The Waiting Future

Some programs are just waiting to happen. I have a dream application involving the GP and text to speech. One aspect could and should be developed now.

Project Gutenberg can be reached here. It of course features gazillions of free literature, mainly in text form.

A sister project is Librivox. It features spoken word.

Why not combine them? Picture this: You are reading a text and listening to it at the same time — the text scrolls automatically as you read.

I don’t think this would be a terribly difficult programming task. Then, all text becomes a multimedia experience.

You can get an idea what this would be like by going to the Nextup site and downloading a demo copy of TextAloud, a text-to-speech program — in other words, a computer-generated voice reads text to you while the text scrolls.

The difference is that the Gutenberg/Librivox combo would feature human readers. Now, I’m a big fan of computer voices (though the first step is not to use free voices, but buy good ones, such as Samantha or Heather), but many readers would prefer humans.

I am convinced that the combination of voices with scrolling text can create a secondary cultural explosion. Imagine yourself sitting with your portable media device while listening and reading. And the next step beyond that will be incorporating other multimedia into the reading experience, such as pictures and music. But Gutenberg + Librivox could take a big step in the near future. Maybe they are already planning it. They should be.



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