Reading, making it a more pleasant past time.

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All right, so I love love love to read!! I like fiction and fantacy, mystery and suspense, some romance, and even a few uplifting types. Many times, you can find audio books and I love them, most of the time. I have some favorite narrators that really make the stories come alive! All that said, audio books are usually quite expensive, weather you buy them at a book store or download them. They do have a few programs out there that offer books on tape, but you have to go through extensive approval processes and such things. I also have access to books in text or braille format, and many times, there is a wider selection of those than that of audio books. But in order to read those books in text or Braille format, I would usually have to load them onto my computer and listen to my screen reader read them to me. But here’s my issue. Personally, I don’t find it very relaxing to listen to Jaws read books to me. I would like to hear my books from a less mechanical, more human-sounding narrator.So what to do? Actually, what made me start thinking on these things more was a blog entry from Susan Gerhart, where she talks about book reading options. After reading her ideas and resources, I found several choices out there for book reading, more than I had previously realized.I listen to jaws reading all day long, in it’s synthetic voice or voices. I am used to it, but when it comes to reading for fun, I want to hear something a bit more natural. I also carry my ipod around with me everywhere and love to listen to books on there, rather than having to use my computer.So I started looking around for different options, to be able to convert text files to mp3 files that can be loaded onto my ipod and listened to. I have used kurzweil reader and it does have this capability, but its voices are also quite synthetic, and I have had issues getting this program to work with windows vista. There’s another program called text aloud, and you can actually buy voices for it that sound pretty decent. I’m looking for other programs that may do better, my goal is to have something that will sound as close to a live person as possible. This way, my reading time will be more relaxing, and less like listening to a computer voice in my sleep.

1 thought on “Reading, making it a more pleasant past time.”

  1. Hi, please let us know what you find useful.

    Synthetic voices are always improving and are really good value with adequate speaking and conversion software. Have you tried Dspeak, as in a demo from Blind Cool Tech?

    I’d like to pass on a universal design question posed to me by Jon Udell. He takes a load of mp3 files for his hospitalized parent’s enjoyment. However, the whole process of finding and downloading files to an mp3 player is a barrier for that parent. What is the best way to bring the vast audio world we enjoy, including books, down to the mp3 player? Is this a software or an education problem?

    Have a good reading summer!

    Susan

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