Saturday, November 27, 2010

Become a Fan of TextAloud Text to Speech, and You Could Win an iPod Touch

From: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/11/prweb4825084.htm

NextUp.com announces iPod Touch Prize Drawing for newsletter subscribers and Facebook fans to celebrate launch of TextAloud 3.

Clemmons, NC (PRWEB) November 23, 2010

Because of its ability to empower PC users to export almost any text into natural-sounding speech, Text to Speech software program TextAloud from NextUp.com (http://www.nextup.com) is a popular resource for mobile technology users -- and it's now giving away one of the most popular digital mobile devices on the market! NextUp.com is celebrating its latest update of TextAloud 3 with a prize drawing for newsletter subscribers and Facebook fans: a coveted iPod touch (R)!

"TextAloud has always been popular with users of mobile devices, enabling them to listen to their text anywhere, from the gym to the freeway, and beyond," comments NextUp President Rick Ellis. "With the release of TextAloud 3, it's easier than ever for Windows PC users to create audio files for listening on their iPods. The iPod Touch (R) is therefore the perfect giveaway, as one of the most popular mobile digital devices available today, and will be a great way for one lucky prize winner to take their reading on the go."

Entering the prize drawing is easy: Users simply need to note their favorite features of the new release of TextAloud 3 in a brief e-mail, and join the TextAloud 3 newsletter mailing list by e-mailing "newsletterdrawing[at]NextUp.com." Facebook users can also enter by becoming a fan of (or "liking") TextAloud 3's official Facebook Page and noting their favorite features via Facebook post, at http://www.Facebook.com/TextAloud. Please note that only one entry per Facebook fan or newsletter subscriber will be accepted, equaling a maximum of two chances for entry. The contest is available for entry now, and will run through December 31, 2010.

About TextAloud 3:
With a completely new interface including more personalization options than ever before, TextAloud 3 is the latest update to TextAloud, the highly useful PC program for students, scientists, writers, business people, students and people from all walks of life. TextAloud enables anyone to experience their reading by listening, and has been featured in The New York Times, PC Magazine, Writer's Digest, on CNN, and more.

Hailed by critics and users alike, TextAloud is priced from $29.95. System requirements include almost any version of Windows (R) (from 98 to Me, NT, 2000, XP or Vista), as well as a minimum of 64 MB of RAM, 10 MB of disk space, and a sound card. TextAloud can even be listened to on TV, using TiVo's (R) Home Media Option, and works seamlessly with iTunes (R), for easy synchronizing with iPod (R), iPhone (R), or other iTunes (R)-compatible portable audio players. Best of all, unlike prohibitively priced gadgets or eReaders, TextAloud doesn't require special hardware of any kind. Become a fan at http://www.Facebook.com/TextAloud, or try the program today, via a fast, safe and secure preview and purchase at http://www.NextUp.com.

NextUp.com also offers TextAloud with optional Premium Voices from Nuance RealSpeak (TM), AT&T Natural Voices (TM), Acapela (R) and Cepstral (R) for the most natural-sounding computer speech anywhere. Available languages include U.S. English, U.K. English, Indian-Accent English, Scottish-Accent English, Arabic, Basque, Catalan, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Belgian Dutch, Faroese, Finnish, French, Canadian French, German, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Castilian (European) Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, and Turkish.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

There are now text-to-speech programs that

From: http://www.knubbel.info/?p=1323

There are now text-to-speech programs that do an adequate job of creating an audio file that you can listen to on your iPod or other MP3 player. This opens up a lot of new possibilities. You can:

–Type up notes of books so you can focus only on the most important points (or have an assistant type up the notes for you).

–Listen to memos from work

–Convert books in the public domain (that are already in an electronic text file format)

The only limit is your imagination.

At my website, http://www.poweraffirmations.com, I have posted a few free audio files you may find helpful using text-to-speech software. One file is James Allen’s classic work “As a Man Thinketh” (in the public domain).

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Teacher and Fire Chief Blazes Through Educational Goals with TextAloud

From: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/08/prweb4446024.htm

Clemmons, NC (PRWEB) August 31, 2010

Three years ago, Battalion Chief Tom Brown turned to TextAloud Text to Speech to assist him in his work for the Jacksonville Fire/Rescue Department. The software from NextUp.com proved especially invaluable to Tom in his continuing studies, which were challenging to maintain on top of a demanding job as a Battalion Chief and teacher himself. Years later, Tom is still using TextAloud, and in more ways than ever.

