With my xPL issues out of the way, I was able to get to testing my new app. I'm not quite sure what to call it. It started out as a way to make HAL talk via SAPI instead of HAL Voices or its default voices, as I have a 2nd copy of HAL Deluxe. However, I'm not really interested in forking out $30 again for HAL Voices, which are just repackaged AT&T Natural Voices and I already own that.
I finished up a first pass last night & learned more about GUI stuff using VB 2008 Express Edition. Here's a look at the app:
One copy of the app runs on the server, where the HAL master resides. Other copies can run on other machines, or clients. You configure it with the GUI. The client interfaces with the VR on the local machine and sends the recognized phrase, over xPL, to the server copy of this application. The server copy then pushes that into the master HAL copy, which performs whatever action is requested, and sends a TTS response back out over xPL to the client. The client will then play the TTS response using either SAPI or a HAL voice, depending on what's configured.
Here's a short video of it in action. The client is on the left, the master is on the right in an RDP session. The next thing to do will be to figure out how to push the VR phrases from the master HAL to the client so it's aware of all the added phrases in the master.