Earlier this year, I was honoured to be chosen by Chris Shipley to be a mentor to some startups at Innovate!Europe. I worked with some excellent fellow mentors and met a whole bunch of innovators during the event. One of the companies was Sweden’s ReadSpeaker.
Well, it’s now turned up as the engine behind International Herald Tribune’s news podcasts. Text to speech really, but made easy to stream or download to an iPod or whatever.
The job is done automatically, so you get an English (well, I did – maybe it depends on the subscriber’s country) voice reading the news with curious intonation. It seems to guess at where the voice should rise, fall and stress and, a lot of the time, gets it wrong. But that’s computers for you. Quite brainless really, compared with humans.
However, if you want to enjoy the news on your daily commute, you can subscribe to the newspaper departments of interest, jump in the car, bus, train or aeroplane and arrive at your destination all newsed up.
(Disclosure 1: I sold International Herald Tribune and New York Times International on the streets of Paris in 1965.)
(Disclosure 2: While true, the previous disclosure was meant light-heartedly.)