The popular Text to Speech software program that enables PC users to experience their reading by listening, TextAloud provides a useful and ingenious alternative. Priced from just $29.95, TextAloud is state of the art TTS that's easy to use, turning almost any text file format into spoken audio--from websites, articles and e-mails, to eBooks, word processing documents, PDFs, or even (as Tom does) from PowerPoint presentations. In just a few mouse clicks, TextAloud then seamlessly exports that text into popular audio file formats which can be played via MP3 player, iPhone (R), car stereo, or computer.

Tom originally turned to TextAloud while studying for a vital promotional exam in the fire department. TextAloud proved invaluable in his studies, allowing him to listen to his materials and absorb them anywhere, even while mowing the lawn! The software ultimately enabled him to not just pass his promotional exam, but to tie for the top spot, and it proved so useful that Tom has continued to work with the software in the years to follow.

Tom recently achieved a major milestone, completing his Bachelor's degree in Public Administration, and TextAloud, as with his promotional exam studies, was a key component in his study success. "While pursuing my Bachelor's degree, I would use TextAloud to convert notes and PowerPoint slides into audio files," Tom explains, and it's a routine he plans to continue in the Fall as he continues his studies in pursuit of a Master's in Public Administration. The software's ability to convert written text into audio files for school and promotional exams helped Tom, as well as many of his classmates and coworkers achieve higher marks and greater success in their studies.

As he has continued to use TextAloud, Tom explored new ways to make the software even more productive. He has created a routine in which he chooses the text to export, then previews all of the prospective audio versions before saving the file, in order to catch abbreviations or acronyms. He also continues to enjoy the ability to change voices within projects with ease. "The ability to change voices to emphasize a particular topic remains a very valuable feature," he comments. "This voice change functions as a highlight in the information, causing the listener to perk up and pay particular attention, bringing the proper emphasis to the selected text."

Once he saves the file to audio format, Tom either burns it to CD, or copies for listening on his Phillips portable MP3 player. While he finds the program highly useful for listening on the go, in the gym, and in the car, it has also taught him to value the ability to reinforce study input by listening at the same time as reading visually. "Anyone with access to electronic versions of the text they are reading can use the program in support of their reading," he adds, "getting double the input through both sight and sound."

TextAloud has become an important asset to Tom's friends, coworkers and family as well. One friend who was studying for a Lieutenant's exam began to use TextAloud in his studies, and "I know of several others I've introduced to the software who download the text onto iPods, and who have done well on their promotional exams, too," adds Tom. "My wife likes being able to use the optional Spanish voices, meanwhile, to assist her in Spanish class."

TextAloud continues to play a key part in the success of Tom's many roles as a student, Lead Instructor, Battalion Chief, Paramedic Primary Education instructor, and more. "The program has allowed me to use study time which would just not have been available without TextAloud."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet 'the other woman' who is always telling you where to go

From: http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/cartech/meet-the-other-woman-who-is-always-telling-you-where-to-go-20100814-123zn.html

Garry Maddox
August 14, 2010

Could drivers be finding in their GPS units something more than just their way home? Are American Jill or Espanol Paulina becoming ''the other woman'' for harried males who spend hours each day on the road? Are women driving to work fantasising about an evening with Irish Sean?

Karen Jacobsen, a little-known singer known as ''Australian Karen'' in millions of TomToms, NavMans and other GPS units around the world, learnt a couple of years ago that she had an underground fan club of smitten drivers.

''I started to be contacted by people thanking me for getting them through a dark lonely road in Italy or being lost in the Black Forest in Germany or around Los Angeles on the freeways or taking them to school and back,'' Ms Jacobsen said. ''It's increased to the point where I've realised people really do have an intimate relationship with the voice in their GPS system.''

The American writer Bruce Feiler wondered in The New York Times recently whether the GPS unit was rewriting the rules of male-female relationships after confessing that he had fallen for the automated voice that had ''guided me effortlessly through the maze of freeways and road rage like a graceful hostess - unflappable, efficient and with just enough sex appeal to give some sizzle to my protracted absence from my wife''.

He quickly realised he was not alone. ''At sites like gpspassion.com and pdastreet.com, the number of lewd comments about the voices of American Jill or Australian Karen seem more suited to a convention of 900-number [adult entertainment line] users.''

Ms Jacobsen, who has lived in New York for 10 years, is always meeting people who feel they know her already because of her voice. ''They'll want to tell me right away the story of the time we were travelling in this city or that country and what happened,'' she said.

