Posted in 21st Century Ed, Audio/Video, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Tools

The New Swivl, Crowdfunding & Knowmia

Earlier this week, I came across a video enhancement device called Swivl. The concept is simple. Create a rotating stand that you can put a camera device on, and then provide a sensor that will cause the device to follow you (the presenter) around automatically. The implementation was probably nowhere near as simple. Watching the demo videos was exciting.

Not only will the device follow you as you move about, but the remote sensor also records audio, so the problem of producing quality audio, wirelessly, for your video, as you move about, is solved. There is something captivating about a device that thinks you are important enough to follow your every movement;-) In one of the demo videos, the instructor moves the remote and actually uses it as a pointing device to direct the camera to what is written on the board. The signal from the remote device will also bounce off of reflective surfaces, so even if you turn around and are writing on a board (or pointing to something), the Swivl will continue to track your movements.

The first version of Swivl does not support the iPad or DSLR cameras, but the next gen products are supposed to. There is a “sports mode” that causes the device to track you, even when you are moving more quickly. Think about using this in PE or sports activity analysis.

I wonder if I could use one remote and two Swivl devices to track me with two cameras. The resultant blended video might rival Spielberg.  How about putting your iPad and new Swivl on a tripod and running the “Video Recording Teleprompter 2” app.  Walking around in a circle, while your background changes, talking directly to the camera (while reading from a script) could create an impressive movie.

I do not purport to understand the crowdfunding process, other than investors pay “up front,” have a say in the product development, and reap the rewards of first dibs on the newly released item that hopefully works especially as they would like. *For instance, I noted that the first version used AAA batteries in the remote and base. I immediately thought that I would much rather have a rechargeable battery. I see that the new Swivl will have rechargeable batteries. *The new Swivl footprint is slick and smooth.

While on the Swivl web site, one link directed me to Knowmia. This is a free site for developing and presenting short educational videos. They even have a useful, free, iPad app.

I installed the Knowmia app on my iPad2 and started testing it out. I’ll admit that I finally had to watch the instructional demo, but afterwards using the various functions was much easier. I still am enamored of Prezi for its simplicity and flow, but the Knowmia app does provide some interesting functionality in creating presentations.

Perhaps in later generations of Swivl, they will incorporate a Roomba, and you will be able to move about the house, not just in one room.

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Posted in 21st Century Ed, Audio/Video, Chromebook, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Tools

Chromebook AND iPad Again!

When I first got my Samsung Chromebook, it was new enough that there weren’t any accessories, such as a carrying case, specifically for the Chromebook. I went to a local Office Depot (I think.), and found a Case Logic carrying case for it. About $25.

Both my Chromebook and my iPad can both fit, snuggly, in the same case, at the same time. Maybe a little heavy, but nice to have both, if needed. There is also another zipped pocket for my USB hard drive and a digital camera, and little tripod ($1 at Dollar Tree), and a pair of headphones.

Having both an iPad and a Chromebook provides you with alot of mobile computing capability.  I could view a video while taking notes, or blogging my reactions easily.  I could record video or take pictures with the iPad and push them to YouTube or Flickr, and then create a multi-media posting with text using my Chromebook to “easily” type a detailed article.

I bought this iPad to camera tripod connector from Amazon for about $15.

Here is the iPad connected to the camera tripod ready to take video from the classroom podium.


VRT in action:

The VRT does not work perfectly, but does a pretty good job.  You can paste in a good amount of dialogue (without having to memorize what you are about to say… I would suggest rehearsing a time or two so that you don’t stumble over difficult words or phrases.).

Posted in Audio/Video, Chromebook, Podcasting, Web 2.0 Tools

Recording MP3 Audio from Your Chromebook

One of the first things I did with my Chromebook was to record several “straight to YouTube” videos. I was in my Civic, parked outside a library, using their free WIFI connection, on a holiday weekend. I had no problem recording the videos, except for when the Chromebook started to fall from the dashboard, and I had to catch it.

