Category Archives: tools

Online Speech to Text Recognition

radio64It’s fast, it’s immediate and it lets you to write an email or a text in a while, anywhere you are. When you use a mobile, you need to find the right app. For my experience the universal app for this doesn’t exist. It depends on the model of the mobile in general and in particular on the type of the installed microphone. This means you need to test different apps to fins a suitable solution for your specific needs. But usually it doesn’t keep much time.

When you are at home or for more complex works that need to be directly edited on a PC, you usually cannot use any Android app and so you need a similar tool. This is my case.

If you google it, you will find different solutions. Some of them are desktop software that can be installed and settled up in a reasonable time (usually few hours). These software are really accurate and have many tools that allow you to develop complex texts typing just few keys to refine some inaccuracies. The “problem” is represented by their cost that, for some products, is high (… certainly, we are talking about few bucks…). 

Instead, a good solution could be the online -speech to text- tools offered by different websites. They are usually free but you need to be obviously connected to the web if you want to use them. 

Furthermore the text results generated by these on line tools are connected with the particular model of microphone you installed into your PC. Also in this situation you can find enthusiastic reviews for an on line tool that is completely ineffective for you. And as for Android apps you need to spend some hours to discover what is the best online tool for your needs. Last but not least to use them you need to authorized Flash (sic! yes the nosey Flash…) for managing your audio hardware.

In my experience, after some tests, the best sites offering  -speech to text- tools are four:

  • Speechlogger that is really simple to use and the most versatile as for exporting the “written” text but it works just on the Chrome Browser (version 25 or later) and this is a big limitation when you are fond of Firefox:
  • TalkTyper that is also complete and it is supported by different browser (Firefox included);
  • Dictation that is very minimalist as web graphics but it really does what it promises in every browser…;
  • SpeechPad that  is very complete but it requires a free registration to use the -speech to text- feature. There are two big features offered by this website. The first is about that it has a good grade of recognition for speeches in Russian. The second feature is represented by the possibility of using an audio file or an url redirecting to audio files and/or video (but only for YouTube or HTML5audio/video).

Some of the above described websites have a large selection of different languages you can be interested to use. Others have a narrow choice of languages but for the accuracy of the -speech to text- work, could really be what you are looking for.

So, to conclude, if you need a -speech to text- online tool, you have just to invest some hours to find the right website for your needs. When you will start to use these kind of online tools you save a lot of time that before you spent for typing.

Link

Everything You Know About the Internet of Things is Wrong — Backchannel — Medium

Blogilo: the Linux blog client to create new posts on your local computer

Yes, I know! Talking about Blogilo is not an hot news but the “recent” version 1.1 (according to the Help Menu in Blogilo software) has added some new features and something has changed. Some years ago, when I tested Blogilo, I thought that this software was a good “concept” but it lacked of too many features as compared with e.g. online WordPress.com platform. With version 1.1 these lacks have been reduced and now Blogilo becomes interesting if you are looking for a software that could be used daily for offline posting.
Blogilo now has less bugs than in the past and it is possible to write posts with just few seldom crashes. The user interface is intuitive and after the installation you spend just few minutes for adding and setting your blog. The positive thing is that Blogilo works with all the main blog platforms and it could be considered as one of the most complete blog client for Linux.
The matter is that blog platforms evolve quickly and Blogilo, as all its competitors, seems to be slower than many of them. In fact, it could happen that some up-to-date features are immediately not supported and you have to manually modify your post and adding them directly through the host website (e.g. WordPress). 
One of the most annoying problems I continue to have with Blogilo is about wrapping text around the image/picture I am used to put at the beginning of every post I write. It is a simple matter to solve but at every post I have to manually change the html code. 
As for my experience you have two different ways to solve this isssue.
The first is to edit the image/picture after you inserted it into the post and add the value “allign” selecting the right options in the Advanced Menu (why the Advanced Menu is not available when you insert a new image/picture?).
The second (faster) is to go to the Html Editor tag into Blogilo and add this code at the end of the image <img> tag:
align="left"
For example writing this post I added:
<img src="http://i119.photobucket.com/albums/o158/galigio/blogilo_logo_zps3pmqrnq1.png" align="left" width="160" height="105">
Simple to solve but really annoying when you have so little time to dedicate to your blog….
To sum up it is possible to affirm that Blogilo really contains all the features to write a blog but if you need something more professional you have to spend some hours, after the installation, to learn how to find the right solutions for your specific needs. 
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How to obtain a free digital signing service for your personal documents

Sooner or later you need to digitally sign a document. If you have never done it before it’s only a matter of time, you will need a digital signing service sooner than you can imagine. The problem is represented to be ready without being obliged to spend money for it.