Jacobsen is not surprised that the connection matters to drivers. ''You're on that dark lonely road on your own in the car, you don't know where you are and this voice, even though its coming from a machine, seems like your companion. It's something that you're trusting.''

She believes the voice on the GPS unit can help relationships by stopping arguments between couples about directions.

''They take it out on the third-party GPS. It's kind of like a community service - reducing the amount of angst between couples in the car.''

The chief executive of Relationships Australia NSW, psychologist Anne Hollonds, agrees that GPS units are easing tension on the road between couples by ''outsourcing the navigation role''.

And Ms Hollonds is not surprised that drivers are having an emotional response to the voice.

''The car is actually a very intimate environment,'' she said. ''A lot of people will say they have their most meaningful conversations - with their partner or their kids - in the car. It's like a bubble.''

Ms Jacobsen's new career started when she recorded almost 50 hours of script for a text-to-speech system. Having now achieved a strange kind of fame, she is taking it for a spin.

Her latest CD is called Take A Little Drive. (And, no, it doesn't include lyrics like ''at the next intersection, turn left''.) She also has a personal development podcast called Directions For Life and has shot a pilot for a TV show called Travel the World With the GPS Girl.

''Growing up as a little girl in Mackay in north Queensland, I always wanted my songs - my voice - to be coming out of the car radio,'' Jacobsen said. ''Now, all these years later, my voice is coming out of the GPS.''

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tech Writer Chooses TextAloud to Catch Errors before They Reach the Editor's Desk. Text to Speech program catches the errors most spell-checkers miss

From: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/08/prweb4370324.htm

Clemmons, NC (PRWEB) August 10, 2010

Freelance tech writer Dan Heim works from a home office just North of Phoenix, Arizona, writing for a variety of high-tech clients worldwide from the serenity of the rural desert. With degrees in both Physics as well as Environmental Science, Dan was a teacher of science and math for over 30 years. His work now includes writing for trade journals, testing services, and newspapers, as well as the production of educational materials for math and science teachers, so it is critical that what he provides is free of typos or errors. He accomplishes this goal by proofing his documents by ear, using his computer and TextAloud, from NextUp.com (http://www.NextUp.com).

TextAloud is the popular Text to Speech software program that enables PC users to experience their reading by ear, whether for listening in the gym or during a commute, or simply as a useful alternative to visual reading. Priced from just $29.95, TextAloud is state of the art TTS that is simple to use, turning almost any text file format into spoken audio--from websites, articles and e-mails, to eBooks, word processing documents, and PDFs. TextAloud then seamlessly exports that text into most popular audio file formats, which can then be played via MP3 player, iPhone (R), car stereo, or computer, and listened to anywhere you go!

"I initially purchased TextAloud as a potential 'narrator' for some of my educational animations," Dan comments. "I figured that a synthesized voice might be a cool hook." While experimenting with TextAloud's potential as a narrator, however, Dan soon realized that the software offered other benefits--most significantly, that it was a superb resource for proofing his own work.

"When one writes for a living, proofing is a critical process," he explains. "The spell-check modules built into word processing software programs are a huge benefit, but they are not perfect. If I type 'list' instead of 'lists,' for instance, spell-check misses it, and grammar-checkers are often just plain wrong. So when I would finish an article in the days before TextAloud, I'd just let it 'ferment' for a day or two, and then go back and proof it with fresh eyes to try to catch those errors. However, there were still errors that occasionally slipped through."

Dan began to use TextAloud to proof by ear instead, and the experiment was a success. "The ears simply hear what the eye misses," he comments--especially when it comes to typos. For this reason, TextAloud soon became his routine 'grammar check' proofing assistant. Now Dan no longer has to wait a day or two on proofing--before closing his documents, he simply uses TextAloud to ensure that his work is typo-free. "I just copy, paste and listen," he says, "and those typos immediately pop out." To customize TextAloud's narration and readings, Dan uses the program's easy and convenient pronunciation editor, and he relies on premium voices from AT&T Natural Voices (TM) for most of his readings.

"Ultimately, TextAloud has totally changed the way I proof my writing, with huge savings in time and a better quality end-product," adds Dan. "TextAloud provides me with the feedback that would otherwise come from my editor, and without the embarrassment of a correction."

