Mike Stone

Mostly The Lonely Howls Of Mike Baying His Ideological Purity At The Moon

Voice Of The Future

13 May 2020

Day 19 of the #100DaysToOffload Series:

I’ve made no secret that I’m a huge fan of #Mycroft. I love personal assistants, but I also love my privacy. If I’m going to have both, I can’t use most of the voice assitants that are on the market today. But Mycroft doesn’t cover all the bases for me. Here’s one of my biggest, if least relevant to the product, complaints.

Mycroft has the pretty cool capability to change up the name “Wake Word”, or for all intents and purposes, it’s name. The defaults are “Hey Mycroft”, “Christopher”, “Hey Ezra”, and “Hey Jarvis”. Of course, since Mycroft is an open product, you can also just go into the config files and change it yourself.

"hotwords": { "yo mike": { "module": "pocketsphinx", "phonemes": "Y OW . M AY K .", "threshold": 1e-18 } }

That means that you can literally refer to your Mycroft unit as anything you like, and it will answer you.

Even cooler, this configuration is unique to each unit. That means if you have a Mycroft in the living room, it can be Mycroft, and the Mycroft in the kitchen can be Gordon, and the Mycroft in the office can be Linus, etc.

But here’s the rub.

Despite the fact that you literally have an infinite range of ways to “name” your Mycroft, voices become a problem.

This is the control panel on the Mycroft Control Panel for voices. You have the original popey Mycroft called “British Male” (voice based on the voice of Alan Pope), you have an “American Male” voice, and you have “Google Voice”, which sounds like, you guessed it, a Google Assistant device.

That’s it.

Now, I realize that there are probably a hundred different things to work on with a Mycroft that are more important that the voices, but I also feel like having a solid selection here is low hanging fruit. The voice options they have are options they’ve created for Mycroft (minus Google of course).

Two voices, in five years. Worse, there used to be three. There was a female Mycroft voice for a while that wasn’t the Google voice, but I have no idea what happened to that. Our voice choices are decreasing!

I really want to see more voice options for Mycroft. It sucks that I can put a Mycroft in each room with different names and eye colors, but I only have the choice of two voices.

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