You will find different offers online and many trusty companies will try to convince you that their offer its the best but many of them limit your possibility to freely sign documents when you really need.

During my tests I tried a bunch of them and, for my experience, just few worth any attention.

In particular I was positively impressed by hellosign and Adobe Echo Sign. They are both interesting but hellosign offers something more. I mean you have not to spend a cent for both but Abobe limits the number of documents you can free sign to just 5 documents each month. If you are not used to digitally sign your docs this limitation doesn’t represent a problem but, trust me, when you will begin you soon need more than 5 free signatures a month.

HelloSign also allows you to upload an image file with your handwritten (and, of course, scanned) signature or create a new one choosing between some different fonts. You have no limits for signing documents but you can send only three signature requests a month (enough for my present necessities). Moreover, you can browse into the hellosign Documents folder and find all the  documents you have signed before.

On the other hand, Adobe Echo Sign request more personal information when you sign-up for the service and, as we already underlined, it limits your experience to just 5 activities a month.

Try them and let us know if you have already found a better, free, online service to digitally sign your documents. Good luck!  AddThis

How to manually mount USB drives on Ubuntu

The first time I had this kind of problem was when I was trying to create a bootable USB drive and a pop-up windows appeared informing me that “you must first mount USB drive /dev/sdc1 to a mount-point. Most distributions will do this automatically after you remove and reinsert the USB drive”. I had never had this matter on Linux because, normally, all the USB drives are immediately recognized and mounted but there is always a first time….

After some googling I discovered that a specific program dconf-editor could help me to check the Linux settings and to consequentlyresolve the situation.

First of all you need to install dconf-editor on your Linux so you have to open a Terminal and type:

sudo apt-get install dconf-tools

After the installation you launch dconf-editor (for MATE environment it’s into the System Tool menu) and navigate it to media-handling:

org –> gnome –> desktop –> media-handling

Now you have to be sure that commands automount and automount-open are both flagged.

If you discover that they are already flagged, its necessary to manually create a mount point using the Terminal.

Open a Terminal and type:

df -H

to see the mounted disks. If you are not able to find the USB drive that you want to mount then type:

sudo fdisk -l

and you’ll see all disks (mounted/unmounted).

Now you are able to know the right drive identity (e.g. sdb1, sdc1, sdd1) that your OS assigned to that specific drive. Memorize it and start to create the mount point:

sudo mkdir /media/newusb

where “newusb” is the mount point name you want to assign to your USB drive.

Then type:

sudo mount /dev/sdb1 /media/newusb

where “sdb1” is the drive identity we found before and “newusb” the mount-point name you choose.

That’s it, now your USB drive has a mounting point and you can use it (in my case I was able to create a bootable USB drive usiing Unetbootin)

You can find some extra useful tips about mounting USB drives at the Ubuntu community.  AddThis

How to dig more information on Wikipedia using Google

WikipediaWikipedia contains many information about million of topics but each single thematic page doesn’t contain all the possible info or links about that specific subject. In fact some other details about a topic, or related to it, can be in other parts of Wikipedia not linked to the main topic.

In my experience, sometimes you can find some really interesting details about a topic if you simply use a Google query as:

site:en.wikipedia.org “Chet Baker”

Where the topic is “Chet Baker” and it is searched by Google into the entire Wikipedia.org website. If you deeply peep the results you can now find some information not contained in the “Chet Baker” page in Wikipedia.

These tip is really simple but I think it could be useful for journalists, data miners or for all that people who are not satisfied by a simple Wikipedia search.  AddThis