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Windows Speech Recognition Macros

Technical Preview Release Notes

April 2008

1         Overview

The Windows Speech Recognition Macros tool – or WSR Macros for short – extends the usefulness of the speech recognition capabilities in Windows Vista.  Users can create powerful macros that are triggered by spoken commands which can perform a series of tasks from as simple as inserting your mailing address to as complex as providing a completely different speech interaction with applications.

While we have tried to make it easy to use, this release of WSR Macros is a technical preview of technology we are planning to release in the future.  Not all the features we have planned are included, and some are incomplete.  Users are cautioned to treat this release as “pre-beta.”  While creating simple macros is very straightforward, the creation and editing of more complex macro files is best suited for advanced users.  We welcome your feedback on how we can improve WSR Macros to best suit your needs.

2         System Requirements

The Technical Preview Release of WSR Macros requires the following:

·         A computer running a genuine copy of Windows Vista (x86 or x64)

o   Currently, only English-language editions of Windows are supported.

·         A working microphone

·         Optionally, speakers or headset for sound and voice output

We recommend the following in addition:

·         A minimum of 1GB of memory is recommended when using speech alongside of other applications.

·         Speech recognition works best when the computer can hear you clearly.  We recommend high-quality microphones for best results.  Microphones that are placed near the speaker’s mouth are optimal, such as a headset microphone.

·         We recommend that you complete the Microphone Wizard and additionally the Windows Speech Recognition tutorial before using WSR Macros.  This will ensure that your microphone is setup properly and help the speech engine become adapted to your voice.

·         Please note that most Bluetooth microphones do not function well with Windows Speech Recognition due to limited audio bandwidth.

3         Getting Started with WSR Macros

 

3.1       Installation and Starting

1)      Install WSR Macros from the setup file.  You will be prompted to accept the End-User License Agreement (EULA) as part of the installation.

2)      After installation, WSR Macros can be invoked by going to the Start Menu -> All Programs and selecting “Windows Speech Recognition Macros.”

3)      When loaded, WSR Macros places an icon in the taskbar notification area, close to where the time and system alerts are shown.

Note that when you load WSR Macros, the Windows Speech Recognition application also loads.  If you have not used Windows Speech Recognition before, you will be prompted to complete the Microphone Setup Wizard, the Speech Tutorial and a few other questions regarding the configuration of Windows Speech Recognition.

If you are unfamiliar with Windows Speech Recognition, please refer to the following resources:

Help and Support

Start Help and Support from the Start menu and type “Speech Recognition” into the search box and press Enter.

Step-by-Step guide

http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb530325.aspx

Demonstration Video

http://www.microsoft.com/enable/demos/windowsvista/speechdemo.aspx

3.2       Creating a Speech Macro

For this example, we will create a simple yet useful macro that will insert your mailing address into the current application whenever you say “my mailing address.”

1)      Right-click on the WSR Macros icon to display the menu and choose “New Speech Macro…”

2)      The Speech Macro Wizard will appear with four choices.  Choose the first one “Insert Text”

3)      Type or speak “my mailing address”

4)      Press the Tab key or say “Tab” to move to the next field

5)      Type or speak the text you would like to appear.  For example, you could type “555 Main St., Buffalo, NY 98052”, pressing Enter to separate the lines as you choose

6)      When finished, press or say “Next”

7)      The wizard will confirm your choices and prompt for a filename to save the speech macro.

Note that in order for WSR Macros to load the macro, the file must be saved in the Speech Macros folder, under the current users Documents folder

8)      Press or say “Finish” to complete the wizard and save the new macro file

By default, the wizard will apply a digital signature to the newly created macro file.  A digital signature ensures that the file cannot be changed or tampered with, without the user applying a new signature.  You will be prompted to create a new “default signing certificate” if one has not yet been created.  Creating a signing certificate requires administrsative access and you may be prompted to provide credentials as part of the process.

 

4         Known Issues

The following are known problems with the Technical Preview Release of WSR Macros.  If you encounter other problems, please send us feedback (see below).

4.1       Set Security Level Task Dialog not accessible

The dialog box for setting the security level cannot be commanded by speech in this release.

4.2       Vague error messages when signing macro files

Currently when there is an error with the signing or validation of signed macro files, an error code is returned with no additional information.  Ensure that you have a signing certificate stored on the machine before trying again.  More helpful error messages will be included in a future release.

4.3       Unsupported Characters can be entered by Wizards

When using the Macros Wizard to insert text, the provided text is not validated and may cause an error on execution.  For example, entering either a ‘<’ or ‘>’ (greater than or less than characters) will cause an error.  This will be fixed in a later version.

4.4       Restart WSR Macros after changing Security Level

When going from a low to a high security level, there may be some unsigned macro files loaded that could be executed.  To be sure only those macro files that are signed are loaded, restart WSR Macros.

5         Feedback and More Information

The following web sites can offer more information about WSR Macros:

Microsoft Speech                            http://www.microsoft.com/speech/
Speech @ Microsoft Blog             http://blogs.msdn.com/speech/
Rob's Rhapsody                                                http://blogs.msdn.com/robch/
Speech API Blog                                               http://blogs.msdn.com/chuckop/

Please send questions and feedback regarding WSR Macros to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  Note that we cannot provide formal support for this Technical Preview release.