About TextAloud:
A highly useful PC program for students, scientists, writers, business people, students and people from all walks of life, TextAloud has been featured in The New York Times, PC Magazine, Writer's Digest, on CNN, and more. Hailed by critics and users alike, TextAloud is priced from $29.95, and is compatible with systems using Windows (R) 98, NT, 2000, XP and Vista. TextAloud can even be listened to on TV, using TiVo's (R) Home Media Option, and works seamlessly with iTunes (R), for easy synchronizing with iPod (R), iPhone (R), or other iTunes (R) compatible portable audio players. Best of all, unlike prohibitively priced gadgets or eReaders, TextAloud doesn't require special hardware of any kind. The program is available for fast, safe and secure preview and purchase via http://www.NextUp.com.

NextUp.com also offers TextAloud with optional Premium Voices from Nuance RealSpeak (TM), AT&T Natural Voices (TM), Acapela (R) and Cepstral (R) for the most natural-sounding computer speech anywhere. Available languages include U.S. English, U.K. English, Indian-Accent English, Scottish-Accent English, Arabic, Basque, Catalan, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Belgian Dutch, Faroese, Finnish, French, Canadian French, German, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Castilian (European) Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, and Turkish.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Author Uses TextAloud to Write, Share and Connect

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20100708/bs_prweb/prweb4236704_1;_ylc=X3oDMTEwNzlyaWdiBF9TAzIwMjM4Mjc1MjQEZW1haWxJZAMxMjc4NjExNTA0


Thanks to TextAloud from NextUp.com, author J. Aday Kennedy can listen to e-mails, websites, and even her own writing

Clemmons, NC (PRWEB) July 8, 2010 -- Known as "The Differently-Abled Writer," Texan J. Aday Kennedy is the acclaimed author of inspirational articles and essays, children's books, and more. She is also a legally blind, ventilator-dependent quadriplegic who has overcome her disabilities to find success on her own formidable terms. To help her achieve her goals, she turns to TextAloud Text to Speech software, from NextUp.com (www.nextup.com).

TextAloud is a popular software program, priced from just $29.95, that allows PC users like Kennedy to listen to their reading by ear instead of reading it visually, simply by turning their text files into natural, human-sounding speech. From articles, to eBooks, e-mails, websites, documents, and PDFs, TextAloud exports virtually any written text into spoken audio, and into sound file formats that can be listened to anywhere, via MP3 player, iPhone (R), car stereo, computer, and more.

Like many other users with visual disabilities, Kennedy discovered TextAloud as a valuable assistive resource in lieu of more expensive gadgets or screen readers, and found the program simple, uncluttered, and easy to use. With a history of successful inspirational essays that have included publication in prestigious anthologies like "Chicken Soup for the Soul," Kennedy doesn't let her differently-abled status or physical challenges get in the way of her writing or accomplishments. "TextAloud," she comments, "is the program that has helped me hone my writing skills." Despite her legal blindness, TextAloud enabled Kennedy to listen to her writing class texts in 2006, just as it now helps her to review as many as 200 e-mails per day as a successful author four years later. "As I write, TextAloud enables me to listen to what I've written, and I really like the options of the different voices," she says. "I also have TextAloud read my e-mail, as well as the books I review on my blog."

Kennedy's primary use of TextAloud, however, is in the review process. "I use TextAloud primarily in editing my manuscripts," she explains. "The different voices, and being able to paste into the program any text I want to hear spoken, are the most useful features." She adds that she recommends the software to other writers a few times per month, at least.

Kennedy is also grateful for the software's impartiality. "I'm a legally blind ventilator-dependent quadriplegic," she comments. "So when humans read my work, they can sometimes tend to be too kind and uncritical. TextAloud allows me to be an unbiased critic. It will only read exactly what I've written, and provides me with an objective read."

"Ultimately, the problem with humans is the fact that our brains fill in missing words," she adds. "TextAloud, on the other hand, only reads what is there. I couldn't write without it!"

About TextAloud:
A highly useful PC program for students, scientists, writers, business people, students and people from all walks of life, TextAloud has been featured in The New York Times, PC Magazine, Writer's Digest, on CNN, and more. Hailed by critics and users alike, TextAloud is priced from $29.95, and is compatible with systems using Windows (R) 98, NT, 2000, XP and Vista. TextAloud can even be listened to on TV, using TiVo's (R) Home Media Option, and works seamlessly with iTunes (R), for easy synchronizing with iPod (R), iPhone (R), or other iTunes (R) compatible portable audio players. Best of all, unlike prohibitively priced gadgets or eReaders, TextAloud doesn't require special hardware of any kind. The program is available for fast, safe and secure preview and purchase via http://www.NextUp.com.

