Suramya's Blog : Welcome to my crazy life…

April 19, 2023

Finally a useful AI Implementation: Making spoken dialog easier to hear in movies and shows

Filed under: Emerging Tech,News/Articles,Tech Related — Suramya @ 6:37 PM

Finally, an AI usecase that is actually useful. There are a ton of use cases where AI seems to be shoehorned in for no reason, but this recent announcement from Amazon about Dialogue Boost which is a new function from that lets you increase the volume of dialogue relative to background music and effects to a consistent volume so you can actually hear the dialog without nearly shattering the eardrums when a sudden explosion happens.
It is something that is still in the testing phase and is only released on some of their products so far. But I am looking forward to it being in general availability.

Dialogue Boost works by analyzing the original audio in a movie or series and identifying points where dialogue may be hard to hear above background music and effects, at which point speech patterns are isolated and audio is enhanced to make the dialogue clearer. The AI targets spoken dialogue rather than a typical speaker or home theater set up that only amplifies the center channel of audio. It’s something that exists on high-end theater set-ups and certain smart TVs, but Amazon is the first streamer to roll out such a feature.

I have gotten used to having subtitles on when I watch something because that ensures that I don’t miss out on any dialogs due to the background music/sounds in the show/movie. This looks like it will alleviate that requirement. I think I will still end up keeping the subtitles on but this will certainly help.

Source: Amazon’s New Tool Adjusts Sound So You Can Actually Understand Movie and TV Dialogue
Announcement: Prime Video launches a new accessibility feature that makes it easier to hear dialogue in your favorite movies and series

– Suramya

April 14, 2023

My app that autoposts to Twitter has been suspended from accessing the Twitter API

Filed under: My Thoughts,Tech Related,Website Updates — Suramya @ 5:44 PM

Yesterday I got an email from Twitter stating the following:


This is a notice that your app – Suramya’s Blog – has been suspended from accessing the Twitter API.

Please visit to sign up to our new Free, Basic or Enterprise access tiers.

More information can be found on our developer community forums.
Twitter Developer Platform

The email actually looks like a really bad phishing email as it has no formatting, doesn’t give any links etc and is just a plain auto-generated email. I almost deleted it as spam but then realized that it could be a notification sent because they are forcing folks to use the new plans. Today I logged in to the Developer account and I was expecting to have an option to select one of the tiers, click save (pay if I was insane and decided to pay) and would be done with it. But that is not the case. I was greeted with the following banner when I logged in:

This App has violated Twitter Rules and policies. As a result, it can no longer be accessed. For assistance, submit a support ticket.

It looks like they couldn’t figure out how to temp block users who need to select a tier before being allowed to continue so they decided to suspend the app instead using the same process as what they would do if the app was suspended for ‘violations of Twitter Rules and policies’. Which is quite amusing because the app been used 12 times in the last 2 months to autopost links to my posts here when I create them. I did use the same app for testing a Twitter export script that I wrote a few months ago but haven’t run it in a while, either.

There is no way for me to edit/choose a tier for my app and I have no interest is spending the time to create another app just to post something on Twitter which will get about 2-10 view on an average. (Usually on the lower end of the scale). This was pretty much the last remaining vestige of my posting on Twitter and I am fine with it not working anymore.. I rather spend that time doing something more productive like watching paint dry.

– Suramya

April 4, 2023

Mastodon is so much better than Twitter, except for its search capabilities

Filed under: My Thoughts,Tech Related — Suramya @ 5:14 PM

Twitter has been slowing becoming less and less useful for getting updates from people you follow. Even my ‘Following’ tab is now showing entries from people I don’t follow and not all posts from the folks I follow show up on their either. Don’t even get me started about the ‘For You’ section which is full of nonsense that I am not really interested in. I have mostly switched over to Mastodon for updates and I see way better engagement over there. My blog auto-posts to both Mastodon and Twitter (along with LinkedIn and Facebook), on Twitter I have 84 followers and 11 followers on Mastodon (I only started posting there in 2023). My Tweets usually get between 2-10 views each and maybe 1 tweet out of 50 will get a response or like. The same post on Mastodon gets a lot more engagement, there have been posts which have had 8-10 replies and multiple likes.

However, that being said one thing that Twitter has which is missing from Mastodon is the ability to search. Earlier today I saw an article on how Twitter seems to have blocked users from authenticating to other services using their SSO offerings. I wanted to learn more about it and tried searching for it on Mastodon, and didn’t get any results (I then tried searching using a hashtag but no luck there as well). So I switched to Twitter and did a search there and immediately I got a lot of results that gave more information on the topic. I am sure that this event is being discussed in Mastodon but it is almost impossible to find because of the way the search is designed.

There is an opt-in project that allows people to opt-in to their setup to allow them to index your toots but because of the ‘amazing’ search in Mastodon, I can’t find the link to the project. 🙁 There are people working on this problem but a extremely vocal minority is hellbent against allowing people to search on Mastodon because they don’t want it. To be fair there are a lot of technical challenges in indexing all the toots across all the instances but it is not an insurmountable problem. It just needs people to look into the problem and others to let them work on the solution.

– Suramya

April 3, 2023

ISRO successfully completes the landing experiment of the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration

Filed under: Astronomy / Space — Suramya @ 2:07 PM

ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has been quite active in the past few years and has been making significant progress in its mandate to power the next generation of Indian Space capabilities. On Sunday ISRO successfully completed the landing experiment of the Reusable Launch Vehicle-Technology Demonstration (RLV-TD) which is a key part of ISRO’s goal to create a reusable low cost two-stage orbital launch vehicle.

“The RLV took off at 7:10 a.m. by a Chinook helicopter of the IAF as an underslung load and flew at a height of 4.5 km. Once the predetermined pillbox parameters were attained, based on the RLV’s Mission Management and Computer command, the RLV has released mid-air, at a down range of 4.6 km,” ISRO said.

The autonomous landing was carried out under the exact conditions of a Space Re-entry vehicle’s landing —high speed, unmanned, precise landing from the same return path— as if the vehicle arrives from space. Landing parameters such as Ground relative velocity, the sink rate of Landing Gears, and precise body rates, as might be experienced by an orbital re-entry space vehicle in its return path, were achieved. The RLV LEX demanded several state-of-the-art technologies including accurate Navigation hardware and software, Pseudolite system, Ka-band Radar Altimeter, NavIC receiver, indigenous Landing Gear, Aerofoil honey-comb fins and brake parachute system.

In a first in the world, a winged body has been carried to an altitude of 4.5 km by a helicopter and released for carrying out an autonomous landing on a runway. RLV is essentially a space plane with a low lift to drag ratio requiring an approach at high glide angles that necessitated a landing at high velocities of 350 kmph. LEX utilized several indigenous systems. Localized Navigation systems based on pseudolite systems, instrumentation, and sensor systems, etc. were developed by ISRO. Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of the landing site with a Ka-band Radar Altimeter provided accurate altitude information. Extensive wind tunnel tests and CFD simulations enabled aerodynamic characterization of RLV prior to the flight. Adaptation of contemporary technologies developed for RLV LEX turns other operational launch vehicles of ISRO more cost-effective.

Keep in mind that this was a Technology Demonstration test, or what we call Proof of Concept (PoC) in Software Development. Now that we have successfully shown that the technology works as expected, they can start scaling it up, add more functionality/redundancy etc to productionalize it and make it ready for the live test a couple of years down the line.

Looking forward to more such positive news from ISRO going forward.

Source: ISRO successfully conducts the Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission

– Suramya

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