I wasn’t aware until a few days ago, when I was listening to a Cool Teachers’ Podcast that there wasn’t an audio recording app for the Chromebook. I went looking and found some online services, but then I came across the most amazing site. “Dennie Hoopingarner’s Technology Showcase” http://denniehoopingarner.com/portfolio/ has several examples of his programming skills. The “Flex/Flash” MP3 Recorder is “perfect” for the Chromebook. “Recording and encoding to MP3 are all handled by the Flash file on the client,” so I’m guessing that the memory for the device you are using would be the limiting factor in how large an audio file you could record. *In my initial testing I recorded several short clips, but then did a 5 minutes & a 10 minutes clip. The recording went well. The playback was choppy, but the encoded product played without a problem, and I was able to save the clips to my Chromebook & Windows 7 PC. Since all the processing is on the client-side, there is no need to have a large storage capacity on the server side. It is just serving up some scripting and a Flash file. Once these are loaded on your device, the server goes on to another customer (at least that is how I think it works). **I’m thinking that serving this app from a web page would be useful for faculty & students who need to create short audio clips quickly & easily.

For the 10 minutes recording, it took about 6 minutes to encode it into the MP3 format. I have an Android phone with an MP3 recording app, and that takes about the same amount of time, so 10 minutes to record, and 6 minutes to produce the finished product, which is then saved to your device. *This app also has a “snip” function so that you can remove unwanted segments of your recording, before saving.

So Chrome OS doesn’t use Java, but it does Flash well. Apple doesn’t do Flash, so if you have a combination of iPads and Chromebooks, you’ll have to point them to different apps to create MP3 files.

I sent an email yesterday to Dennie Hoopingarner letting him know how powerful, and useful I thought his MP3 Recorder was, and that it was ideal for Chromebook users. I haven’t heard back from him yet, but hopefully he will work something out to make this app available on the Chrome Web Store (maybe under Educational Apps).

If you look around his web site, you’ll also notice a “Photo Taker” Flash app that also works on a Chromebook, and a Video Recording app.

Experiment #1: microphone to mp3 recorder with flash

http://www.jordansthings.com/blog/?p=5#comment-1338

Not sure who Jordan is, or if he is even interested/focused on this type of app any longer.  But, since there is a need in the Chromebook arena, someone should polish a Chrome plugin that would do this job, like it does.

What does it take to get an app on the Chrome Web Store?  Developer for Chrome Web Store link.

Posted in Chromebook, Podcasting

Video Recording…

I usually like working in the Widows world, but I am currently playing with a Samsung Chromebook, and I have an iPad2. Not sure what triggered my interest in creating videos with my iPad, or Android phone, but I just took another look and this time there appears to be several “low cost” items to look at.

I’m not focused on the video editing software, but such things as an iPad “holder” that attaches to a standard tripod (I’ve got two tripods that are rarely used.), an iPhone/Android smartphone holder that attaches to a standard tripod, and a teleprompter app that works on an iPad/iPhone. *I don’t have an iPhone.

I just came across, and purchased ($2.99 Apple iTunes Store) an iPad/iPhone app called “Video Recording Teleprompter 2” which appears pretty slick in my initial testing. It’s exactly what I was looking for… a teleprompter that scrolls across your iPad screen while the video you are recording plays in the background, either in landscape or portrait modes.  I’ll embed an example that I post on YouTube later.

Here are three items that I have ordered from Amazon.com that I think will help me attach my iPad to my standard tripod and record my videos:

