Barcode Vocalization Application

From: Alan Dechert <adechert_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Wed Oct 01 2003 - 04:55:51 CDT

I have made a first cut of the barcode vocalization application (bva). It
takes obfuscated barcoded data according to the plan given by Jan and plays
wav files corresponding to the selections indicated on the ballot.

I recorded a wav file for each of the 116 possible selections on the ballot
plus another 13 -- one for each contest -- in case of no vote (says, e.g.,
"for president, no preference was indicated"). I use a freeware command
line wav file player to play the files.

I wrote it in dBASE since I don't know Python and I don't have time to learn
it right now. It would certainly be easier to do in Python. The
application is very simple. Most of the coding I did was to work around the
fact that dBASE has no built-in support for long integers.

I am asking Jan to give us some samples of completed ballots with matching
obfuscated barcodes with which to test.

This brings up another issue I've been meaning to mention. We should really
have a look at the candidate names used in the ballot mock up. Even though
the names have been chosen while trying to be somewhat entertaining, people
will notice them. If there are changes to be made, we should make them now.
As more pieces of the demo come into place (for example, Chris and Arnie are
making progress on the tabulation demo), it will become increasingly messy
and confusing if we decide to change candidate names (and/or contests)

The bva application I have written could be a lot better -- I don't check
for anything and the platform is pretty arcane. On the other hand, it would
work pretty much as-is on a 486 running DOS (I tested it on the slowest
machine I have -- a 200 mhz pentium and it worked fine). The interface is
rudimentary to say the least but all that is really needed for this is some
indication for the attendant that the barcode was successfully read. If
someone wants to re-do this in Python I won't be offended -- but we really
need to start thinking about getting the demo ready. I would be comfortable
using this application as-is for the demo -- the only thing the users are
going to notice will be the headphones and the quality of the recording. If
the barcode scanner works and they hear all the selections read correctly
and it sounds good, we won't be able to do much better. The fact that it
will run perfectly well on very inexpensive hardware is a plus for the demo.

If you want to try it, you can download it here. This includes bva.exe and
all the wav files and the freeware wav player. No install procedure is
needed -- just unzip the files to a directory of your choice and run bva.exe
(should run under most any version of Windows -- international users might
see a code page or language driver mis-match but it should run anyway).

-- Alan Dechert
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Received on Fri Oct 31 23:17:00 2003

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