Now Professor Hawking can curse autocorrect, too. Photo: The Next Web
Famous astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has a better way to talk now, thanks to a new custom predictive text software upgrade from SwiftKey and Intel Labs. The technology that Professor Hawking was currently using was going on 20 years old, and needed a fix to help him communicate and work faster and more efficiently.
His life-long motor neurone disease of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) has necessitated his use of communications technology, and this new system will allow him to choose words rather than individual letters, which lets him type less than 20 percent of all needed characters in his messages. It also makes him 10 times more efficient with other computing tasks like browsing the web, working with files, and switching between tasks on the computer.
Ever wanted to hear Siri declaim “Luke, I am your father” in 32 different languages?
In a blog post by the developers behind the daily Spanish word app Vocab Ninja, you can click on all of Siri’s different voices — overwhelmingly female-gendered, interestingly enough — in both standard and enhanced audio resolutions.
Text-to-speech is great. But have you ever wished that it could be a little more creepy? As in, child’s-voice-coming-out-of-your-computer creepy? Well, you’re in luck. Thanks to a service designed to help kids to communicate, you too can make your iPad talk in the voice of a little girl or boy. Shiver.
I’ve been driving a lot lately, and have been wanting to listen to ebooks on my iPHone as I do so. It’s fairly simple to turn on VoiceOver and have what sounds like Siri read my books to me, but honestly? She’s a terrible narrator. The VoiceOver voice is heavily robotic, and it’s difficult to understand what’s being read to me most of the time, so I end up giving up or contemplating purchasing an audiobook from iTunes.
But I’d really like to just continue the ebooks I already have on my iPhone while I’m driving. That way I can listen to them while in the car, but actually read them when I’m not. NaturalReader just might be part of the solution I’ve been looking for, so I figured I’d share it here with you.
OS X has really good text to speech functionality for users with a visual or other learning disability, but it’s something that I think we all would benefit from at certain times. How about listening to a webpage when you’re folding clothes, or having your Mac your Twitter stream out loud while you do some sort of two-handed crafting project, like knitting?
Turns out, you can make this happen super easily with OS X Mountain Lion, invoking a keystroke to read highlighted text anywhere on your computer. Want to have your Mac read that Word doc your boss just sent over? This little tip will make it happen.
It’s the future, already, right? While we may not have flying cars or jetpacks, we do have computers ad mobile devices that we can speak to and that can speak to us.
Here are a few ways to make your Mac speak to you in a variety of ways. Make it read books to you right from the Kindle app, change text documents into audio files for easy transport, and even let you know when your Terminal session is finished. If that isn’t enough, we’ll even show you how to get better voices to do all this with, even in different languages. So settle in and let us know what you think in the comments below.
Mention having a computer read a book to them, and most people will give you that look. You know that look, the one that says, “I hate those goofy robot voices. I want a real person to read to me.”
While there’s no current way to make a computer voice sound like an actual human voice, many of the built in voices are much better these days. In addition, there are some high quality voices you may not even know you have built right into OS X Lion. Here’s how to enable them for use.
Lots of us like to listen to audiobooks, and lots of us buy ebooks across a variety of services and devices. If you own an iPad, for instance, you might download audio books from iTunes or iBooks from that particular app, and then read right on your iPad. If you want to listen to iBooks, or have a visual impairment that makes it tough to see the text on the iPad screen, you can turn on VoiceOver and have the iBook read to you.
What about the Mac, you might ask? Can’t you just turn on VoiceOver on the Mac and have it read ebooks to you? Not if you use an e-Reader software like Kindle or Nook, you can’t. There is a way to get your Mac to read Kindle books to you, out loud, with its built-in text to speech software, but it’s not as intuitive as you might think. Here’s how.
Terminal has tons of great applications on the Mac. By accessing the Unix underpinnings of Mac OS X, Terminal allows power users and newbies alike to do things with their Mac that may not be enabled out of the box.
Code monkeys and script jockeys frequently use Terminal to run longer processes than typical, like compiling code (the process of making all those little lines of code into an app that will run on your Mac) or running scripts. When they finish, they finish. There’s no built in way to know that they’re done.
Sure would be great to listen to every day documents easily, say, on a long drive or airplane commute. There are a ton of ways to make this happen, including some third party apps, but this is a pretty slick, easy way to turn any text you can highlight into spoken text that can be put on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod, ready to go along with you.