The Ultra Hal Assistant is a personal - software - assistant that may increase your productivity. It is possible to chat or speak with the artificial intelligence to let it do a number of things for you. This includes starting programs, reading text, reminding you of appointments, looking up local news and weather, defining words, dictating text and more. Note that you do need a microphone for that for obvious reasons.
Let me quickly describe the installation process before I explain the program's functionality in detail. You can download the newest version of the Ultra Hal Assistant and the Text to Speech Reader from the official developer website.
You can customize the program after the installation, by selecting a character for your personal assistant, and typing in your name and that of the assistant. You can choose between male and female voices in the interface and it is probably a good idea to test them all before you make a decision in this regard. At the time of testing, two female and eight male voices are available for selection.
The artificial intelligence learns from your conversations. It will ask questions and remembers the answers. My first conversation with the AI started with the question if I was male or female. Conversations will get more complex after time but this seems to take a while. Here is a list of tasks and things that the assistant can do for your:
One very nice feature of the software program is that you can setup the assistant as an AIM Bot. Contacts of yours can then chat with the bot while your computer is connected to the AOL instant messenger network.
The Ultra Hal website offers several free plugins in several categories that add functionality to it. For instance new 3D-models to the program or install speech recognition plugins for commercial speech recognition softwares such as IBM Via Voice.
I would suggest that you download the trial version from the Zabaware website and test the assistant for yourself. It could boost your productivity especially with speech recognition enabled. My most used features are so far "write email" and "start program" but it is somehow very interesting to simply chat with the assistant.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.