MaryTTS voice synthesizer How to for Debian

Mary Text To Speech logoMaryTTS is an open-source, multilingual Text-to-Speech Synthesis platform written in Java (homepage http://mary.dfki.de/). I’ve taken an interest in it after it was featured on Hacker Public Radio Episode 1599. As a Java program it should run anywhere, however here is how to get it to work on a Debian Linux machine.

Download the MaryTTS runtime package from the link on the download page:
http://mary.dfki.de/download/index.html

$ cd Downloads
$ wget https://github.com/marytts/marytts/releases/download/v5.1/marytts-5.1.zip

Unzip the application to the /usr/bin directory

$ sudo unzip marytts-5.1.zip -d /opt

At this point it will not run unless the you have already installed Java 1.7 you can determine the current version of Java by executing:

$ java -version

Install the required version of Java (also add openjdk-7-jdk if you intend to do any java development):

$ sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jre

After installing the new java runtime (jre) it will still not be the default. To set the new jre to your default use:

$ sudo update-alternatives --config java

Selection Path Priority Status
------------------------------------------------------------
* 0 /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java 1061 auto mode
1 /usr/lib/jvm/java-6-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java 1061 manual mode
2 /usr/lib/jvm/java-7-openjdk-amd64/jre/bin/java 1051 manual mode

Press enter to keep the current choice[*], or type selection number: 2

Having selected option 2 the java version should return something similar to:

$ java -version
java version "1.7.0_65"
OpenJDK Runtime Environment (IcedTea 2.5.1) (7u65-2.5.1-5~deb7u1)
OpenJDK 64-Bit Server VM (build 24.65-b04, mixed mode)

The runtime package delivers the scripts necessary to run the MaryTTS Server, which can be used via a browser of the client to synthesize speech. The server can be launched with:

$ /opt/marytts-5.1/bin/marytts-server.sh

This can then be used either through a browser or via the MaryTTS Client. The browser address will be:

http://localhost:59125

The MaryTTS Client, which is a Java GUI can be launched with:

$ /opt/marytts-5.1/bin/marytts-client.sh

In addition to the server and client components there is the MaryTTS Component Installer, which can be used to install additional voices and apply any available updates to the voices (the server comes with a single us female voice as a default). To launch the installer:

$ /opt/marytts-5.1/bin/marytts-component-installer.sh

Once the installer is running click [Update] to fetch the latests selection of voices. Buttons are then available to install or remove voices.

The BBC: good value?

I grew up before the days of the Internet, listening to BBC Radio 4; much of what I learned of society, history and science has been from the Radio. The BBC continues to produce high quality informative educational and entertaining programmes. Many of which I consume as podcasts; currently I have the following BBC podcasts in my feed.

  • In Our Time – Melvyn Bragg  (BBC Radio 4)
  • Outriders (BBC Radio 5)
  • Comedy of the Week (BBC Radio 4)
  • Mark Kermode and Simon Mayo’s Film Reviews (BBC 5 Live)
  • Friday Night Comedy (BBC Radio 4)
  • Comedy of the Week (BBC Radio 4)
  • Discovery (BBC World Service)
  • More or Less: Behind the Stats (BBC Radio 4)

These are paid for by the TV License. For my £145.50 a year I get these podcasts, all the TV and Radio output of the BBC, iPlayer and all the related supporting material on the Internet. Oh yes and the rest of my household get all that too.

The BBC have had a massive positive influence on the adoption of technology and attitudes towards it in the UK.

In the early 80’s Acorn found its feet making the BBC Micro, went on to become ARM, whose microprocessor architecture is now in everybody’s iPhones, iPads and Android devices and masses of other equipment.

In 1986 the BBC Doomsday Project gave us a vision of the future of multimedia presentation, with 1 million contributing to a digital archive of the UK.

In the 90’s the BBC website set the standard for presentation of quality on-line news and web content.

BBC iPlayer pushed the boundaries for streamed media and once again set the standard for other broadcasters to follow.

More recently we’ve seen the digital switch-over,  in which the BBC played a major role.

With a few notable exceptions having the BBC there, providing content and spurring technical innovation, raises the bar for the rest of the media. It’s a shame that the recent issues with senior management, remuneration, golden handshakes etc., give politicians the opportunity to question their continued funding.

History of Intel’s Processors

Security Now Podcast – Episode 410 – Interesting Intel History

Intel 80286 Processor

Intel 80286 Processor

This week’s security now episode is particularly interesting, it describes the evolution of the Intel processor family as used in PCs. Steve Gibson explains the key architectural twists and turns that were taken as the processor evolved from 8 bit to 32 bit. Anyone having to deal with software on Intel based machines has most likely stumbled across the terms Real Mode and Protected Mode at some point. This podcast presents a clear description of these modes of operation and some of the practical constraints they impose upon the operation and architecture of the processor family. What makes this particularly interesting is that the context of the explanation itself becomes an explanation of the underlying programming of Steve Gibson’s ‘Spinrite’ disk repair software and some of the upcoming development work that will further improve its operation.

http://twit.tv/show/security-now/410

Hacker Public Radio

I could write up a blurb for HPR but its best just to quote from their home page.

Hacker Public Radio Logo

“Hacker Public Radio (HPR) is an Internet Radio show (podcast) that releases shows every weekday Monday through Friday. What differentiates HPR from other podcasts is that the shows are produced by the community – fellow listeners like you!. There is no restrictions on how long the show can be, nor on the topic you can cover as long as they “are of interest to hackers. The only question you need to answer is will my show be of interest to hackers ?

First off this is not about ‘Black hat hacking’, its hacker as in hobbyist, people that make and do stuff. Most likely you may not want to listen to every show from the feed unless you are a compulsive about that kind of thing, however you will find informative and often quite entertaining shows.

I’ve found the HPR community to be open and helpful. Although there’s quite a positive bias in the episodes towards Linux and open source software, thats not the limit to the topics covered, in fact in over 1200 episodes all manner of subjects have been covered.

If you’ve got something you want to podcast but not enough regular content to create your own podcast, a burning issue you want to get off your chest, or if you want to dip your toe into podcasting you will be welcomed into the community to have a go yourself. Although higher quality audio is preferred you can even phone in a podcast to a UK or US phone number.

Go visit HPR at http://hackerpublicradio.org/ and/or add them to you pod-catcher using one of these feeds.

The Pod Delusion – A UK Sceptical Podcast

the Pod delusion - logo

My podcast find of the week is The Pod Delusion. Its a topical news magazine podcast with a rational approach to news, politics and science. Its currently on episode 192, so is a mature well produced podcast, in fact aside from its approach to the subject matter, it could be mistaken for a BBC production.

Unlike US sceptical podcasts its not at all pushy; it presents information in a rational manner and leaves you to make up your own mind. Well worth a listen, I’m giving it a few more episodes before I see if it will stay in the feed.

It can be found online at poddelusion.co.uk/blog/ or you can use their RSS podcast feed.