Talkr: Creating Audio Podcasts of Your Text Blog Entries

From Andy Carvin’s Waste of Bandwidth –
I’ve just started experimenting with a rather funky tool called Talkr. Essentially, Talkr is a podcast generator for text blogs, and it has enormous implications for people with visual impairments and limited literacy.

When you look at a typical blog, it’s mostly text. This may be no problem for many people, but if you’re reading skills aren’t strong or you don’t see well, text blogs can be quite a challenge. Meanwhile, thousands of Internet users create their own podcasts, which are basically blogs containing audio files. Apart from being really cool for everyone, podcasts are particularly useful for people who can’t read or see well. But they’re not exactly practical for the hard of hearing, either, who would benefit more from reading a text blog. Theoretically, it would be great if every person who wrote a text blog would record a podcast of it as well, but very few, if any bloggers bother to do this.

Enter Talkr. Talkr is a Web-based speech synthesizer that takes the texts of blogs and generates and MP3 file, with a computer voice speaking the text. For people who just want to visit their favorite text blogs and listens to them, Talkr works as blog management tool; you simply add your favorite blogs to your account, and it will create a computer-generated voice mp3 for each entry. Meanwhile, for all of you bloggers out there, Talkr lets you embed a computer-generatd mp3 into each of your blog entries, and supplies you with an RSS feed for them. This means that users can either come to your blog and click a link to listen to the mp3, or they can use iTunes or another podcast management tool to subscribe to the feed and receive each new mp3 file automatically. [continued]

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