1 “Grifiti Nootle Ipad Tripod Mount (For 2, 3, and 4) with 1/4-20 Thread to Fit Any Standard Head You Already Use”  (http://www.amazon.com/Grifiti-Nootle-Tripod-Standard-Already/dp/B007EICZTU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1359127694&sr=8-1&keywords=Grifiti+Nootle+Ipad+Tripod+Mount )
Personal Computers; $14.98
1 “Videosecu 1/4″ x 20 Threads Swivel Video Camera Mount 2-6 Inch Adjustable Universal Pan Tilt CCTV Camera Mounting Bracket with Ceiling Clip 1BO” (http://www.amazon.com/Videosecu-Threads-Adjustable-Universal-Mounting/dp/B000IDCDZY/ref=pd_bxgy_pc_img_y )
Electronics; $6.99— I liked this “customer review” video which shows exactly what I want to do.  Put the iPad vertically on a tripod, so that I can record “hands free” video.  I don’t know if Apple has a slicker app which includes a teleprompter option with a video recording app… if not, then I would try the same setup as I do with my Chromebook & EasyPrompter.
1 “Case Star Cellphone Smartphone Tripod Mount Holder with Cellphone Bag for iPhone 3G/3GS/4/4G ,iPod Touch ,HTC ,Samsung ,BlackBerry – Black”  (http://www.amazon.com/Cellphone-Smartphone-Tripod-Samsung-BlackBerry/dp/B008BOSOEG/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1359127777&sr=1-1&keywords=Case+Star+Cellphone+Smartphone+Tripod+Mount )
Wireless Phone Accessory; $7.99EasyPrompter (free online teleprompter app)http://www.easyprompter.com/With my Chromebook, and good bandwidth, I can set up my script in EasyPrompter and then go to YouTube and prepare to Upload (Record Live to YouTube).  I start the YouTube recording, and then switch to the EasyPrompter screen and start it.  *Maybe YouTube should offer a teleprompter option from their online recording menu.

Video Lighting Basics

Posted in Books, eMobile, Podcasting

From Blog Text to ODIOGO to USB to My Auto

 

From Blog Text to ODIOGO to USB to My Auto

| MP3 | ODIOGO | USB |

I would consider the first chapter of “Freya of the Seven Isles” by Joseph Conrad as a sizeable amount of text for a blog posting. Imagine being able to post a text item quickly and then have an audio version of the posting available in a matter of minutes.

http://www.online-literature.com/conrad/3131/

Although I have ODIOGO setup on this WordPress blog site, the mp3 transcription of my text is not saved locally. This file resides on a ODIOGO server. However, I have the option to download the mp3 file (to my phone, PC, laptop, Flash drive or via iTunes to an iPod or iPhone) and from there I can play the file in a number of different ways or configurations.

USB Cable or Flash Drive

If you have followed my personal blog, you may recall early on that I wrote about buying $1 USB cables from Dollar Tree and using them for transferring image files from my Cannon camera to my PC or laptop. This cable has a regular USB connector on one end and a mini-USB connector on the other end. When I started playing with my HTC Hero (Android) phone, I found that this same cable could be used to charge my phone, connect as a data cable between phone and PC, and tether a PC/laptop to the Internet via the phone’s 3G connection.

Well, here is yet another use. I recently bought a new car. I am going from a blue & silver 2002 Dodge RAM 1500 truck to a white 2011 Honda Civic. The Civic has a 6-speaker stereo system (and a sun roof). It also has a mini-audio jack and a USB connector. So, I can take the $1 USB cable and hook my phone up to my car stereo system. The system is simple. I can channel through the various folders on my phone and play any mp3 files that the system finds. Plugging in a USB Flash drive gives me the same access to any folders on the drive and any mp3 files.

4GB USB Flash Drive w/ Multisite WordPress
4GB USB Flash Drive w/ Multisite WordPress

Have I mentioned that I’ve been playing with running a multi-site instance of WordPress off of a USB Flash drive, with one purpose being to host Open Source Textbooks (one book for each site)? Recall that not all content (especially audio & video content) needs to be stored locally. As long as the Flash Drive can be hooked up to a laptop or PC that has Internet access, the “large” media files can be stored “in the Cloud.” But, here is where storing the audio files locally, in the WordPress site, on the Flash drive could be useful.

USB Flash Drive Wristband
USB Flash Drive Wristband

 

You don’t even have to create special folders for the audio mp3 files. You just need to name the files appropriately so that it is easy to determine their content. You add the audio files, as you normally would, to the WordPress site and let WordPress put them where it chooses. You will still be able to plug the Flash drive into your car stereo and find the mp3 files for playing as you spend time in your automobile.

