This is NOT a text messaging idea. This is an automated voice response unit (VRU) that uses Microsoft SKYPE (VOIP app) to talk to annoying people with TTS technology while you secretly listen in the background. You activate various responses with DTMF tones but mostly the text is preselected by you BEFORE the call. "Honey I have to work late tonight... Don't wait up." Or to your brother-in-law Henry "Sorry Henry I got your message but I just don't have any money to loan you this week dude. Check back next week..."

So a hardware/software project here would have to involve a website for you to click on 'canned' message buttons, or free-style field for for impromptu messages, a phone dialer, and a text to speech (TTS) synthesizer. Essentially all you have to do is enter their phone number or have it preset in the dialer program.

The dialer will dial their telephone number, start emitting a tone which means "standby for a message" (that's prearranged with them), then after let's say 5 seconds (allowing for telephone connection delay) it starts saying the message into the phone to the Luddite 3 times.

Now you may be wondering how the Luddite can respond back. You know anything too complicated it out of the question. You know the old saying about "teaching old dogs new tricks" don't you? Well after the third repetition (3 times the charm?) it allows the Luddite to speak into the receiver and say "Yes I got it and I will comply", "Huh? No I don't understand", or "Huh? Please repeat that?".

Well if they understand then you can terminate the connection without another word just by hanging up. Otherwise the system will have to stay connected and you will have to verbally say what it was you wanted (I know ugghh!).

Basically, the system is nothing more than SKYPE calling the called party (i.e. the Luddite) then calling you (i.e. conference call mode) from your PC at home which is also running a personal website on ASP (active server page) on let's say WWW.BRINKSTER.COM on the Internet (more on that later). The Luddite has no idea that it is a 3-way call and you are actually listening in the background (put your microphone on mute so they can't hear you breathing!).

SKYPE is a free download from Microsoft. Also Skype allows you to use the CALLTO:// URI command in JavaScript (i.e. window.open("callto://8605551212;8605551234";) their number is first. semi-colon, then yours is next. This will force a conference call. It can be terminated by either party hanging up, otherwise the call will stay connected for as long as both parties wish to talk.)

Well ASP will allow other users to send messages to the website via Streaming Text function (which can be canned into a pre-defined HTML button). Your website at home is that server page but is using BRINKSTER as it's ASP host. Brinkster is one of the few hosts that does ASP serving for free.

Your website will continually (via a looped routine) be looking for streamed messages to react to as an event. On event, it will either ask for the Luddite's phone number and your phone number. However, that can all be pre-defined too to eliminate that step if the same people will be involved all the time. However, no one else can use the site except you if you do it that way,

After the event occurs, the website deletes the streamed text so it doesn't cause another triggered event and awaits a new event. But in the meantime the program opens a SKYPE conference call to both parties. It then uses pre-recorded WAV or MP3 files made using TTS Software* to deliver canned voice messages. Those pre-recorded messages could also be in your own voice using your PC's SOUNDRECORDER.exe. All WAV or MP3 files need to be saved on the ASP server not your home PC.

In the case of impromptu voice messages, all MS Windows OS's after XP come with builit-in TEXT-TO-SPEECH (TTS) software. You just need to leave it enabled when the website is running....

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