I am so far behind in my blog writing! I have about 10 posts to write that relate events from ages past. Well, not quite ages past, but it's getting there. Nevertheless, I'm going to write the most recent one first, even if it messes up the chronological order of the posts - hopeless anyway.
I have long been interested in Text to Speech software. TTS programs simulate the human voice, enabling the computer to read typed text audibly in order to be understood. Back when I first learned about these programs, the computer's ability to simulate human voice was not extremely impressive. In fact, it was quite humorous. My friend Jim and I often fed gibberish text into the TTS programs and cracked up at the horrible pronunciations... "Silly Sampton Eats Plantlike Patunias." is one of the famous quotes of the time - we say it often even today. Back then, the programs of choice that I was exposed to were DocTalker and Dr. Sbaitso. Dr. Sbaitso was particularly interesting because it tried to intelligently answer based on your input. I found the program again just now (it's an old DOS program!).
The newest Text to Speech programs have come a long way. Lately I've found voices that are almost indiscernible from real people talking. All the old voices are free, but you have to pay to get the good ones. I decided to buy two voices today.
I've been using simple TTS reading programs to listen to the Bible while at work and other places with nothing else to do. Hearing the same verses playing over and over, I have been picking up and absorbing things I don't think O would have noticed just by reading the printed words. I'm finding this method to be a very effective way to meditate on the Word and allow it to convict me. A few times I've been led almost to tears because the words were so poignant, spoken directly into my ears. I decided to buy better voices, largely so the reading experience would be more enjoyable - though I do enjoy the unique quality of the old voices too.
For those who were not aware that computers can speak, I've included some sound files for you to listen to. This entire blog entry has been read aloud by two TTS voices: one that is rather old and one of the new ones I just purchased. I trust you will be able to discern a slight difference in the quality and accuracy. :)