Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Day 76 - A Posting Vacation

A whole lot of stuff is going to be happening this week. Friends, family, trips.  I don't even know what all is planned.

I'm going to try to keep working, but I figure the least I can do is put the blog updates on hold.  So, no posting until Sunday (and that post appears Monday).

I'll have a similar posting vacation in mid-July, for similar reasons, although with that one I know for sure I won't get the chance to post that week.

In the meantime...

Today I made small progress on many fronts, none of which I can remember now to mention.  (I only know I was exhausted and satisfied this evening.)  There was one interesting note of odd satisfaction that came up today:

The Mechanical Aussie

We were talking about scanning and OCR of old backlist books, and someone mentioned using a particular service for his backlist -- a service that also provides sound files.  ???  They do audiobooks?

Turns out it was just text-to-speech -- they had that as a part of their standard work flow.  But their samples sounded pretty good, so I started thinking about using my Mac's text-to-speech to listen to some text (hey, if you have a close call with glaucoma, you think about these things).

I discovered that -- although the standard "Junior" voice is still really really bad -- text-to-speech has come a long way.  And the non-American accents actually seem to get inflections a little bit better.  And given that George (title character of The Man Who Did Too Much and the upcoming The Man Who Ran Away) has an odd accent that no one can place, described as "Australian-ish" by Karla, I downloaded the male Australian voice that Apple makes available.

It sounds surprisingly like George.

It also can't pronounce Sheriff Rosewalt's name to save it's electronic life.  It comes out "Sheriff Fozzywig" or something like that.  Even when I use the Voice Utility to give it hints.  (This is not something George has a problem with. )

It is fun to listen to the text in a voice that sounds a little more like the character in my head. (Now if I could only find a proper upper midwest accent for Karla and most of the other characters...)  It also is useful in reminding me of the vowels when George starts sounding a little too "RP."  (Which he is wont to do.  His accent is actually an "acquired" accent.)


See you in the funny papers.

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