While at lunch today, I used the HIFICORDER app on my phone to record a mp3. I didn’t even have to turn my phone on, once I got back to my car. I plugged the phone back into the USB port and turned on the radio and selected the AUX à USB connection. The folders on the phone became visible and I panned through and found the audio I had recorded during lunch.

You could use your Voice Recorder (if it saves files in mp3 format), Cool Teacher podcast from my iPad to car stereo system via USByour smartphone’s storage (any mp3 files), or as shown here, I’ve attached my iPad via USB and the car stereo system sees it as an “ipod” and has the iTunes folders and mp3 files I’ve downloaded… including some “Cool Teacher” podcasts.  I’ve also got a copy of Treasure Island (which I may have converted from the free online text).

NOTE: I know you can connect a Kindle Reader to your PC/laptop in order to download mp3 files to the Reader. My guess is that you could connect the Kindle to the car’s USB connector and play the mp3s from it also.

MP3 Player | Voice Recorder | USB Flash Drive
MP3 Player | Voice Recorder | USB Flash Drive

*Image of student in bathing suit (male or female) with a USB Flash drive on a lanyard around their neck. This replacing a load of textbooks or backpack filled with textbooks. Other ideas for portable flash drives.

USB Drive / Laser Pointer / Executive Pen
USB Drive / Laser Pointer / Executive Pen
Posted in Audio/Video, Podcasting

EasyPrompter – Online Teleprompter Service

I use a 30″ Westinghouse TV for one of my office monitors.  Here is a case where the large screen comes in handy.  I opened the EasyPrompter teleprompter in my browser and pasted in my text.  I then went to the Start Prompter screen.

Then I placed my video camera in front of the 30″ monitor.  There was some re-adjustment necessary, so that it would become less obvious that I was reading instead of just talking impromptu.  I moved the video recording menu to a separate monitor, and then I started my video camera.  I then clicked the play button on the EasyPrompter screen and started to read the text. 

Here is a short example of using the EasyPrompter.com free online teleprompter service.

http://screencast.com/t/WF9mtP8r

And here is the finished YouTube video:

Note: See “Cool Teachers” Podcast, Episode #36 4m11s, for Closed Captioning for YouTube info.  Very easy to upload text transcript and let YouTube determine the timings.

Note: An alternative, but not quite as slick is CuePrompter: http://www.cueprompter.com/

Posted in Podcasting

WordPress for Your Organizational Web Site

 

I was talking with a student, organizational webmaster today about how I would go about putting an organizational web site together easily. You know where I’m going with this… WORDPRESS.COM

Usually one or two students are designated to develop or maintain a web site for their organization. Normally, those students will graduate within a couple of years, and then someone else is tapped for that duty. Often there is no “passing of the baton.” By that I mean, that training someone to “take over the responsibilities” is not high on the list of a student that is about to graduate, or leave the institution for some other reason. So usually, the new designee contacts me asking for access to the organization’s web site. The process is for the organization’s advisor to contact me, by email, letting me know who has been designated as the new web developer and that they have the authority to have access to the site.

In the past, we hosted all or most of the organizational web sites on our own web servers, and the preferred tool of creating and maintaining these sites was MS Frontpage. Several years ago, Microsoft discontinued the product line of Frontpage and produced a more powerful development tool called Expression Web. If you knew Frontpage, then there were similarities in the interface, but there were additional features, in the vein of Dreamweaver.

But, here is the thing for me. The school does not offer a class in using Frontpage, Expression Web or even Dreamweaver. These are all tools that you usually learn on your own, or from a Web guru, who is willing to take the time to teach you how one of these applications work. So, unless you think you are going to become a professional web developer, and since you really don’t want to put the time in to learn how to use one of these tools, which you may only use occasionally, as when web site updates are needed… why not take the “easy” way?

And here’s the “rub.” The easy way, is not only the easiest to learn to use, but it probably also does all that you would want for your organization’s web site. And, if it doesn’t, for a little extra money, you can add the “bells & whistles” that will set your site apart from the others.

The basic site on WordPress.com is free. Oops! Did a car go by and distract you? I said, “FREE.”

