Saturday, July 26, 2008

Say What?

iNode: The weblog of Digital Programs and Systems at George Mason University Libraries tipped me off to the existence of an intriguing command-line program on the Mac. It's called Say and it takes a text file as input, and outputs an .aiff file, (a Mac sound file). I tried it out with a Project Gutenberg text file I happened to have lying around. In a few minutes, I had a synthesized voice reading Joseph Conrad to me. It was surprisingly natural reading, with very few odd pronunciations. iNode blogger Wally Grotophorst was clever enough to use "say" to get through some required "reading" materials while he drove to a conference. While I probably wouldn't "read" a book this way for fun, my eyesight ain't what it used to be, and it's nice to know there are future options by which I could have "audio books" of any odd and obscure text I can get on my computer.

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