I backed 3 Mark II with camera on kickstarter.com after I saw the campaign and this YouTube video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NS3EASr1yfE). I was excited. I was infected. I was willing to back them. Because I thought it is a promising product. In overall I invested over 600 dollars for 3 Mark II units including delivery and taxes for Germany shipping.
Until the units arrive I thought I try to play with picroft as I had a raspberry pi 3. I bought a PS3 Eye camera and started to install everything with the goal to have a german speaking Mycroft for using it with openHAB, a open-source java-based home automation system (a skill exists already). As I have some skills in web development (mostly PHP and JS), some experience on terminal with Mac OS and Linux and I am feeling as a maker, this should be no problem, does it?
Although I like the vision of Mycroft and think that there are some cool approaches I have to say it is impossible for me.
These are the main pain points:
- changing language to german
Maybe it is possible, but if you are following the documentation (https://mycroft.ai/documentation/language-support/german/) you are in a dead end. Yes, it is defined as experimental, but I tried it with 30+ hours to get it working with no chance. If there were a functional way for one language it would be easy to adapt it for other languages.
I kicked Mycroft Mark II with the goal to have a german Mycroft - today I think I will not achieve it.
- changing the hot word
I tried it multiple times but it is confusing that there are four files (mycroft.conf) with the same job and it is not clear for me how they interact with each other and which of these are overwritten by home.mycroft.com. Furthermore I did not found a documentation which parameters could be set, I only found “examples” and did not know what is essential and what is obsolete. If you use the standard hot words from home.mycroft.ai but in Germany the existing hot words are not usable. I tried to get some german words and names going via the custom hot word function but then mycroft starts a infinite loop with listening and stopping. It does not matter if the word is short or long.
I backed the Mark IIs to use them as a christmas present for my wife and my two daughters. I am sure they would like them but would call them differently and with a german name. Today I think this will not be possible.
- languages in skills (in particular the openhab skill)
I had a look at the openHAB skill and I was wondering how languages are implemented. They are hard written in the code. That was very surprising and very discouraging because in my opinion it is not very professional. I think that part I would somehow get done.
I have no python skills and I find it hard to learn it as I am 40+ year old, busy family man with only a small amount of time for yourself. Maybe if I could script in python or were a single then everything would be easier and there would be no problem to achieve my goal of a german mycroft.
My summary is I am not able take the first step to use picroft properly although I am a technology enthusiast - what about others with fewer skills? I could not tell anything about any functionality because I failed early. I invested in a future technology and today I have a very bad gut instinct.
I hope anyone of the mycroft team or somebody else can give me some hope. Maybe it is totally easy and I oversee the easy solution…
With much respect and best regards