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Text-to-Speech in openHAB

In my ongoing endeavor to improve our home, a while ago I added a notification when the washing machine and the dryer are finished. The notification is send to a Telegram channel. Over the summer vacation I added a number new ChromeCast Audio devices (Google no longer offers the Audio CC, if you need one get one now). One is placed in the kitchen. Not only can I listen to music while eating breakfast, I can also output notifications, by using the CC as an audio sink in openHAB.

To make that useful, I decided to use a Text-to-Speech system. openHAB offers a couple different TTS systems, however most of them need a cloud integration, and therefore a working Internet connection. The "Pico TTS" works standalone, and was my favorite choice for this implementation.

 

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Audio "too loud" and volume switch not working in Ubuntu

Installed my new laptop, and everything seemed to work, out of the box. Almost everything.

The audio was quite annoying. First of all, every application got it's own volume setting. In theory that is a nice idea, and you can control and manage the volume for every application separately. In practice, this is a nightmare: try changing the volume of an application which only once in a while sends a short notification. Or try changing the volume of the sound when you close the laptop lid. On top of that, the volume for applications like Chome and Firefox seem to be stuck at 100%. Every time I change the volume, the setting is back on "loud" the next time the browser plays something.

Second the global volume settings (Fn+"Volume up" or Fn+"Volume down") seem to have no effect at all.

 

 

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smplayer starts muted

Recently smplayer (not mplayer) started behaving strange: every video started muted. Pressing the mute button (m key) really muted the sound, pressing the button again unmuted the sound and the audio started playing. This behavior persisted over restarts of smplayer.

Now that is really annoying!

 

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Acer: billiger geht immer - Aspire 5732ZG

Ein Bekannter hat sich ein Acer Notebook geholt und wunderte sich dann, warum in der Systemsteuerung beim Mikrofon nur "nicht angeschlossen" steht. Acer hat mit dem Aspire 5732ZG ein Notebook mit integrierter Webcam herausgebracht - dem tada ein Mikrofon fehlt. Es gibt lediglich einen Eingang, an dem man ein externes Mikrofon anstecken kann.

Da hat Acer wohl am falschen Ende gespart! Multimedia - zum Lachen.

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