if the system recognized all types of faces. Sitting at home, I attempted to register my cat. The software wouldn’t enroll her. The software refused to accept the cat, but will register your face if you are holding your pet. On all of these, the software wouldn’t enroll the animals. So it seems that only human faces are recognized and accepted by the software.

Overall it was fast, accurate, and easy to use. There is a password management feature where you can use your face to act as your password – much like on typical fingerprint reader models. Clearly Veriface is easy to use, and a very viable solution.

Source: IBM – Lenovo

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