Date:         Wed, 28 Feb 2001 06:23:25 +0000
Sender:       The Internet TourBus - A virtual tour of cyberspace
From:         Bob Rankin 
Subject:      TOURBUS - 27 Feb 01 - TextAloud / Free ISP News
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                TOURBUS Volume 6, Number 62 -- 27 Feb 2001
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           TODAY'S TOURBUS TOPIC: TextAloud / Free ISP News
Greetings, fellow riders of the World's Biggest Bus!  Today we're
going to explore the latest developments in text-to-speech and then
we'll see why there may be no such thing as a free Internet service
provider.  Read on...
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TOURBUS is made possible by the kind support of our sponsors. Please
click and visit them -- it really makes a difference!
TextAloud is a cool new program that converts any text into spoken
words or audio files.  TextAloud can speak your email, web pages, word
processor documents, or any text you type.  You can listen right away
or save to MP3 files for play back later.  (TextAloud is Windows
based.  If you know of a Mac equivalent, please let me know!)
   Download TextAloud - 
When I first came across this program, I figured it would suffer from
the same limitations as other text-to-speech programs I've tried --
poor voice quality and limited vocabulary.  But I was very pleasantly
surprised to find that TextAloud uses a natural sounding human voice,
and can pronounce even obscure technical terms. You can even download
a large collection of optional male and female voices.
Aside from being a lot of fun, TextAloud has many practical uses:
  - a user-friendly screen reader for people with impaired vision
  - an easy way to add voices to your website
  - create a personal newscast & download to a portable MP3 player
It's particularly useful for news and sports sites where you can
select information you want to be informed about, but you don't have
time to read everything while you're online.  TextAloud will save all
the articles you select and the read them to you later, while you do
other tasks on your PC or move around the room.  TextAloud is free to
download and use for 20 days.  If you want to keep using the program
after the trial period, there is a $20 registration fee.
I created some short samples of the voice output from TextAloud, in
case you're curious.
   Hear Mary talk - 
   Hear Mike talk - 
   Download a free MP3 player - 
You've got mail.  Oh, and by the way, you may have been assimilated.
If you use Juno's free Internet service, you should be aware of a new
policy the company announced earlier this month.
Juno Online Services has announced the establishment of the Juno
Virtual Supercomputer Project, a distributed computing project that
seeks to "harness the unused processing power" of the computers owned
by subscribers to Juno's free service.  In other words, Juno plans to
use YOUR computer to run "computationally intensive biomedical and
other applications" for the benefit of commercial clients.  You can
read the Juno press release here: 
Under the new terms of service, Juno users must allow the downloading
of software to perform these calculations, must agree to leave their
computer on 24 hours a day if requested, and give Juno permission to
initiate a telephone connection to Juno's central computers at any
This announcement gave the shivers to privacy pundits, who worry that
it may open the door for government investigators to use Juno to gain
access to customers' computers without their knowledge.  Granted,
privacy pundits stay awake nights dreaming up doomsday scenarios.
But if you're a Juno user, you'll have to decide if it's worth saving
a few bucks a month to put up with these new requirements.
You may also want to check out fellow Tourbus rider Joe West's
"Ultimate Guide to Free ISPs" for a huge list of free ISPs around the
world.  It's a very comprehensive and very useful resource, with user
comments, ratings, and answers to frequently asked questions about
free internet access. 
That's all for now, see you next time!  --Bob Rankin
The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2239
Copyright © Bob Rankin and Patrick Crispen - All rights reserved
=====================[ Tourbus Rider Information ]===================
   The Internet Tourbus - U.S. Library of Congress ISSN #1094-2238
     Copyright 1995-2001, Crispen & Rankin - All rights reserved
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TOURBUS - 27 FEB 01 - TextAloud  /  Free ISP News, viruses, hoaxes, urban legends, search engines, cookies, cool sites
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