Odiogo does really cool text-to-speech for blogs

Odiogo takes your written text and turns it down into spoken word.

Here's a neat service for blog owners who want to add another layer of distribution for their content. It's called Odiogo, and it will take any written blog entries and turn them into spoken word. It uses an integrated player that sticks itself on top of every blog post, and lets readers listen to any post in lieu of reading.

I came across the service while reading a post on UNEASYsilence about hacking the new eeePCs to run a hacked version OS X Leopard (which apparently runs about as well as it can on the aged processor), and was treated to a 5-minute computer rendition of step-by-step terminal commands complete with detailed installation instructions. While a bit tedious to listen to after a minute or two (one of several reasons text-to-speech services are still not more widely adopted), Odiogo's digital voice is definitely a step up from the last generation of computer generated speakers.

To actually add the tool to your blog there are plug-ins and bits of JavaScript code site owners can integrate into their blog installation or hosted template. I installed in on a hosted WordPress tester blog in about two minutes and ran into no problems whatsoever. The service was also able to slurp up all 30 or so entries and convert them into spoken text in less than an hour from the time had originally I signed up for the service, which ain't too shabby.

Odiogo will take any text it can pick up from a blog post and crunch it down into spoken words you can listen to right on the blog, or pull down as a podcast to put on your PMP. Odiogo

Once installed, the service will go to work on all of your previously published posts and make new ones available for listening within a few hours. What's more, it'll syndicate all your posts into feeds that can be added to your RSS reader or whatever program you use to pull down podcasts for listening on the go. While it's certainly not as efficient as reading blog posts in Google Reader, you could use the service to listen to your favorite sites on a portable music player while out and about.

Despite its speed and simplicity, the service has a few quirks, not only in the speech department--which still suffers from inflection issues, but also the integrated Flash player. While it's super quick to load and can crunch relatively long posts into small files, there's no volume control slider, so be prepared to turn down your speakers or headphones if you've got your system's volume jacked up.

You can already find Odiogo integrated into several blogs including the aforementioned UNEASYsilence and The Jerusalem Post. To demo the service and find out more about how it works, you can also check out the site's demo page here. Also worth checking out is this handy plugin for Firefox called CLiCK, Speak, which will add text-to-speech on any site you're looking at.

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Software
About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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