NextUp.com also offers TextAloud with optional Premium Voices from Nuance (R), AT&T Natural Voices (TM), Acapela (R) and Cepstral (R) for the most natural-sounding computer speech anywhere. Available languages include U.S. English, U.K. English, Indian-Accent English, Scottish-Accent English, Arabic, Basque, Catalan, Cantonese Chinese, Mandarin Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Belgian Dutch, Faroese, Finnish, French, Canadian French, German, Greek, Hindi, Icelandic, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, Russian, Castilian (European) Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Mexican Spanish, Swedish, Taiwanese, and Turkish.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Actor Finds TextAloud Takes the Drama Out of Learning Lines

From: http://lifestyletom.com/path/rao10925685922ros/roin59012134637

John Greene is an accomplished actor, as well as the Artistic Director for a youth repertory theatre company in Martinez, Georgia. One day, while seeking new and more effective ways to memorize his lines for his role in the local production of Oliver!, he came across TextAloud, the easy to use Text to Speech (TTS) program from NextUp Technologies. The program proved to be exactly what John needed, and aided in his realization that listening actually leads to faster memorization.

"Most actors learn the parts of their fellow performers before they learn their own lines," John comments. "This is because they hear the other performers' lines over and over in rehearsal. By typing and then playing with TextAloud, I am able to hear my lines over and over in a different voice." John also uses the program to give cues as well, where "the ability to use multiple voices is a definite plus."

TextAloud is the easy, affordable Text to Speech software that's priced from just $29.95, and which enables PC computer users everywhere to listen to e-mails, websites, stories, novels, textbooks and more -- and not with toneless, robotic-sounding voices, but instead via natural and enjoyable human-sounding speech. The program provides users with the unique ability to listen to their reading anywhere, either in front of the computer, or on the go, via an iPod (R) or even audio CD -- and using a wide variety of potential Premium Voices, accents and vocal choices.

John has gone on to use TextAloud for many years ever since. "I first bought the program to read e-books," he comments. "I am an aural learner, and listening helps me concentrate and comprehend the written word better." He also uses the program to proof letters, documents, and even scripts for errors. "It's easier to hear the errors that way," he comments, "Because the mind doesn't 'fill in' missing words or mistakes."

John has since used the program in conjunction with his Toshiba laptop for everything from script readings (where he can even assign different voices), to learning lines, cues, and even for sound effects onstage! "I enjoy being able to assign different voices for script readings, and also use TextAloud to read aloud others' diaries on Open Diary while I do other things."

As a part of his routine for years now, TextAloud continues to surprise the actor with its versatility, and has gone from being a great occasional tool, to a "must" when memorizing his lines. From reading complicated documents to e-mails, lines, cues, and more, TextAloud has made John a believer, onstage and off.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

TextAloud Helps Lawyer Keep Order in the Court

From: http://news.yahoo.com/s/prweb/20100525/bs_prweb/prweb4046884_3

Tue May 25, 3:01 am ET
Leading Text to Speech software frees legal professional from long days at the office, and enables him to hear court action anywhere he goes

Clemmons, NC (PRWEB) May 25, 2010 -- Like so many in the legal profession, Joshua Gordon's greatest commodity is time. The Concord, New Hampshire appellate lawyer once spent hours just on the reading associated with his casework alone, but soon discovered TextAloud from NextUp Technologies (http://www.nextup.com) as a useful and valuable alternative to hours of reading by sight each week. Joshua now uses TextAloud as a far more streamlined solution for reading his professional documents, transcripts, long legal memos, and other content. Thanks to TextAloud, he can now do so away from the confines of his office, listening to his materials instead while driving, commuting, or even while working out.

Affordably priced from just $29.95, TextAloud is the easy and popular software program that allows PC users everywhere to listen to their reading, instead, by turning their text files into natural, human-sounding speech. From articles, to eBooks, e-mails, websites, documents, and PDFs, TextAloud exports almost any written text into spoken audio, and into sound file formats that can be listened to anywhere, via MP3 player, iPhone (R), car stereo, computer, and more.

"I tried TextAloud after reading about it in a legal technology newsletter," comments Joshua, who soon discovered that by using TextAloud, his productivity actually increased even while cutting down on his long hours in the office. "TextAloud made me very efficient," he explains. "In my work, I have to review days and days of trial transcripts. Reading these transcripts is extremely tedious, and can take nearly as long as the trial itself. However, by using TextAloud, I can speed up the playback slightly as needed, and get through a day of trial testimony in about an hour and a half. Later, when I have to refer to the transcript for a particular fact, I know just about where to go back to."