You go to “wordpress.com” and create a “free” account. This takes about a minute, because they only ask your name and a valid email address. The free account gives you 3 GB of space to start creating a site (or multiple sites, until you fill up the 3 GB of space).

The “bells & whistles” are normally called “plugins” and “widgets,” and they are not available in the basic “free” version of WordPress.com. *You might want to look into a hosted “WordPress” site, where for an annual fee, they will let you run WordPress and give you access to the “backend,” where you can add plugins and widgets (many of which are free also) to your site and have some really neat things going on, on your site.

What can you do for free? Well, you can use the WordPress dashboard (menu system for maintaining the site), which looks much like MS Word, for creating “postings” or “pages.” That is easy enough, but you can also set your free site up so that you can publish directly from MS Word 2007 or higher.

Most of you are fairly adept at using MS Word to create documents. You might even insert a picture to illustrate what you are writing about. The Word image editor makes it easy for you to add a border to your image, add a dropshadow, tilt or skew the picture, etc. Also, you might even know how to change fonts for emphasis. There are probably thousands of “free” “Truetype” fonts available on the Web. You can easily add these to your laptop or PC. Here are a few examples so that you can get the idea of why you might want to use a different font in your postings:

CAR WASH


No vehicle too big!


Fund Raiser

OUR
PRODUCTION


TONIGHT AT 8 PM

You get the idea. Go to http://BING.COM to get free clipart and images. You just type in a word or phrase that might illustrate your message, and Microsoft gives you a bunch of items to choose from. Copy and paste in your Word document. Go to http://www.1001freefonts.com/ to browse through a bunch of free Truetype fonts.

So, if you know how to create a good looking poster using MS Word, you can create a good looking posting on your WordPress.com site.

I want to add MP3s (audio) to the site. Well, the free version of WordPress.com does not allow you to upload mp3 files, but, for about $25 a year, you get +5 GB of additional space (3 GB free + 5 GB additional = 8 GB total)and the ability to upload a bunch of mp3 files. *Here is something that you can do currently on your free site. They allow you to set up your site so that you can call a WordPress.com phone number and enter a key code. You then start talking (I guess you could sing, if you wanted to.) and when you hang up the phone, an audio “podcast” is automatically created on your site. When you visit your site, you can click on the mp3 audio player and hear whatever you’ve recorded via the phone.

Audacity is free software for creating or manipulating mp3 audio files. If you have a microphone, you can start creating mp3 audio files easily with Audacity ( http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ ).

If you are familiar with Flickr or Picasa, you can upload quite a few pictures or images, for free, and then post them in your WordPress.com site.

You can upload short videos to YouTube and embed the code in your WordPress.com site.

Oh, I haven’t mentioned it yet, but you can also publish to your WordPress.com site via email. Don’t think, “just text.” If you have a smartphone, one with a camera, and you can afford the data plan so that you can send email, images, even audio & video if you can produce it on your phone, then you can create a posting for your site from wherever you have bars.

*I’ve published a posting with images, audio and even a Google Maps location link, from the top of a mountain in one of our State Parks, from restaurants, and even recorded video as I travelled down I95. I’m not sure if that qualifies as “texting,” but if not, it should… and sent the posting via email from my phone.

You can change the “look & feel” of your WordPress.com site quickly and easily. The look and feel is called a “theme.” A theme is different from your content. Your content is the text, images, audio, video, PDFs, PowerPoints, etc. that you add, but the theme is the “look & feel” that surrounds your content. And, you can literally change this in seconds. You look through a gallery of different themes and select one. You can even preview how your content would look with that theme. If you don’t like that theme, select another one. Once you activate the new theme, the next person that visits your site gets your content surrounded by the new theme.

Okay, so that’s an extended “brief” introduction on why I think using WordPress.com would be perfect for your organization’s web site.

NOTE: This posting was created in MS Word 2007, with images from Bing.com.

 

Posted in Audio/Video, Blackboard, eMobile, Podcasting

When Cutting Edge Doesn’t Have to Draw Blood… Going eMobile.

