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Meeting Our Community – @eltocino

By October 11, 2019 No Comments
Mycroft Community Profile: @eltocino

Mycroft is not just open source code, it is an Open Source Community of people from across the world. Meet some of the people that make up our Open Source Community. Hear about what they have built with Mycroft, and why they got involved.

El Tocino is a long term member of our Skills Management Team, guiding the development of our Skills Frameworks. Most recently he initiated the Precise Community Data Repository to encourage more open sharing of pre-trained Precise models and wake word training data amongst the Community.

He is commonly one of the first responders to Community support queries in the Chat and Forums, and has a wealth of knowledge to share!

El tocino, tell us about your names, there seems to be a common theme here?

It’s all rather porcine-themed, isn’t it? One of my other hobbies is making bbq, and as the folks at Mycroft HQ can also tell you, the best bbq is found in Texas. Plus I thought it sounded cool.

When did you first get involved in Mycroft?

Shortly after the first Kickstarter, I was looking around to see if there was an open source version of a voice assistant so I could yell at my lights. Sirius wasn’t quite as far along and Jasper was all pi-based at the time and I didn’t have a pi. So Mycroft it was. I didn’t know much python, or much about any of the tooling used for Mycroft at the time. Read a lot of Github and papers and mostly played with it until I figured things out. And now here we are, and I have four Pi 3’s now. 1 

Why do you think a project like Mycroft is important?

As Neo told the architect, the problem is choice. The corporate choices are all layered with their own problems. Having an open, untargeted voice assistant, that doesn’t track you, and isn’t selling you out, is a good thing. Further, as someone with young children, I don’t want their interactions to be potentially shared with unknown 3rd parties, or to find a bunch of toys suddenly being delivered to my house.

What has been your favorite feature or idea that you’ve contributed to the project?

I added some bits to the dev_setup around the mimic build (some are even still in there! 2). That was a sore spot for a long time. Secondary to that I’d promised to write at least one piece of documentation a long time ago, and that ended up being the audio troubleshooting page 3. If it helps at least one person then I’m happy to have written it. 

What advice would you give to people who are wanting to get more involved in machine learning?

Precise is an easy start into the world of ML! Super simple, clear idea and process, low resources needed. Also read everything you can, Arxiv 4 is wonderful for that. Don’t be afraid to try crazy things, you don’t need a lot of hardware. You need an idea and dedication to see it to fruition. 

And finally, what’s next for you? What are you working on at the moment?

I’ve always played with a few pieces at a time. Lately, I keep working on modeling with DeepSpeech, and I’ve recently gotten it to a viable state 5…so far for only one person (me). I tried my hand at modeling voices for Mimic2/Tacotron, and will return to that again at some point. The personal/local backend are also of interest, I have an old desktop that runs my local copies of everything (DeepSpeech, Tacotron, Mycroft, local Wikipedia, backend, etc) so it is possible to run offline and have a usable instance. Security and reliability are never-ending pursuits. Of course there’s Precise, I think this is one of the best things about Mycroft is personalization! Everyone should be able to have their own name for their instance. The more folks who share data, the better all our models can be. And I’m sure I’ll be around on the forums and chat to post funny memes and occasionally a helpful comment or two.

Last, go validate and submit to Mozilla’s Common Voice when you can! 6


  1. I’m probably not getting a Pi4, the pine h64 would be my choice. 
  5. See for some of these ideas.