Joshua uses TextAloud on his Zen Creative MX, which is an MP3 player model that allows him to utilize bookmarks effectively for his sound files. "This way, I'm able to come back to finish long MP3 files later as required," he comments. The Zen Creative MX is easy for him to navigate, the screen is easy to view, and the MX's ease of use with bookmarks is a huge plus for the busy lawyer (who also uses TextAloud in conjunction with his website http://www.appealslawyer.net).

Like many TextAloud users, Joshua has found tricks and shortcuts that have proven highly useful to him while working with the software. For new users to TextAloud, for instance, Joshua recommends that they "Use the audio tags. I put a shortcut to the audio tags on my toolbar, so that my MP3 player is automatically able to organize my 'reading' on TextAloud." Joshua's easy solution means that he is able to pull up almost any file or topic he needs after only a brief glance at its audio tags.

"TextAloud has become something I use almost every day," comments Joshua. "It is invaluable."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

TextAloud Brings Faith to Life for Listeners

From http://lifestyletom.com/path/rao10925686707ros/roin59012380947

The greatest power of Text to Speech lies in its ability to bring written words into sound -- to entertain, educate, or, as is the case with many users, even to reconnect the listener with his or her faith. When a printed word becomes a spoken one, reading is no longer confined to a chair, but opened up to the world. Through Text to Speech and programs like TextAloud from NextUp Technologies (http://www.Nextup.com), the Bible, Scriptures or other religious works can now be enjoyed anywhere, bringing comfort and inspiration wherever the listener goes.

"By using TextAloud for listening on a PC, laptop, or other portable device, people with failing or poor vision can now listen to their favorite Scripture or other religious passages read by lifelike and enjoyable human voices," comments Rick Ellis, President of NextUp Technologies. "Others find themselves too busy to enjoy their works of faith as often as they would like, so TextAloud allows the printed page to become a rich and meaningful listening experience anywhere." A popular and budget-friendly program, TextAloud's prices start at just $29.95.

Users of TextAloud to enjoy Bible or Scriptural passages include:

Anthony: "At 74 years of age, I have poor eyesight, and discovered TextAloud as a very useful program," he comments. "I now use TextAloud to help teach children how to read the Bible. I am also using it to learn Hebrew and Greek in Holy Scripture study."

William: "I came to TextAloud to see if it would work for church members who were having a hard time seeing to read, and to also see if it could read publications to them, as well. The program was priced right, and performed well."

Eric: "I got TextAloud to read the NIV Student Bible faster and better, and also to get a better understanding of what I was reading. The program was excellent, and very easy to learn, and the AT&T Voices are very nice!"

Joseph: "I got TextAloud for Bible study and lessons. The program is very good, and affordable, as well."

Steven W.: "As a Pastor, I purchased TextAloud with AT&T Natural Voices and was highly pleased. The program is very good, and I also love the integration with Firefox and Internet Explorer."

Winnie: "In a lot of Bible study, most information is only available in printed text. Listening via TextAloud helps me to learn the answers much faster."

In Fall of 2007, in addition, South African missionary Pieter Schutte began using TextAloud Text to Speech to present the Gospel in sound to those with access to modern technology. These users, and many more, quickly embraced the ability of Text to Speech to bring their faiths to them in new ways. TextAloud brings independence and freedom back to the enjoyment of faith-based written works, and to anyone with access to even a basic computer or laptop.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Long Journeys Feel Shorter for Auto Professional Thanks to TextAloud Text to Speech

From http://healthosp.com/archive/jalna35185867o3a/archives94347

In his work for a major car dealership outside of Kansas City, Gene Walker drives the new car trades from the home dealership to other dealerships across the central U.S. Since his trips delivering the cars can be anywhere from three to ten hours per trip, for entertainment on the long commutes Walker turns to TextAloud software from NextUp Technologies (http://www.Nextup.com). With TextAloud Text to Speech (TTS), Walker exports a wide variety of both fiction and nonfiction books into speech files, for listening on the journey, via iPod.

An easy to use and affordable program for transforming text into speech, TextAloud is popular with a variety of users the world over. From commuters and educators, to visually disabled users seeking alternatives to screen readers, learning disabled users, as well as thousands of others seeking to listen to their reading for entertainment, TextAloud has proven a valuable tool for a multitude of uses -- and all at a price starting at just $29.95.

