Quotes I like

Quote

The future is already here – it’s just not very evenly distributed.
William Gibson


Be creative. Try harder.


Form follows function.


Keep it simple. Stupid.


The competent programmer is fully aware of the limited size of his own skull.
Edsger W. Dijkstra


I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.
The Martian


When data disproves a theory, a good scientist discards the theory and a poor one discards the data.
Will Spencer


Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.


Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team. – John C. Maxwell

 


My problem is that I find everything increasingly interesting.
William Gibson

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Clever Engineering for a Good Cause

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Deciwatt” a project that started out as a crowd funding campaign on indiegogo with the purpose to create a sustainable and affordable light source for developing countries, has now produced the first batch of its gravity powered lamp. Some of this first lamps go to the projects indiegogo supporters while the rest is used in a field trail in developing countries.

The lamp, like a grandfather clock, uses a hanging weight as the energy source to drive an electric generator. It needs no battery replacement, no expensive solar cells only 3 seconds of human power to lift the weight that on decent generates 25 minutes of light.

From the project description:

GravityLight only generates a deciwatt or two of power but has a superior light to the majority of kerosene lamps used by those without electricity, as well as being significantly more sustainable, safe and healthy. With no running costs, at $10, a GravityLight would pay for itself within a few months, freeing people from fuel poverty and the increasing costs of kerosene.

As LEDs continue to rapidly increase their lumens per watt and – as Koomey’s Law predicts – the energy efficiency of devices doubles every two years – this has huge implications for low cost, off grid lighting as well as computing and communication equipment. This is the driving force behind Deciwatt’s mission to explore how to do more with less.

A great example of clever engineering for a good cause. And also a good example for the possibility that crowd funding provides to finance and realize such projects.

 

 

 

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openSMILE – Speech and Music Interpretation by Large-space Extraction

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openSMILE – Speech and Music Interpretation by Large-space Extraction.

The openSMILE feature extration tool enables you to extract large audio feature spaces in realtime. It combines features from Music Information Retrieval and Speech Processing. SMILE is an acronym for Speech & Music Interpretation by Large-space Extraction. It is written in C++ and is available as both a standalone commandline executable as well as a dynamic library. The main features of openSMILE are its capability of on-line incremental processing and its modularity. Feature extractor components can be freely interconnected to create new and custom features, all via a simple configuration file. New components can be added to openSMILE via an easy binary plugin interface and a comprehensive API.

Here’s the extensive feature list:

  • Cross-platform (Windows, Linux, Mac)
  • Fast and efficient incremental processing in real-time
  • High modularity and reusability of components
  • Plugin support
  • Multi-threading support for parallel feature extraction
  • Audio I/O:
    • WAVE file reader/writer
    • Sound recording and playback via PortAudio library.
    • Acoustic echo cancellation for full duplex recording/playback in an open-microphone setting (via the Speex codec library)
  • General audio signal processing:
    • Windowing Functions (Hamming, Hann, Gauss, Sine, …)
    • Fast-Fourier Transform
    • Pre-emphasis filter
    • Comb filter (available soon)
    • FIR/IIR filter (available soon)
    • Autocorrelation
    • Cepstrum
  • Extraction of speech-related features:
    • Signal energy
    • Loudness
    • Mel-/Bark-/Octave-spectra
    • MFCC
    • PLP-CC
    • Pitch
    • Voice quality
    • Formants
    • LPC
    • Line Spectral Pairs (LSP)
  • Music-related features:
    • Pitch classes (semitone spectrum)
    • CHROMA and CENS features
    • Weighted differential
  • Moving average smoothing of feature contours
  • Moving average mean subtraction and variance normalisation (e.g. for on-line cepstral mean subtraction)
  • On-line histogram equalisation (used for noise robust speech recognition)
  • Delta Regression coefficients of arbitrary order
  • Functionals:
    • Means, Extremes
    • Moments
    • Segments
    • Samples
    • Peaks
    • Linear and quadratic regression
    • Percentiles
    • Durations
    • Onsets
    • DCT coefficients
    • Zero-crossings
  • Popular feature file formats are supported:
    • Hidden Markov Toolkit (HTK) parameter files (read/write)
    • WEKA Arff files (currently only non-sparse) (read/write)
    • Comma separated value (CSV) text (read/write)
    • LibSVM feature file format (write)
  • Fully HTK compatible MFCC, PLP, energy, and delta regression coefficient computation
  • Fast: 27k features can be extracted with an RTF of 0.08
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