Alex: The overlooked new Feature for Leopard

Discussion in 'macOS' started by adjei7, Jan 13, 2008.

?

Who uses text to speach (Leopard or not)

  1. I do

    23 vote(s)
    33.3%
  2. I don't

    36 vote(s)
    52.2%
  3. Text to what?

    10 vote(s)
    14.5%
  1. adjei7 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    #1
    OK I guess it's not really a new feature, but more of an improvement for an existing feature. Do any of you guys use text to speech? If you did before leopard, then you would know that the available voices sound like total idiots. Alex, the "New voice for Leopard" as he describes himself, is a more advanced speech engine than the other voices, and much more true to life as a result.

    As a Social Sciences grad student, I have to do a ridiculously insane amount of reading, and having a digital copy has now become a bonus, cos I can get the new Alex to read it though the not new text to speech feature.

    For those that don't know how:
    -System preferences pane
    -Speech (in the system section)
    -go through the system voices (alex only on Leopard, but others are there)
    -select "speak selected text when the key is pressed" and chose whatever combo.
    -highlight any text pretty much anywhere (internet browser, text doc, etc etc) and press chosen key combo
    -enjoy intelligible and coherent voice read your work for you.

    I've just had Alex read my lectures notes on the intro to Emile by Rousseau for philosophy of ed. Would have been torture without it.

    So how many of you guys use it, or don't?

    P.S. Don't tell me, I noticed I have spelt speech wrong in the poll.
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
  3. sunfast macrumors 68020

    sunfast

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    Location:
    London
    #3
    I've never used it to be honest because I can't think of a situation that it would be useful for me.

    Other than making it insult people which is what I used to make Microsoft Sam do.
     
  4. johny5 macrumors 6502a

    johny5

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    you can "speed" them up cant you? ;)
     
  5. adjei7 thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2007
    #5
    Yea you can speed it up. The same window you choose the voice in, in the settings, is where you can change the speed.
     
  6. samh004 macrumors 68020

    samh004

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #6
    It's cool to show off for a few minutes to friends or for fun yourself, but after that it's not as useful as my eyes.
     
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #7


    I still find it quicker to read for myself though.
     
  8. Pendora macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2007
    Location:
    Netherlands
    #8
    Alex is usefull but only with English text. If you take a (for me) Dutch text, it is funny to listen to but completely unusefull.
    This is the same problem with speech reconation software. Mostly it is only usefull for English speaking people and not for the rest of the world.
     
  9. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #9
    Spoken text is great for proof reading. There are a lot if mistakes you can make in your writing that your brain won't even detect when proof reading with your eyes, but which become super obvious when you hear the text spoken.

    Check it out.

    New music night!
    Meet us at the
    the supper club!
    7:00 pm sharp.
    Be there or be square.

    - did you immediately see the typo?

    Especially grammar mistakes, they look fine when you proof read them in your head, but when you hear them spoken it's obvious that there's a mistake.
     
  10. BornAgainMac macrumors 603

    BornAgainMac

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2004
    Location:
    Florida Resident
    #10
    I like the quality but I would have liked a high quality woman's voice.
     
  11. Karvel macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2007
    Location:
    England
    #11
    I get it to read BBC News articles sometimes and it sounds awful.
     
  12. AdeFowler macrumors 68020

    AdeFowler

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    Location:
    England
    #12
    I bought Cepstral Millie (British) instead, and a damn fine woman she is too ;)
     
  13. johny5 macrumors 6502a

    johny5

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2007
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    I have to agree, I find if someone is reading something to me it doesn't stick in but if I read it myself, I have more of a chance remembering it at a later date.
    Been 36, I am on a slippery slope to forgetfulness! :D
     
  14. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #14
    TTS has been there for many years, in OSes, in individual softwares,, etc. there is a reason why its still not being widely used. Because it is not that convenient for most people.
     
  15. davidjearly macrumors 68020

    davidjearly

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2006
    Location:
    Glasgow, Scotland
    #15
    Ha! And I thought I was the only one! It was the only fun thing I remember about being a Windows user.

    Thanks for the nostalgic moment.
     
  16. mrwizardno2 macrumors 6502a

    mrwizardno2

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2007
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    #16
    I used to SSH into my mac mini from work and yell at my roommate with it. It's no wonder she hated me! hehehe.

    You can make it talk from the command line, just type say "whatever you want"
     
  17. webgoat macrumors 6502a

    webgoat

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #17
    i use terminal say command to have alex talk... for no real purpose though... but it is fun just to type say followed by anything you want and hear your mac talk it out
     
  18. pjrobertson macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2007
    #18
    I use Alex to read out things like emails to everybody in the room.
    I used Acapela's British voices, and they were quite good....until the demo ran out :p
     
  19. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    #19
    I converted some short stories from http://www.scifi.com/scifiction/archive.html to speech using the Alex voice and loaded them on my iPhone for my commute. It's generally pretty good although unusual names and words get mangled.

    It's fun to it the first time when you have little kids - ssh'ing from the office into the Mini in the family room and getting Alex to say "We have to leave. Get your shoes on now!" resulted in shrieks and "daddy, we hear a man" followed by requests to make it say more, in particular potty talk - "daddy, make it say stinky butt".
     
  20. Aniej macrumors 68000

    Aniej

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2006
    #20
    Nice post. I like to use it when I am busy with another project, typically one that requires little concentration, but is time consuming. It is great to read out a collection of emails or documents, if i need to think about them in more depth, then I go back and read them myself, but this is great for vetting the important from not so important.
     
  21. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2001
    Location:
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    #21
    Man, if Alex had been around a year or so earlier it would have significantly improved my quality of life, no exaggeration at all.

    See, as a result of a throat disorder, I was literally using my Mac to talk for me (got a laptop specifically for that purpose) for about a year. Bruce did a sufficient job, and I was too broke to fork out for Cepstral's better voices, but my wife would have loved to have me sounding like Alex instead (not being a native English speaker, he's far easier to understand among other things).

    I can't really complain that I don't need it anymore, though.

    Too bad Apple doesn't include any other languages in the TTS subsystem. I'd like Japanese, personally, which is comparatively easy to do given the syllabic and lightly-accented nature of the language.


    Incidentally, are there any decent talk-for-me apps available? I found a couple of functional old ones on VT, but ended up cobbling together my own with the dev tools since none behaved the way I wanted.
     
  22. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    #22
    You should check out the company that did Steven Hawking's new voice. It's great, they've got english, korean, japanese, and chinese. It'll do a free sample for you, but you can only get it for windows (dang). Pentax Neospeech. It's really fun to mess with :D
     
  23. someone28624 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2007
    Location:
    Buffalo
  24. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #24
    NO WHERE'S THE ****ING TYPO ****KK11KI1K1K1
     
  25. bc008 macrumors 68000

    bc008

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Location:
    Michigan
    #25
    thanks for pointing out "alex" for me
    finally my on the our time announcements dont sound so weird, or maybe they sound even weirder now that its like a real human.

    oh well..
     

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