"Using TextAloud, I render to voice all of the books I should have read while in school," comments Walker. "Almost all the classic novels and histories are available as downloads on a myriad of Internet sites. This way, the hours on the Interstate fly by -- and I learn something in the bargain." TextAloud allows him to make a productive use of those long commutes -- time that would otherwise be wasted as idle time, as well as in his other endeavors.

Walker is a retired railroad electrician who previously spent 34 years working for the Santa Fe (later BNSF) Railway. In addition to his work for the dealership, he now spends his time restoring old sports cars and in vintage racing with his local club -- and even there, TextAloud has proven useful. "When I'm working on a car in the garage or traveling to a race, the voices in my head are doing something worthwhile."

Walker discovered TextAloud while searching for something to render some of his books on Astronomy and Cosmology into a voice similar to the computer-simulated voice of Steven Hawking. He found this option with TextAloud -- as well as a wide variety of non-robotic-sounding options that made spoken speech as natural to listen to as a live reading.

Walker has also suffered from glaucoma nearly all of his life, and recently underwent surgeries to remove cataracts. "During the recovery period from my eye surgeries, it was a real joy to be able to continue reading my books and e-mails using TextAloud, and without being dependent on wife or kids for help," he adds.

"The tool I like the most with TextAloud is the ability to change voices in the middle of a text," comments Walker. "For instance, P. G. Wodehouse wrote several stories from different points of view, so the ability to have different voices narrating helps to give me a clearer division of the story."

His other favorite feature is the ease and speed with which TextAloud can render text to speech. "This means I can spend an evening dividing books into chapters, setting up the program the way I want the narrations to sound, and have the finished product on my iPod, ready to go." He likes dividing the book text into chapters for easy reference, as well as for listening. "It's also easier to find where you left off," he adds.

In his listening, Walker uses a first-generation, 20 GB iPod, and even with many books and sound files has been unable to fill the entire thing thus far. "With TextAloud, the voices bring a life to forgotten texts that probably haven't existed since the author died," he adds. "TextAloud has made it possible to continue learning, which is truly the secret of not growing old, no matter how old you may be."

Friday, April 30, 2010

TextAloud Brings Written Words to Life for International Psychologist and Academic

From: http://healthosp.com/archive/jalna35158667o3a/archives95041

To say that Moshe Landsman is a busy academic is a definite understatement. The professional psychologist, who directs a municipal service at a Bedouin Municipality in Southern Israel, also teaches Special Education at a teachers college in Beer Sheva -- as well as teaching Psychology in Prishtina, Kosovo, where he spends one week out of each month in his academic work. To keep up with his almost impossible schedule as well as his truly daunting courseload, Landsman, an avid bicyclist, copes by converting his articles, books, and other teaching materials into spoken audio for listening during his commute, using TextAloud software, from NextUp Technologies (http://www.NextUp.com).

Landsman's discovery of TextAloud heralded a marked change in his daily life and previous routines. The software provided the literal gift of hours into a schedule in which time was his most valuable commodity, and did so in an easy PC program priced from less than $30 ($29.95 USD). The program, which he sampled in its trial version before moving on to purchase the full version almost immediately, suddenly enabled him to make use of the bicycling time he so enjoyed, while also directly adding to his invaluable and scarce 'reading' schedule several additional hours per week for absorbing articles, teaching materials, and more, by ear. Once he had installed the TextAloud program, he was now able to simply download what he required. He then used the program to easily and flexibly export the materials to text files as needed, and then to 'speak' the material to ensuing voice files, which were easily exportable to his iPod, computer, CD, or a variety of other portable devices (even iPhones, and more).

"I convert articles and books that I download through various databases and listen to them while riding to work," comments Moshe. "Using TextAloud, I convert the files to audio and listen on my MP3 player. It keeps me really up to date, and to some extent I can even prepare material for classes that way, as well."

Landsman discovered TextAloud thanks to a recent magazine article, and decided to try out the program's free trial, in hopes that he would open up some desperately needed free time. For the busy professor, the best part of his experiment was that the TextAloud program proved to be "one of the few software packages I have encountered that actually does what it claims to do," he comments. "I was looking for a way to keep up with the literature -- and am an obsessive reader -- so I am very happy using the auditory channel of input, and it maximizes my time use."

When he first tried the software, Landsman worried that the program's voices would prove to be unlistenable -- too robotic or monotone. "I definitely had the image of metallic, robotic voices at first," he adds, "but this image was rebutted even during the trial version, as well as into my use of the full version with the optional Premium Voices, so it has certainly revolutionized the way I see Text to Speech."

