New Project: Hear Me Say This

I haven’t been blogging much of late because of a new project I have been working on — Hear Me Say This.

Hear Me Say This is a web application that uses the Sunlight Labs API, the Twitter API and the plain old telephone to empower citizens to send a message to the people that represent them in Congress.

The application uses the Voxeo Prophecy platform to support the VoiceXML and CCXML components it uses, and is hosted on a lean and mean Ubuntu web server. The back end is written in PHP 5 and uses a MySQL database. Its open source, and uses the latest open standards for developing telephone applications.

I’ve entered this application in the Sunlight Labs “Apps for America” contest — I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of telephone apps entered in this contest (the others all appear to be Asterisk-based, mine is the only CCXML/VoiceXML-based app).

Now that the project is done, and my entry has been submitted, I’m focused on adding features and spreading the word. If you’re interested in testing it out, give me a shout.

One of the other things I’d like to do in the weeks ahead is to convert the voice portion of this application to use Voxeo’s new Tropo platform. Since the back end of the app is written in PHP, and since Tropo supports writing voice apps in PHP I think it would be an interesting experiment to rewrite the existing CCXML/VoiceXML pieces as PHP/Tropo components.

I think this will provide a nice way of comparing and contrasting voice applications built using the more (ahem) traditional VoiceXML route vs. the new hotness that is Tropo.

Stay tuned!

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Bad Week for Public Sector CIOs

In Delaware, the past week saw a State Auditor report released that showed inappropriate use of state credit cards by the former State CIO and several of his top staff members.

Now, in Washington, newly appointed federal CIO Vivek Kundra has taken a leave of absence after FBI agents raided his former office (a week after he left) and arrested an office employee in a bribery scandal.

An altogether bad week for public sector CIOs. If the way that governments use technology is to be reformed, public sector CIOs will simply have to do better than this.

What a shame.

Ides of March

This month promises to be an important one for the advancement of open standards for voice applications.

The World Wide Web Consortium is scheduled to publish the CCXML 1.0 standard as a “Candidate Recommendation” this month, an important step in the advancement of this standard and the first change in its status in some time (the standard has been stalled in “Last Call Working Draft” status since January of 1997).

I and other voice application developers are anxiously awaiting the arrival of this milestone. The time has come to move this important standard forward.