Open Source Speech Recognition, Google, CAD for Kids, More: Thursday Afternoon ResearchBuzz, January 6, 2022


Pete Warden: Launching spchcat, an open-source speech recognition tool for Linux and Raspberry Pi. “I’ve been following the team’s work since they launched, and was very impressed by the quality of the open source speech models and code they have produced. I didn’t have an easy way to run them myself though, especially on live microphone input. With that in mind, I decided my holiday project would be writing a command line tool using Coqui’s speech to text library. To keep it as straightforward as possible I modeled it on the classic Unix cat command, where the default would be to read audio from a microphone and output text (though it ended up expanding to system audio and files too) so I called it spchcat.”


The Verge: Google will pay top execs $1 million each after declining to boost workers’ pay. “Google is giving four of its top execs a significant pay bump, raising their salaries from $650,000 to $1 million, just weeks after the company told staffers it wouldn’t automatically adjust salaries to account for inflation. The new executive salaries were disclosed in an SEC filing.”


MakeUseOf: The 6 Best Child-Friendly CAD Tools to Get Kids Started on 3D Design . “The advent of 3D printing can let kids’ imaginations go wild. Since specific shapes no longer limit them, creation possibilities are infinite. However, it’s the software that might restrict their potential. Imagine trying to teach an eight-year-old child Autodesk Fusion 360; that will possibly demotivate them in record time. Nevertheless, there are kid-friendly substitutes available out there. Here are the six best CAD tools to let your child discover 3D modeling.”


I’m linking to this because I’m a huge fan of wholesome weirdness. Mashable: USCPSC official Twitter account confirms birds are real, embarks on intense meme thread. “The internet is chock-full of so many bizarre conspiracy theories that it’s not always easy to keep track, just like it’s not always easy to separate actual conspiracies from parody ones. Birds Aren’t Real, a ‘movement’ that’s picked up enough steam to prompt a recent New York Times profile piece on founder Peter McIndoe, falls firmly into the latter category… In a twist no one could have anticipated, the government itself got in on the joke.”

The Register: Mozilla founder blasts browser maker for accepting ‘planet incinerating’ cryptocurrency donations . “A few days ago, Mozilla Foundation invited netizens on Twitter to send in cryptocurrency donations via a new payment service provider. This move by the Firefox browser maker rapidly drew criticism, including that from Jamie Zawinski – who named the Mozilla project and was one of the original Netscape developers.”


Route Fifty: Feds Step Up Cybersecurity Support for State Governments. “The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is actively working to help states strengthen their cybersecurity efforts by setting up a 50-state network of federal cybersecurity coordinators, one per state.”

CTV: Sweden’s new ‘psychological defence’ agency counters misinformation. “Sweden has launched a new governmental agency aimed at bolstering the country’s ‘psychological defence’ and countering misinformation. Called the Swedish Psychological Defence Agency, it was launched with a new website on Saturday.”

PRNewswire: Class action lawsuit filed in California alleging Google is paying Apple to stay out of the search engine business (PRESS RELEASE). “The complaint charges that Google and Apple agreed that Apple would not compete in the internet search business against Google. The complaint claims that the means used to effectuate the non-compete agreement included; (1) Google would share it’s search profits with Apple; (2) Apple would give preferential treatment to Google for all Apple devices; (3) regular secret meetings between the executives of both companies; (4) annual multi-billion-dollar payments by Google to Apple not to compete in the search business; (5) suppression of the competition of smaller competitors and foreclosing competitors from the search market; (6) acquiring actual and potential competitors.”


CNET: The internet is a great source for facts, but Jan. 6 reminds us truth isn’t the problem. “For people trying to get the truth heard, including those of us in the media, there’s obviously no easy fix. But fighting the good fight could start with more transparency, truth sandwiches, empathy and understanding.”

Newswise: A new method to make AI-generated voices more expressive. “Researchers have found a way to make AI-generated voices, such as digital personal assistants, more expressive, with a minimum amount of training. The method, which translates text to speech, can also be applied to voices that were never part of the system’s training set.” Good afternoon, Internet…

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