You need to be aware of a few things before you use the Microsoft Agent components. The first is that the core components must be installed on the client computer before a speech-enabled Web site will work properly. The second thing you must make sure of is that the agent characters have been installed on the computer. And the third thing you must be sure about is that the speech module, which lets the Microsoft Agent components speak through your sound system, is installed.
A page on www.ASPNET-Solutions.com has links to the Microsoft Agent components that must be installed on client computers for speech enabled web applications. You can see this page in Figure 21.1. If you need to install anything, you can go to this page (www.ASPNET-Solutions.com/Chapter_21.htm) and download the components.
Figure 21.1. Links to the Agent Downloads Are on www.ASPNET-Solutions.com.
Note that Windows 2000 and Windows XP already have the Microsoft Agent and its components installed. Also note that if the Microsoft Agent core components and the speech components are not installed before a user goes to a Web page that is speech-enabled with Microsoft Agent, then an automatic download will start (after the user is prompted for permission that is, if the browser security settings specify a prompt) that will install the needed components.
NOTE: Many Microsoft Agent characters are available, and many more are being created. Now that you have the Microsoft Agent components installed on your computer, you have only to download additional characters (files with .ACS extensions) as they become available and save them to your C:\WINDOWS\MSAGENT\CHARS or C:\WINNT\MSAGENT\CHARS folder, depending on your operating system. (The installation programs save the characters to the correct directory without any intervention on your part.) You can look for other characters by going to www.MSAgentRing.org. You'll find dozens of additional agent characters that you can download and install.