Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Troy: GSoC 2012 Pronunciation Evaluation Week 5

Sorry for the late update. The following are the things I did in Week 5; mainly problem solving.

1) Solving the Flash-based recorder update which prevented users from using their microphones. 

At the beginning, before the Flash player 11.2 and 11.3 update, the audio recorder I created using Flex worked fine. Users could simply right click the recorder and select the "Settings" to allow microphone access. However, with the new updates, that option is disabled without any error message. 

To solve this problem, people suggested adding websites into the online global privacy list. However, after trying many times that was still not working for the audio recorder. 

Furthermore, http://englishcentral.com/ which also uses Flash-based recording has a popup window from their recording button (a microphone image) with the Flash Microphone privacy setting dialogue. Checking the accessibility of microphone in code and prompting for the setting dialogue when necessary helps provide the solution:

First, checking whether the microphone is available, if not show the microphone list dialogue of Flash object ask the user to plugin a microphone:

var mic:Microphone = Microphone.getMicrophone();

if(!mic) {
Alert.show("No microphone available");
debug("No microphone available");

Otherwise, check whether the microphone is accessible or not, if it is muted, prompt the privacy dialogue to ask user to allow the microphone access:

if(mic.muted) {
debug("Microphone muted!");

With these testing during the initialization stage of the Flash recorder, it can allow users to enable the microphone access at the early beginning. One interesting thing is that after doing this, the "Setting" option of the Flash object now is clickable. 

Now, looking back to the code solving the problem, which is so apparent, however, before you know the answer, it is really hard to predict. 

2) Cross-browser Flash recorder compatibility

As the Flash recorder problem was solved as above, I was happy to update the source code in the trunk and our server and hoped to see the site working nicely. But the browser shows that the Flash recorder cannot load, the only information I got is "Error 2046"....

To try to solve this problem, I Googled a bunch of pages and tried several suggestions, the first which suggested I clear the browser cache and then set the Flash player to not save local cache and then re-enable its local cache (some kind of clear Flash player local cache), which gives some progress by changing "Error 2046" to "Error 2032". 

For "Error 2032", there are mainly two groups of explanations, one saying there is something wrong with the URLs in Actionscript's HTTPRequests, which seems unlikely because those URLs are definitely correct and are under the same folder as the player. The other is an RSL problem of the mxmlc Flash compiler. To solve the RSL linkage problem, go to the "Flex Build Path" properties page, "Library path" tab and change the framework linkage to "merged into code".

[Mentor note: Requesting compatibility with earlier versions of Flash ActionScript using compiler switches may or may not help here.]

3) Adding a password change page

4) Refining the user extra information update page to reflect the existing user information if available, instead of always showing the default values.

The website for exemplary recordings is now at a usable stage. 

In this week, I will try to accomplish these things:

1) Phrase data entry for administrators (with text, exemplar pronunciations, homograph disambiguation, phonemes, parts of speech per word, etc.;

2) Design recording prompts to start our exemplary recording data collection;

3) Bug fixing and system testing;

4) Study the Amazon Mechanical Turk and start thinking how to incorporate our speech data collection on to that platform.

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