How-To

How'd I do that? How'd they do that? How do you do that? Posts that revolve around that question are answered here.

Transcription or Dictation: Will HAL Open the Pod Bay Doors?

Dave Bowman, in 2001, interacts with the HAL 9000 computer. “Is there some way to automatically transcribe a recording?” That’s a question I recently received from this site. Automatically? What does that mean? In my mind’s eye, I see that this automatic transcription software should closely resemble the HAL 9000 computer from 2001: A computer that talks and can understand human speech. It’s a high ideal, but there are still technicalities involved. My conclusion, a while back, was, “I’m sorry, Dave, I just can’t do that.”

Is Automatic Speech Transcription HAL getting any closer to opening the Pod Bay Doors?

I conduct some tests using some speech-to-text tech I have on hand, and see how it stacks up against standard transcription. In this post: the test results, lessons learned, and best practices for each technique.

The HAL 9000, the computer from 2001 whichcould understand human speech (and even lip-reading!) The current state of HAL 9000:

There are many devices, services and software that act like Hal: Siri on iOS, the Android Google Voice, or any number of corporate voice address systems that say “speak your request and I’ll get you to the right department.”

With my 3rd generation iPad (March 2012 Retina Display, running the iOS version 5.x), I use the Dictation feature ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on February 13, 2013 in • AfterwardsAudioAudio: SoftwareHow-ToTranscription
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Preparing Mama to be an Interviewer

Here's Mom, standing in front of an old California stagecoach stop not far from Temecula, California. (from a recent road trip) What happens the person who’s usually the interviewee borrows your fancy digital recorder and becomes the interviewer? What happens when your Mom goes across the country and will see someone you’ve been wanting to interview for, like forever? Do you say, Okay Mom, please ask these questions. Oh, and would you record it? How do you make using the recorder as simple as possible? Will it work out?

The other week, my Mom went from West Coast to East Coast to attend her 60th high school reunion. I loaned her my easiest-to-use recorder with some very basic instruction. And hoped for the best.

Mount Pleasant High School Postcard (sent 1950, the same year Mom graduated). http://www.cardcow.com/273065/new-mt-pleasant-high-school-schenectady-york/

Background: The stories I want to hear

Main entrance to General Electric's largest plant and its general offices. http://www.cardcow.com/211196/main-entrance-ge-plant-schenectady-new-york/ My gradmother worked for the General Electric Company twice—in the 1920s before her children were born, and again from 1941 until she retired in 1966. The person I’ve wanted to interview—a woman whose initials are NF—was mentored by my grandmother.  They both worked in an industry where women professionals were A Rare Thing.

Here’s something else that’s important: Grandma lived on the other side of the country.

I am back east at Grandma and Grandpa's house. In the snow (wow!) It's 1963; I am 3 and a half years old. (Grandma died 4 years later) I only have a few memory snapshots of her, from a visit East when I was a pre-schooler, and from a visit Grandma took west when my younger brother was born (I was 5?).

Grandma died a few months ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on September 29, 2010 in • AudioAudio: HardwareHow-ToPersonal
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From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 3 - iTunes and CD burning

Audacity into iTunes In the previous two how-to tutorials, we worked in Audacity with a digital audio file. Now we’ll export it from Audacity, import it into iTunes, and burn an audio CD with it.

Part 1:  Getting your audio into Audacity, whether by opening a digital audio recording made elsewhere, or using Audacity to record directly to your computer.
Part 2: Making minor edits to increase sound level.
Part 3:(You are here!) Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD.
Part 4: Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks.
(note: I may expand sections if any one of them gets to be too long. This section will be updated as I go.)

First, we work in Audacity to export the audio file to a WAV file (reminder from the little extra section in Part 1: WAV is an uncompressed file format. We ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on May 01, 2010 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareHow-To
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From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 2 - Basic Audio Edits

Audacity Logo The Audacity how-to continues!! This second part of the series involves working in Audacity to edit your audio file.

A major sound edit technique: Changing Amplification (making a quiet recording louder).

This multi-part how-to series focuses on using Audacity and iTunes – two freely available pieces of software – to work with your recording and then create an audio CD.

Part 1:  Getting your audio into Audacity, whether by opening a digital audio recording made elsewhere, or using Audacity to record directly to your computer.
Part 2: (You are here!)Making minor edits to increase sound level.
Part 3: Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD.
Part 4: Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks.
(note: I may expand sections if any one of them gets to be too long. This section will be updated as I go.)

Amplifying audio

Here is a stereo file recorded using my portable-studio-in-an-Otter Box (described here).


image
(click to enlarge)

Notice that the ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 30, 2010 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareHow-To
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From Digital Audio Recording to Audio CD: Part 1 - Audio into Audacity

Audacity Logo headphones It starts with the audio recording you made after you said, “Hi Mom, I want to interview you about your memories about Grandma and Grandpa.” It ends with your burned Audio CD.

This multi-part how-to series focuses on using Audacity and iTunes – two freely available pieces of software – to work with your recording and then create an audio CD.

Part 1: (You are here!) Getting your audio into Audacity, whether by opening a digital audio recording made elsewhere, or using Audacity to record directly to your computer.
Part 2: Making minor edits to increase sound level.
Part 3: Exporting your recording to a file format that iTunes can use and creating an Audio CD.
Part 4: Dividing the audio into sections based on topics of discussion using Audacity’s Label Tracks.
(note: I may expand sections if any one of them gets to be too long. This section will be updated as I go.)

Part 1: Audio in Audacity

I love Audacity. It’s open source software (freely available, or volunteer a payment to support the effort). It’s cross-platform; ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on April 29, 2010 in • AudioAudio: SoftwareHow-To
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Playing with MemoryMiner export

MemoryMiner and exporting. I’m figuring out how to export a library and then transfer that to my laptop, so that I can show you MemoryMiner if you’ll be at the SoCal Genealogical Jamboree (Twitter hashtag #scgs09) this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The app is available on both Mac and Windows; I’ve got the Mac version, of course/ The export process isn’t the most obvious, so I’m writing about how I will accomplish it.

How I will... notice the future tense. This is still a work in progress.

The photo library dates back some time, and individual photos reside all over the frickin’ place on my computer—some in iPhoto libraries, some in folders each of which representing different scanning session, the most recent of which was an ego-scan session to compile a set of photos of myself for a birthday party invite. The photos themselves are pretty large, if they’re PSD (photoshop) files, because I scan them at fairly high rez. Many photos are over 20MB in file size. The largest, I think, is around 60 MB.

I decided to work with an external disk drive (easy to change from my main desktop computer to my ...Read More

Posted by Susan A. Kitchens on June 23, 2009 in • Family History SoftwareHow-ToPersonal HistoryPhotographs
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