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TOPIC: Amulet alive and well?

Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #772

Hi Folks,

First time poster here. I recently purchased an Amulet Voice Remote Control and am now trying to determine if the product and company are truly alive and well - is Amulet Devices really committed to supporting the product? The reasons I ask are: (1) In the Downloads section of the site, it says that the latest software can be downloaded from the beta forums. Seems that there's no production software at the site, as far as I can tell. (2) Even the "latest" release is from more than a year ago! The comment says, "we are growing close to a final production release...", but it shows as a "beta release" from "1 Year, 1 Month ago". (3) The last blog entry at the site is dated 18-April-2012, more than five months ago! (4) The last entry in the Support section of this Forum was more than two weeks ago.

All-in-all, not a pretty picture, so I'm hoping Eddy (or someone) can jump in with some comments about the current state of the product and company, as well as their future. Thanks much, Joe
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Re: Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #773

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Hi Joe,
First time poster here. I recently purchased an Amulet Voice Remote Control and am now trying to determine if the product and company are truly alive and well - is Amulet Devices really committed to supporting the product?
We're still here. Yes, things have been quiet for a while, at least in the forums. We do have an updated software release due out shortly (overdue now, actually). It's been delayed since we have limited resources and they are, for the most part, being deployed elsewhere at present.

Relative to the last beta release, the changes in the forthcoming release will be primarily maintenance based to address a number of small issues that have been reported by customers. We're not planning any significant enhancements at this time.

As regards the Amulet Remote itself, we continue to sell it. However, it's fair to say that our own enthusiasm for it has not been shared by as wide an audience as we had hoped. Our more recent efforts have been in the area of settop box development. I can't say more than this due to NDAs with our partners, though I hope we'll be able to announce some interesting stuff in early 2013.

In the meantime, it's worth reminding people that the Amulet makes a perfectly good wireless mic, even with no special software at all. In the event that we don't develop specific Windows 8 support for the Amulet (something which is still up in the air), third party solutions like www.voxcommando.com/ should continue to support our hardware.

(We're happy to support any developer wishing to take advantage of Amulet's microphone activation with sample code to read the microphone / radio link state.)

I'm not sure if this will reassure you or not, but at least it proves someone is still reading the forums :-)

Thank you for the purchase!

Eddy
Last Edit: 5 years 1 month ago by eddy.
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Re: Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #774

Eddy,
Thanks for the reply - much appreciated! Yes, it's good to know that someone is still reading the forums, and especially good to know that the someone is you! But it really doesn't sound as if there's a bright future for the Amulet Remote, which is a shame. I do hope you release a production caliber version of the software for 64-bit W7. My whole goal right now is to get decent voice capability for WMC on a 64-bit W7 all-in-one PC (basically, a TV for the kitchen utilizing a Silicon Dust, 3-tuner, network attached, M-Card based device). I started out the project by looking at Chris Duckworth's solution, which is where I learned about the Amulet Remote from your post on 25-Jul-2011. Having had some trouble getting Chris' solution to work well, I decided to give the Amulet a try. Regards, Joe
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Re: Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #775

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Joe,
My whole goal right now is to get decent voice capability for WMC on a 64-bit W7 all-in-one PC (basically, a TV for the kitchen utilizing a Silicon Dust, 3-tuner, network attached, M-Card based device).
I'd expect that this scenario should work well for you straight out of the (Amulet) box; I've been running W7 64-bit myself as my main home media center for the past two years, with dual tuners, and it's been working very well with Amulet.

The one area where we are aware of problems is when you have a very large number of cable channels, and an EPG that stretches several weeks into the future. If the total number of unique programs in the EPG grows very large (> 10,000 programs, not including repeats) we've seen cases where the Windows Speech Engine, on which Amulet is built, simply falls over.

There is a work-around whereby you can limit the number of EPG programs Amulet will index (via the "Number of program titles to index" entry on the TV Guide page within Amulet Settings).

If you've run into other problems, we're certainly interested in hearing about them and will endeavour to fix them if possible.

Thanks for the feedback,

Eddy
Last Edit: 5 years 1 month ago by eddy.
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Re: Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #776

Eddy,
I haven't made a decision yet on which all-in-one PC I'm going to get, but have been testing the Amulet in a W7/64-bit sandbox (laptop). So far, results have been mixed, but I haven't taken the time (yet) to document the problems. I won't be able to get back to Amulet testing for a week or so, but when I do, I'll be sure to track issues carefully and post them here. Thanks for your offer to help. Regards, Joe
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Re: Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #784

Eddy,
Turns out I won't be getting back to this project until the middle or end of the month. But in the meantime, here's an issue that I'd appreciate your thoughts on. I recollect that I had to lower the Amulet and raise it back up each time I wanted to say a command. Is this the way it's supposed to work? I'm going from memory here, but I recollect that it did not work when I tried to say consecutive commands while keeping it raised to my mouth. Being able to do this is obviously important for commands like Volume Up/Down, Go Left/Right/Up/Down, Page Up/Down, and others, where you would often want more than one occurrence of the command consecutively. Regards, Joe
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Re: Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #785

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Joe,

There's no specific requirement to lower the remote between commands, and it should work fine if you continue to use it upright, once you keep in mind a couple of things.

The speech engine waits for gaps of silence, or at least a significant reduction in volume, to indicate a spoken command is complete. Lowering the remote mutes the mic which of course creates instant silence, and in particular, blocks out any other background noise that may be present.

If the mic is left raised, then it will be more sensitive to other sounds such as the soundtrack from the TV, background chat, etc.

Amulet isn't designed for continuous spoken recognition, so you need to make sure you leave a slight gap between the first command before issuing another, i.e. "Go Left", (pause), "Go Up", (pause), etc. Of course, you can also say "Go Left Two", "Go Up Four" to speed things up a little if you like. (Generally, for these kinds of things, it's often more convenient to just use the remote buttons if possible.)


If you don't see an on-screen response or hear a confirmation for a particular command, then it likely wasn't interpreted correctly, so you're best repeating it rather than continuing on.

For most higher level Amulet commands, such as "Play <something", "Watch <something>" etc, this is a non-issue since you're only issuing a single command rather than a stream of commands.

Hope this helps clarify,

Eddy
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Re: Amulet alive and well? 5 years 1 month ago #786

Yes, Eddy, that's a big help! Thanks for the detailed explanation - much appreciated! More later this month. Regards, Joe
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