Getting Started

The following are notes on my first attempt to install and run an xAP framework on Windows. This came about from my desire to use a Windows laptop as the speech output for my Misterhouse server. The server is located in my comm closet with no ability to send audio to my house. A laptop in the kitchen would be excellent.

  • Lack of open source
My first impression is the lack of open source software. These guys are really trying to corner the application market. Yes, the software is free, but I really don't generally trust compiled software from developers who have no real assets to sue (i.e. not a big company) if they load a trojan. Ok, I'll play along for now.

  • Software to load
I need a xAP hub and the xAP speech application. The "getting started" instructions also suggested that I load the xAP viewer to watch messages. I installed the following software:

    • xAP Hub
xFx Hub GUI - Does not seem to work with xFx Viewer
xAP Hub - Seems to work great but is not a windows service. You must use eth1 command line parameter because the system has multiple Ethernet interfaces. I ultimately removed the contivity software that added the second interface so that all of this software would work without modifications.

The viewer starts fine but does not display anything even though I know that MH is sending heartbeats.

Speech complains with an error when I try to start it from the start menu. Something about an "activex component can't create object". Starting the service seems to work without errors in the windows event log.

  • Debugging

    • tethereal
I figured out a good command line for tethereal:
tethereal -i eth1 -x port 3639
This shows that all the applications I started, including MH, are sending out heartbeats.

I decided to load Patrick's clock application since it will send periodic traffic. This silly application refuses to use a hub! It determines that port 3639 is in use and that there is a hub running. It then proceeds to select port 3640 for sending messages. I had to load it on another windows PC w/o an active hub.


  1. I loaded hub, viewer, and speech on one windows PC. I also loaded clock on another windows PC.
  2. I see heartbeat messages from all the applications and time messages from clock on my Misterhouse linux PC with tethereal, but viewer shows nothing! I don't get it.
  3. Ok, I tried stopping everything then running Patrick's hub, restarting viewer, and restarting clock. hey! Viewer shows the network now including MH and all the heartbeats. Uninstall the broken hub. (This was caused by having multiple IP interfaces. The xFx hub needs additional parameters to select an interface)
  4. I'll try the windows service version. Nope, the installer complains about a corrupt cab file. I'll download it again. This time I received the message "The account name is invalid or does not exist, or the password is invalid for the account name specified" (Received a corrected binary, but I have not tried it yet)
  5. I'll keep running Patrick's hub.
  6. Hail Mary, I'm enabling xAP_send.pl in Misterhouse.
  7. MH is now sending a weather report every 60 seconds
  8. I got MH to send a tts.speak packet by selecting the "What is your max speed" under MrHouse Home / Browse MrHouse... nothing from xAP speech
  9. It looks like yahoo groups messages are not searched with google. Figures.
  10. Now reading through the yahoo groups message board xap_automation
  11. Found an obscure reference to adding an IP= line in the xapspeech.txt configuration file.
  12. This laptop has the Nortel Contivity client loaded; that's the extra IP interface. I removed it so that now all applications can bind to the first interface.
  13. Now the xFx Hub works. It must bind to the first IP interface, doohhh. Why not bind to "all" interfaces by default? Or, the installer could notice more than one interface and ask the user what to do....
  14. Ok. I worked through all the microsoft applications needed to ensure that MS Agent is properly installed and even wrote a quick test script. MSAgent
  15. xAP Speech still does not "speak" and the application still fails to load. Well this is because xAP Speech does NOT use MSAgent!
  16. I tried upgrading MH to 2-104 (directly from svn). Nope, it’s still broken.
  17. I found that the xFx xAP Hub allows me to edit a received message and resend it; great for troubleshooting.
  18. I installed xAP Speech on a winXP system; worked first try.
  19. OK, win2k needs SAPI 5.1 installed. Microsoft does not distribute an installer; WTF; but they do provide instructions for building an .msi file. I'll log my attempts on my MS-SAPI page.

Contributors to this page: michael .
Page last modified on Thursday 06 of September, 2007 23:15:19 CDT by michael.