RE: looking for some info on Magic Voice

From: Bil Herd <>
Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 13:19:13 -0400
Message-ID: <>
Hi Richard,

I don't know personally but I assumed going back to then that technology belonged to TI, a competitor, and that a start from scratch methodology using a chip available in east Asia was as clean of a start as you were going to get from one company's IP to a new company. This is conjecture on my part as I never heard it even brought up. 

As far as the relationship with TI, I believe we were still twisting the knife with regard to putting the TI99 out.  If you remember the whole "send us a competitor's computer and we will send you a $100 rebate" program that was meant to get not only the computers off the street but to drive the software development/count away from them to CBM


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of Richard Atkinson
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2010 7:34 AM
Subject: RE: looking for some info on Magic Voice

Here is something I have always wondered, Bil. The Speak and Spell contains 
Texas Instruments chips, whereas the Commodore Magic Voice and V364 
contains a Toshiba speech chip. How did TI's speech technology end up in 
the Toshiba T6721A, was it a commercial deal or copying? Why did Commodore 
go with the Toshiba chip rather than TI's - were TI still bitter over the 
C64 / TI99/4A?


On May 23 2010, Bil Herd wrote:

> I don't know the status of what hard tech information is out there but I 
> can relate the story of Magic Voice and how it came to be in the TED/364:
> Dr Richard Wiggens and Tom Brightman were lured away from TI after doing 
> the Speak and Spell, back then that was a monumental new thing that 
> technology could do. I gathered that the background work that we didn't 
> see at CBM was the gathering of the phoneme vocabulary which sounded like 
> they got an audio room and created the library themselves.
> They then came to West Chester to start the process of emulating the 
> jungle logic into a gate array. I forget the young man's name that came 
> from Texas and stayed for a few weeks but I remembered that he worked 
> with Eric Yang, one of the IC engineers on the TED chip. Eric (real name 
> Chow Yan) showed him things like there was no such thing as a minimum 
> delay through a gate when on a piece of silicon (race condition between 
> clocking and clear flip flops). There was one thing that stood out that 
> we would later adopt as part of the vernacular; there was a register that 
> you wrote to to request something, and if you wanted it to do it quickly 
> you wrote the same value again to the same register again. Terry Ryan 
> asked "so you mean do it, do it now?" "Yes" the young man beamed. We 
> called it the Texan Register.
> MY understanding of the gate array was that was the real joojoo of 
> Wiggens and Brightman and it was responsible for some of the command 
> structure of how the phonemes where called and when. I learned my 
> fricatives from my guttural stops around this time.
> So when all was said and done they went to gate array with the 8706 which 
> was pretty much a first time we had bypassed the custom silicon of MOS. 
> For all of the complaining we did in jest, we only ever found one thing 
> mispronounced which was "gurple" instead of purple. As one thing lead to 
> another it was only natural that we would take a few spare minutes and 
> set up over a dozen 364's all saying "gurble" in tight loops which made a 
> cacophony when walking by. We never got tired of that for some reason, 
> must have been the stress.
> I caught up with Dr. Wiggens at the next CES show, (it's a fair bet that 
> I was the only one calling him Richie around MOS)and had an amazing 
> afternoon as he went to the different speech driven booths and tried 
> level 2 and 3 type rules and analyzed the methodologies: I remember the 
> word "hobo" being one of the test words he would use.
> Last I knew Tom Brightman ended up at Atari, never found out what 
> happened to him or Richard after that. I will probably dig into some of 
> the social networks tonight now that it's on my mind.
> GurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurpleGurple
> -----Original Message----- From: 
> [] On Behalf Of Groepaz Sent: 
> Saturday, May 22, 2010 6:24 PM To: Subject: 
> looking for some info on Magic Voice
> yay, me and some other guys from the vice team are looking at 
> implementing the magic voice cartridge right now. while looking for info, 
> we stumbled about an old post: 
> - this one 
> implies that the Mos 8706 pinouts are "out there" - does anyone have them 
> ?

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Received on 2010-05-26 18:00:09

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