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Whenever I got a new laptop or was (re-)installing macOS from scratch, a Java JDK, IntelliJ IDEA, and Tomcat, the “pure Java” HTTP web server environment, were always among the 1st things I installed.
How times have changed. Now it’s Docker, Python3, PyCharm, and AWS and SAM CLIs that go on first. I still do Java, quite a bit actually, but Python and AWS Lambda are on the rise.

AWS Lambda


Zero Intent Skills

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Bobsleigh teams race to complete a downhill route in the fastest times. An aggregate time from several runs is used to determine the winners. Photo Credit

Teams had taken four runs down the 1,450 meter (almost 1 mile) long track, made of reinforced concrete, covered in ice. Still, their combined times were separated by less than a blink of an eye. The ice on the track varied, the colder and harder, the faster the sleds would go. A sled’s metal blades that touch the ice were coated and polished to minimize friction. At the start of each run however, athletes first had to overcome static friction to move and accelerate the sled, weighing between 170 kg and 210 kg (375–463 lbs).

Alexa, who won Bobsleigh at…


Hear what you see

Democratizing the creation of delightful audible content

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Alicia Keys, honoured with Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award for 2017

Have you ever heard an interview with Alicia Keys? She spent most of her childhood in Hell’s Kitchen, one of New York City’s toughest neighborhoods. Experiencing how much emotion she’s putting into each word and her very deliberate expressive pronunciation means you cannot just casually listen but have to stay attentively engaged.

Contrast this with listening to voice assistants. The defining moment for me was when I heard a cheery voice assistant casually report a fatal car accident. Such tone-deaf insensitivity triggered something deep within me. …


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On September 25, Amazon released 80 new devices, some of which can be found here. Even for a company of its size, that is an impressive number and an even more impressive line-up. However, I think something much more profound happened a day earlier. On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, at 11:04 AM EDT, in a simple press release, Amazon announced the Voice Interoperability Initiative.

Its goal is to ensure that voice services work seamlessly alongside one another on a single device. More specifically, voice-enabled products should be designed to support multiple simultaneous wake words. …


This is a story about a simple web-service that answers only one question: if a given number is prime. The core problem is first solved with a Java class, which is then wrapped into a WebServlet and tested within a web server environment. The web server, however, does not get directly installed, but a docker image is created, containing all the mentioned components. Eventually, once sufficiently tested, the docker container is pushed into a container registry, from which it is deployed and run. …


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Photo by Andre Guerra on Unsplash

It wasn’t Steve Jobs, but former Apple Computer CEO John Sculley, who in his book Odyssey: Pepsi to Apple, introduced us to the Knowledge Navigator, an astoundingly capable virtual assistant. Today, more than thirty years later, smart speakers are trying to implement at least some of the conversational concepts, envisioned in the Knowledge Navigator video, which premiered in 1987 at Educom.

According to Canalys, 75 million smart speakers will be sold worldwide in 2018. Amazon Echo and Google Home devices have a market share of about 30% each and more than 50% of all devices are sold in the US…


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The concept of the Conversational User Interface (CUI) is not really new. Wolfgang Wahlster of the German Research Center for AI, DFKI, wrote 12 years ago in his paper on Conversational User Interfaces:

“Conversational user interfaces allow various natural communication modes like speech, gestures and facial expressions for input as well as output and exploit the context in which an input is used to compute its meaning. The growing emphasis on conversational user interfaces is fundamentally inspired by the aim to support natural, flexible, efficient and powerfully expressive means of human-computer communication that are easy to learn and use.”

Conversational User Interfaces Have a Chance to Become the Next Platform

Several…


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The path to an acceptable Conversational User Interface is heavily mined and booby-trapped. Let’s not fall into the IVR trap, but create a humanized and personalized user experience. [IVR — Interactive voice response is a technology that allows a computer to interact with humans through the use of voice and DTMF tones input via keypad. — Think about calling your insurance company … ‘To file a claim, press 2’]

While they can benefit greatly from each other, there is no need to create a dependency between a Conversational User Interface (CUI) and Machine Learning (ML). It is not hard to…


.. thoughts after visiting Julian Pioneer Cemetery

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JULIAN PIONEER CEMETERY the final resting place of many of Julian’s early residents. Gravesites date back to the mid 1800's.

“This historical cemetery began in the 1870’s amid the clamor for gold in the hills surrounding the newly established Julian. For many pioneers, the toil of hard life ended on the hill above Julian.”


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Twenty-one years ago, my grandfather died at the age of 92 in the same house he grew up in. Next to the old pendulum clock in his living room, above his favorite chair, hung his wedding photo, a sepia colored image in a thick dark brown frame. Besides that wedding photo, there was only one other photo showing him as a young men, a photo of a men in a uniform, drafted in WW2, taken about 12 years later.

Growing up, I could hardly imagine that grandparents were once young themselves. Even later as an adult, when talking to my…

Wolf Paulus

Principal Engineer, Intuit Futures | Adjunct Professor at ERAU | Advisory Committee at the University of California, Irvine .. find me at https://wolfpaulus.com

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