Well, as I sit here swamped in more work than I ever imagined that I'd be lucky enough to have, I need to be proactive... As I've mentioned a few times, I think Sahil currently holds the high water mark for kick a55. Ok, if I racked my little brain I'm sure Charles Petzold or Jeffrey Richter probably wrote something better but until I meed Charles or until Jeffrey teaches me a magic trick (or better yet, takes me for a ride in his helicopter), I'm standing by my assertion. Well, I really want to join that club. Which brings me to my current conundrum and I have a few questions that i would ask for your feedback on:
1- I've seen a lot of discussion about 'tone'. I actually remember some dipsh1t lecturing Sahil about the tone and style of his writing. And to be honest, there's a lot of disagrement on it. I've heard a lot both ways, about too much conversational style being a distraction, too much straightforwardness being boring. If I had my way I'd lean a lot toward the humorous conversational way of writing but, I don't have that little voice in my head that tells me when I'm going to far. With respect to tone, Sahil does a great job, as does John Robbins. I absolutely love the way they interject real world stuff they've been through with technical content. Johns story about Debug Assertions still makes me laugh. But I've also heard a lot of people say John went too far and it's _______ (fill in critical word here). Well, whaddyathink here?
2- Without divulging trade secrets, a big part of the book is going to be the walkthroughs at the end that wrap up the material and explain things in depth. My ideas so far go something like:
- Dial Tone Confession - "Hello, you've reached Father WindowsBox. Using the keypad, enter the time (in months) since you're last confession... If you've taken the name of the lord in vein, press 9, fornicated, press 8, etc etc"
- Digital Girlfriend - (I'm going to have some trouble here though b/c Sara's a smart a33 too and the digital boyfriend she'll come up with will probably be more brutal). "What do you want to do tonight honey?" "Shop" "Cool, IRiver has new portable media centers out and i've been dying for one" "NO BILL, I meant shop for me, how does White House Black Market Sound" "Boring, how about Circuit City" "Where's my rolling pin" You get the idea
- Recruiter - "Hi Bill, I have an exciting opportunity I'd like to tell you about" "Are you a recruiter" "Yes" "Go to h3ll and die" "Well I see here you have .NET Experience" "I lied, I don't even know what .NET is" "Ok, don't say that in the interview, when can you do a face to face"
- Interview the Prophet (Never mind, i don't want killed)
- McDonalds Drive through - I'd take the menu and prices from a local McDonalds and let you put in an order, cancel things, change them, give you your total and tell you to drive ahead
- Conversation with Linux or Firefox zealot - Admittedly, I'd have to work here not to go over the edge but I still think this could be funny. Actually, the only grammar you'd need for the firefox guys would be "Well IE isn't standards compliant, Security, Haliburton" (for you Team America fans)
- Dial A Liberal /Dial a Conservative - Now way to be policitally correct and be funny but could probably squeak this one through.
- Gangsta Rappa - Ok this is probably my favorite one but in order to do it, I'd need explitives. Maybe I can get it through and do it as a separate download
- Computer Science Professor - I'll model it after my beloved Dr. Jarman but I without a visual I can't make it roll it's eyes in disgust every time I ask it something. Nonetheless, since most of my readers will probably have had at least a CS class, this could be fun.
All of these would show you how to create the scenario using Speech Server. Yes, it's going to be a *** writing it all. Each one that I've toyed with outside of the straight telephony one is going to be rough. However it's a great way to teach how to really use one. +, Sara is pretty kick a55 with Artificial Intelligence so we could do a lot.
So here's your chance to be heard. Got an idea? Let me know b/c I'll seriously consider just about anything. My Gangsta Rappa Persona is probably going to die an early death as are most of these (I have two that are totally serious already that will definitely make it through) but that's b/c I tend toward the offensive. I honestly do welcome your ideas and will credit you fully for them.