Our minds on media.

Musings on the effects of media on cognition.

Meet Alex

Note: Are you on a Mac using Leopard? Stop reading this post and instead, select the text for the post. Then go to Safari > Services > Speech > Starting Speaking Text. Alex is the new default voice and it’s really natural sounding!

I’ve been working with my new Macbook Pro for a few weeks now and the surprises keep coming. All over the system I’ve found neat little trinkets and touches—no surprise, really, considering the developer. One of the more interesting features that I’ve discovered is a new voice in the speech section of the System Preference. If you’re on a Mac using Leopard, the new default voice for all things Speech related, “Alex,” is impressively natural sounding (see instructions above to try it out).

I encountered this new voice when I checked out something called Textcast, an impressive little piece of software from Bitmaki that allows you to automate podcasting with the new synthetic voice, Alex. I can’t yet think of any particular use for Textcast, but it’s one of those applications that just strikes me for its potential. I, for one, have a lot of fiction online and I’ve always wanted to make it easy for people to listen to it as well as read it, but the sheer amount of it has generally kept me away from such a project. But this could be a nice alternative for folks who’d like to listen to my fiction instead.

[source: Daring Fireball]

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