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Audible Aviary

February 17, 2011

Just finished the first draft of this little project for Redial: an Audible Aviary.  Call into 1-212-660-0239, ext. 207, and a clipped computer voice generated in the command line application “text2wave” will lead you through it.

This is a bit of a follow-up on a number of projects I’ve done previously, primarily the Acoustic Zoetrope that I did for Todd Holobek’s “Living Art” in the Spring Session at ITP in 2010, and the Mobile Menagerie project that I did for Corey Menscher’s “Device Independence with Mobile Web Applications” in the Summer Session at ITP in 2010, both of which can be seen here:

I thought it might be interesting to try and tie the Redial project together with the Mobile Menagerie, but it would probably be smoother to keep audio files local if I really want to introduce them.

This is also a rough draft of a project that occurred to me when The Flaming Lips released the mobile version of their Zaireeka album (  Recall that it’s a 4-CD album meant to be played on four stereos at the same time, and now on four mobile phones.  Watching Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd try to synch the four tracks got me thinking that it would be a great job for a server.  It could be set up to wait until all callers are in a waiting room, and then it could cue all tracks simultaneously.  Yes, it removes one human element that I am confident is important to them, but seeing how painful the phase issues were to Steven Drozd, it got me thinking that maybe it’s more important how many people choose each track and where they are situated in the space.

In that light, these birds might be more interesting played over multiple devices at the same time.

Things I’d like to improve:

  1. The text2wave voice.  I’d like to work on the technical parameters, but if I can’t get it sounding a little smoother, some voice-overs may be in order.
  2. The phone tree aspect.  I’ve got to figure out how to get the bird calls to behave as if they are in background mode, so that the caller can jump to another sound –or out of the program altogether– as soon as they grow tired of their listening choice.  Background() is not working at the moment in this way, but I’m pretty sure that it should, or that there’s something like it.  It’s an interesting problem to deal with a menu which has been traditionally handled visually as a matrix, and have to cope with it in what is essentially a linear environment.
  3. The birds themselves are a little shrill.  I’ll have to work on the envelope of those recordings if this is really going to be played over a cell phone.


exten => s,1,Answer()
;exten => s,n,System(echo 'Hello. Welcome to the Audible Aviary. Press 1 to continue.' |
text2wave -scale 1.5 -F 8000 -o /home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/audibleAviary.wav)
exten => s,n,Background(/home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/announcements/audibleAviary)
exten => s,n,WaitExten()
exten => 1,1,Goto(AudibleAviary_mif226,s,1)

exten => s,1,Answer()
;exten => s,n,System(echo 'Press 1 for the Australian Frogmouth, 2 for Geese, 3 for Seagulls,
4 for the Whipperwhill, 5 for the Woodpecker, and 6 to exit.' |
text2wave -scale 1.5 -F 8000 -o /home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/announcements/allBirds2.wav)
exten => s,n(PlayExtension),Background(/home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/announcements/allBirds2)
exten => s,n,WaitExten()
exten => t,1,Goto(s,PlayExtension)
exten => i,1,Playback(invalid)
exten => i,n,Goto(s,PlayExtension)
exten => 1,1,Playback(/home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/birdSounds/australianfrogmaouth)
exten => 1,n,Goto(s,PlayExtension)
exten => 2,1,Playback(/home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/birdSounds/geese)
exten => 2,n,Goto(s,PlayExtension)
exten => 3,1,Playback(/home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/birdSounds/seagull)
exten => 3,n,Goto(s,PlayExtension)
exten => 4,1,Playback(/home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/birdSounds/whipperwhill)
exten => 4,n,Goto(s,PlayExtension)
exten => 5,1,Playback(/home/mif226/asterisk_sounds/birdSounds/woodpecker)
exten => 5,n,Goto(s,PlayExtension)
exten => 6,1,Playback(vm-goodbye)
exten => s,n,Hangup()


From → ITP, Redial

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