The academic has also discovered that the program offers a multitude of easy and enjoyable features, "such as how to easily start a new article -- or that it copies material for speaking directly to the clipboard as long as TextAloud is running," Landsman adds, "so things go very smoothly." He discovered that the software not only functioned well with a variety of text formats, but was equally adept at translating HTML into speech -- a format he now exports frequently. Landsman now listens to most of his speech files on a generic MP3 player with 4 GB of space, providing him with plenty of room for his articles and other topics for listening while biking or driving.

"Ultimately, TextAloud has really made a profound difference in my life," Landsman comments. "I am sure it has at least doubled the amount of professional literature I can absorb. This makes me a better psychologist and, ultimately, a better professor as well!"

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Speaking for the afflicted

From: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90782/90872/6960741.html

The iPad is being touted as an aid to those who have speech problems as the result of a stroke or other disabilities.

Most people view the iPad as a slick multimedia entertainment platform, but Gregg Vanderheiden, a university professor, sees other potential uses for Apple's new touchscreen device.

"Say you have somebody who's had a stroke, for example, and they wake up and they can't communicate," says Vanderheiden, director of the Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.

"Instead of buying a $5,000 communications aid, you take out your iPad and download an app and - bam! - they can communicate," he says.

The Trace Center helps people who are unable to speak and have disabilities to communicate and Vanderheiden is one of a number of researchers and others excited about the iPad as a relatively low-cost communications tool.

"There's a lot of interest in the iPad," says Karen Sheehan, the executive director of the Alliance for Technology Access, a California-based group that seeks to expand the use of technology by children and adults with disabilities.

Stroke victims, people with spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy or ALS, a paralyzing nerve disease, and children or adults with autism are seen as just some of those who could potentially benefit from the iPad.

"Anyone who's non-verbal and needs a device to speak for them," Sheehan says. "People with Alzheimer's who do better with graphic-based communication boards instead of trying to search for a word.

"People with traumatic brain injury, soldiers coming back from Iraq or people who've been in automobile accidents."

Sheehan says there are a lot of powerful communications devices out there, some very good companies, but they tend to run into the thousands of dollars, which can be prohibitive for a lot of people.

"You can take the iPad and turn it into a communications device very inexpensively," she says.

The cheapest iPad costs $499 and the most expensive $829.

A company called AssistiveWare has already adapted for the iPad a communications application called "Proloquo2Go" it designed for the iPhone and the iPod Touch and is offering it for $189.99 in Apple's App Store.

"Proloquo2Go" allows people who have difficulty speaking to communicate using symbols to represent phrases or by typing in what they want to say and having it converted by text-to-speech technology into a natural sounding voice.

Sheehan says the iPad's large touchscreen makes it potentially more useful to a wider range of people than the iPhone or the iPod Touch.

"They're such a small area and for someone who has limited fine motor, it's hard to hit small icons," she says. "It's easier on the iPad to just click on an icon to say 'I want juice', or 'I want to watch a movie'."

Joanne Castellano, the director of New Jersey-based TechConnection, which provides "assistive technology" solutions to people with disabilities, says the "avid Mac users" in her office are "chomping at the bit" for an iPad.

"They keep asking me 'When are we getting one?'" she says.

"I'm sure we'll get one," Castellano says. "It seems like it would be something very useful to the community that we serve.

"For anybody who has a reading challenge, it's useful because it has a nice feature where it reads books out to you," she says.

Castellano agrees that the touchscreen controls are part of the attraction of the device but says some of the gestures could prove challenging to some. "The way you have to pinch some things with your thumb and your forefinger - that movement might be a problem for some people," she says. "But to turn the page of a book you just have to swipe it so that could be very helpful."

Dan Herlihy of Connective Technology Solutions says he would be adding the iPad shortly to his "treasure chest" of hardware and software tools he uses to address the needs of people with disabilities.

"And I can already think of about half a dozen things I'll run on it," he says, touting its potential use, for example, as an educational device for children with dexterity issues.

"For some kids, it's a lot easier to just put your finger on something and drag it than it is to have to click and drag and drop with a mouse," he says.

The Trace Center's Vanderheiden says the iPad is a "great platform - small, inexpensive, a lot of power, a long battery", but its greatest contribution to the needs of the disabled may be from the applications built for the device.

"They offer the opportunity for just tremendous, unprecedented innovation," he says. "The really key part is that it's a development platform that allows people to be creative. That's where the power comes from."

Source: China Daily/Agencies