Monthly Archives: February 2009


Getting Speech to Text (stt) to work


Lessons from Loni

Okay so I installed “festival” which is a speech-to-text synthesiser.

After a lot of fudgeting, I got LOTS of errors.

So Loni had me check to see if I was a “member” of the group “audio” in /etc/group

Nope, but that was easily fixable.  I copied the file to a backup.


1.  ALWAYS have a path back to the way it was, before you messed it up.

2.  Follow rule # 1.

Anyway, it still didn’t work.  Then Loni said:  “Did you bother to logout/in?”

Umm NOOOO!  We also discovered that this is an easy work around for the “break timer” (if you use it) — if you logout/in it resets the timer.  I have reasons to take the break.  Google “Richard Nixon’s Disease.”

As I discovered, you MUST logout/in so the changes to /etc/group will take place.  DOH!

Then I got an error message that I couldn’t access /dev/dsp

Okay what the hell is /dev/dsp?  It’s the digital sample and recording device.

Ahh a speech synthesiser might need that!

So we ended up chmoding (change mode/file permissions).

She suggested:  chmod 666 /dev/dsp

That is the first time in my life, I’d ever chmoded anything to “666!”
(Sets read/write access for everyone!)

Note:  chmod ugoa+rw /dev/dsp

is also correct.

festival worked!

BTW it took a lot of schleping to figure out that the correct syntax for festival is:

(SayText “hello world”)

Yes, the parens and double quotes ARE required! And “SayText” must be mixed case!

Interesting things to try:

(SayText “nuclear submarine”)

(SayText “irish wristwatch”)

And remember:  “Soylent Green.  It’s tastes different from person to person.”



Recovering after hosing /etc/fstab


Well —

I shot myself in the foot the other day, on my Ubuntu 8.10 System.  I made a change to fstab (the Linux file structure table) — but didn’t do it correctly……

When done editing, I did:

I did a sudo mount -a -o remount

and it re-mounted / (root directory) as read only…..since fstab was hosed…

Uh oh…….

Then I made the fatal mistake of re-booting.

I just dug the whole deeper.

After a day and half of schlepping I figured out, all I needed to do (in recovery mode as root) was:

mount -o remount rw /

then it was easy to fix.

I also discovered you can’t access devices by /dev/media….

So when I used the partition name for my backup medium /dev/sdb2  things worked!  3 min fix, day and half to figure out!