Outpost516 Journal

Blog Audio: Odiogo, FeedForAll, and TextAloud

iTunes decreases my blog consumption

After all this time, I'm finally blogging again. I think the issue has been the lack of time (other things are more important?) and the lack of motivation (i.e., burning desire).

Oddly enough, I think podcasts have taken me away from blogging. Since I no longer use NewsGator and FeedStation to download podcasts (I use iTunes instead), I spend less time in my news aggregator. Oh, I still consume blogs, and I think that they're still a great innovation, but I'm not using them like I used to.

A twist on blog consumption: Text-to-Speech conversion

One new product that puts a twist on consuming blogs is Odiogo. It's software that will "audify" RSS content to create MP3 audio consumable by your media player or portable audio device.

This is similar in concept to a combination of products I saw a while back: mixing FeedForAll, an RSS publisher, with TextAloud from NextUp.com. This combo allows you to create a "podcast" version of your blog. TextAloud also has other uses for text-to-speech conversion as a stand-alone product.

Odiogo, on the other hand, combines an RSS aggregator with a text-to-speech converter in one product. The price is fairly accessible at $29.99. I may try it. There are some sample audio clips of Odiogo available.

One thing I noticed is that Odiogo seems to offer only one voice (male). TextAloud, on the other hand, offers multiple voice options with a range of sampling rates from vendors including AT&T (Natural Voices), NeoSpeech, Cepstral, and ScanSoft (RealSpeak). TextAloud comes only in a Windows version and costs $29.95.

FeedForAll costs $39.95 and is available for Windows and Mac. They have an interesting set of partners offering complimentary products related to RSS feed consumption, RSS-friendly web hosting, and podcast creation.

Conclusion

I may try the audio blog content option. Unfortunately, most of my podcast solutions involve a lot of manual labor to put it onto my player (my Palm Zire 72 with an SD card). The other downside is that the text-to-speech output can sound somewhat bland, causing me to zone out instead of actively listening. I'll put it on my Someday/Maybe list (GTD).

Yoda says...Enjoy It You Must

This Weight Watcher's Smart Ones meal not only instructs you on how to prepare it, it also tells you to "enjoy" it.

As if I would enjoy it more because they told me to, or that I would enjoy it in spite of its taste because they commanded it.

What Happened?

Ian's Messy Desk posts this quote by Casey Stengel:

Some people make things happen, some people watch things happen, and some ask what happened.

Ian's site has a very cool graphical layout--something I miss when I convert to "all RSS, all-the-time" blog reading.

My visual layout here is very basic. It's one of the pre-packaged themes that comes with Radio Userland. One of the things I that fall very low on my priority list is a custom redesign of this blog. Oh, well, it is what it is.

I'm back, and who cares?

Sorry, folks. Long dry spell. I don't blame anyone for leaving permanently. I don't even check my referrer log regularly anymore. I mean, who cares if someone from Google accidentally stumbled across looking for something that you know they didn't find on your page. Just look at the query and you can tell.

I get the "disadvantage of email" one a lot. I wrote a post about the disadvantage of posting via Radio's email-to-weblog feature. I don't even remember what I said about it, but that one gets a lot of hits.

I've been consolidating my blogs, well, mentally at least. All of that has been cooking around in my brain for some months, but I've been unable or even unmotivated to bother with it. I'm letting several of my domain registrations lapse. Just too many good intentions. That's what I can say about my life in general. I need to really reflect and find a way to focus on living a richer life, not a "fuller" one. Yes, I mean "fuller" in the way you feel after Thanksgiving dinner--too full--stuffed. And I've been one stuffed turkey!

I appreciate those who bothered to blogroll or link me so many moons ago when I was prolific (but not profound). Here are a few that I can name:

That's all for now. Shouldn't I feel better?

Hummers and Armored Cars

I realized today what some of the appeal of the new H2 Hummers might be.  I momentarily mistook an armored car behind me for a Hummer today.  After realizing the true nature of the vehicle, I surmised that there might be something subconsciously comforting to today's SUV driver.  Power, stability, security.  And you don't have to worry about being hijacked for the cash on board.  Odds are that you've already spent your money on the car payment.

Techniques for Expressing Frustration?

Looking back through my journal entries, I notice several instances, over a span of three or four years, where I record a desire to better express myself and not hold emotions and feelings in.  Sad to say, I often found that those unexpressed feelings were ones of frustration, disatisfaction, and unfulfillment.

The big question seems to be: How can you express feelings like that effectively to either friends (who tire of hearing about them) or people who are the object of your frustration?  I'm not great at conflict, so this makes it tough.

It's certainly not healthy, but it's very typical of my lifestyle to bottle up feelings.  Blogging and journaling have been an outlet for that expressing myself, but to an unknown, unseen audience.

The Posts that Never Were - or - Blogging, Interrupted

I'm having trouble completing an entire blog post.  In my absent-mindedness and inattention, I often start a thought stream/blog post, only to abandon it after losing interest or being interrupted.

I really blog much more than you see on this weblog.  I keep a personal journal in an application called TreePad Business Edition.  This application is a stopgap until I can complete my planned personal knowledge management application.  I record web pages that represent my current learning and observation interests at any given point in time.  However, only a small percentage of those recordings ever make it to the web for sharing or comments.  They usually languish in my TreePad file, lacking the integration that I often ponder.

I very often post things to a custom category (my "scratchpad") that I keep just for posting trivial items that would otherwise dilute the weblog.  I don't want to crowd my weblog so much that first-time visitors get the wrong impression of my interests.  Usually my traffic comes from search engines, so this might make it unlikely that the reader would seek out an about page, even if I did put one up (if I could ever get around to it).

The thing about weblogs being updated so often, is that no consistent message (profound or not) sticks around for very long.  New posts (many times trivial) bump the personally profound posts that I would actually like people to read.  I'm considering several ways of restructuring my blog so that people are more likely to read items I personally want to emphasize.  I'm not clamoring for an audience, I just want to show my "best work."

So, please don't think that I am a lazy blogger.  I have much to say.  It's just hard to post sometimes.

Amen and Ouch both

Words to live by:

Paul brings the church back to reality by reminding them that Paul and Apollos are merely servants of the Lord who are fulfilling their responsibilities of Christian service. Paul was the planter and Apollos was the one who watered. Then Paul declares that God is the one who gives the growth. Resoundingly Paul trumpets the truth in verse 7: "I am nothing and Apollos is nothing. God is everything! He is the one who brings the growth!"

It might be wise for every minister and every layperson to daily read these words and be reminded who is in charge.

We are nothing, and God is everything. This work of the church is not about me; it's all about God and His Kingdom. My focus should be upon serving King Jesus. In order to do this successfully, I am going to have to get myself off the throne so that Christ may be glorified.

Keyboard in the Lap -- Yuck!

Microsoft's iLoo Project A Hoax. minesweeper writes "It appears that the 'iLoo,' a portable toilet with Internet access designed by Microsoft, was actually just a hoax issued by its MSN ... [Slashdot]

Yeah, as soon as I followed the diagram link and saw the spec for a wireless keyboard that could be used in the "user's" lap, I was aghast.

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