Lately I’ve been exploring a few podcast and text-to-speech services. I’ve found an interesting combination of services that let me make my posts listen-able and downloadable — even set them up to be part of your regular podcast scrape.
This is a great way to review your favorite blogger, when you’re not able to have your computer with you (on the morning commute, bus, walking..etc), or you need to convert written posts into spoken ones for people with visual impairments or other accessibility issues.
First, sign up for accounts either at Odiogo.com or talkr.com. Both take RSS feeds of your blog and create mp3 / podcast files with your blog content being read by an artificially generated voice. Your quality and accuracy may vary, depending on the type of writing you do. Highly technical words may be completely massacred, but by having both services available, you’ll increase the chance that your post will be read properly, by at least one of the services.
Then, sign up for an account at PodNova.com. PodNova is an online podcast aggregation service, which allows you to release your podcast subscriptions from any single computer and keep it accessible on any computer with Internet access.
It also manages your podcast master subscription list, so you really only have to subscribe to the PodNova feed, and all your podcasts will be downloaded by your podcatcher of choice (Juice, iTunes..etc).
You can also listen to individual podcasts through the PodNova subscriptions page. That’s the option I’m using to provide audio to my blog.
What I’ve done is use PodNova to subscribe to both Talkr and Odiogo feeds, and link to the feed pages here:
Now, using those links, you can access my recent blog posts and listen to them at your workstation, or through your media player of choice.
I’ve also added buttons to my sidebar, though, weirdly, talkr doesn’t have an html page that displays all the the posts in my feed; they assume you’re going to use an RSS reader only. Either I can’t find it or they’re missing the boat on that one, so in my sidebar buttons, I’m linking back to the PodNova Talkr page for my posts. Klunky but it works.
Now, this doesn’t work well for every post. I have a couple of link lists that would just be silly when they’re converted to audio, but for longer, text based posts (like this one), making the audio available simply means that the post could be read, and now heard, by more people.
So, have you listened to any of my posts? What do you think? How’s the quality and pronunciation? Does it fit with your regular podcast listening routine?