I’ve looked in the past at setting up audio for this blog, to enhance accessibility. The options, when I first investigated were either to record everything myself – which would have been very slow, or to use a plugin that read it. The first that I tried was Feed2podcast, which I set up, though ultimately decided that I wasn’t that keen on the object that it adds, as it essentially reads the whole RSS feed. I’ve since found Talkr, which puts a podcast button at the end of each post. (It’s still a mechanised voice), but I think that it works better – though it will be interesting to see what others think.
(If you are reading this on the Elgg mirror, then you won’t see the podcast link … I’ve not yet sorted out getting it on there, it’s just on my WordPress blog hosted in the University.)

4 thoughts on “Audio blogs

  1. Yes, I’d seen it on a few blogs, so finally got round to checking it out to see exactly what it was. Luckily there’s a plugin for WordPress, so I didn’t have to do anything much to add it in.

  2. Hi Emma,

    I first came across the idea of automatically podcasting a blog when Roger Johanson blogged about a service called Readspeaker Podcaster, which is subscription service that generates an MP3 file (from the RSS feed I think), and sounds similar to Feed2Podcast.

    This one seems much slicker in it’s integrattion, but it’s just a shame about that voice. Listening to one or two articles like that would be tolerable, but I’m not sure I’d want to tune in daily like that.

    The biggest problem I find with mechanised voices is I just switch off from them! I get to the end of something and then realise that I haven’t listened to anything since the first paragraph. I’m suprised someone hasn’t managed to integrate something like taxtAloud’s real voice technology (which is actually quite listenable) into a service like this. Perhpas they have even – I haven’t been on their website for a while now.

  3. I think that the problem with all the free software is that they have to rely on the free voices. As you point out, some other voices are easier to listen to, but generally aren’t free.
    I can’t decide about using this … it’s really of use, I think, for dyslexic users – who haven’t bought their own software – as generally the commercial software uses one of the better voices. Talkr doesn’t seem to let you have any choice in the voices (though it might I suppose if I’d got a Premium account, rather than a free one). I’ve got (though not on this computer), some of the (free) extra voices for MS Agent, and actually, compared to them, Talkr’s isn’t bad.

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