The Disclaimer: ITTS does not currently endorse, sanction nor support the services or software applications (other than Blackboard and Word 2007) listed in this article.  But, I have found most of them user friendly and effective.  — Bill


Education + Smart Phone = eMobile

Sometimes you have to “step outside of the box,” in order to move ahead. For many of us, the online education “box” is the Blackboard LMS. The learning curve for using Blackboard is low, but let me proffer another online application that has a low learning curve and can be very useful in getting materials online and delivering them effectively especially in the mobile arena.

WordPress.com is Mobile Friendly

WordPress.com originally was a blogging service, but it is much more. The WordPress application can be used as a powerful CMS. But, here is where WordPress leaves Blackboard in the dust:

You can create postings:

  • Via email
    • If you are using a smart phone that can take pictures and record audio, you can create a blog posting including text, audio and images, and send it from wherever you are.
  • Via phone
    • Use your office phone or cell phone to call WordPress.com, enter your assigned key code, and start recording your audio blog posting. When you hang up the phone, an mp3 file is generated and placed in the posting in a user friendly audio player.
  • Via MS Word 2007 blog publishing
    • Use the image formatting features in Word to add attractive photo borders, dropshadows and image skewing (tilt) to your illustrations. Type your text and then publish.
  • And, via the WordPress Dashboard Interface, an easy to use layout much like Word.

WordPress automatically creates an RSS feed for each of the “categories” you create. This means you can use a single site to speak to multiple audiences. E.g. Create a category for each course, and then use a category to organize your postings, publishing to that audience.

Your sites on WordPress.com are mobile device aware and when a smart device is detected, the content is delivered in a mobile friendly way. By mobile friendly, I mean that the site can be easily navigated from your phone, images & text are resized to fit the smaller screens, and when you resize the text the page is automatically reformatted. WordPress.com uses the WPTOUCH plugin to recognize mobile devices and render site pages accordingly.

Use QR codes to connect the physical world to the Internet world.

A QR code looks like a picture of a maze or maybe a crossword puzzle, but it is actually a form of barcode which can contain a large amount of data. With the proliferation of smart phones that have cameras and are Internet capable, QR images are the way to easily and quickly connect the physical world to the information on the Internet.

A QR image can contain a web page URL, email address, phone number, text, or a combination of all of these. An image could contain all of your contact info that could be easily shared without having to type it all in. An image could contain event info, such as date, time, location, phone number and a web page link that could be added to your calendar with a single click of a button.

You are viewing a web page on your PC or laptop, but would like to view it on your smart phone.

Mobile Barcoder is a free plugin for the Firefox browser. This addon automatically generates a QR image for any web page URL that you are on, or for any link on that page. This makes it easy to pull up the page on your mobile device.

3 QR Code Scenarios + 1:

  • You are at the grocery store and see a soup can that has a QR code. You pull out your phone and scan in the image. You click on the link and find yourself on a recipe page that has this soup as one of its ingredients. The images on the page make the food look good. You see all of the other ingredients listed, and it only takes 20 minutes to prepare. Like a Zombie, you “buy the can of soup.” But, later that night, you are a well fed Zombie.
  • You get a mailer from a political candidate. Included in one corner of the flyer is an QR image. You scan the image and see that it includes a link to his/her web site, an email address and phone number.
  • You are at the Laundromat doing your weekly duty. All you have with you, besides your box of detergent and a pocket full of quarters, is your textbook and cell phone. But, you notice a QR code inside the cover of the book. You scan it and pull up a web page that includes resource links from the book, listed by chapter and page, including audio and video clips. Study now, play later.
  • You have created an event poster, for a band, a play, a car wash or yard sale, etc. You add a QR image to it with the event title, date, time, location, phone number and email address. Tack these posters up. You’ll have people, all over town, whipping out their phones to scan and add this event to their calendars.

Free QR Code Generator at Zebra Crossing.

Barcode Reader is a free app for Android devices that works very well.

Text to Speech

Text to Speech “in near human quality” is now possible. If you already have typed text and want an audio version, without having to sit down at a microphone and personally record it, then you should find a “text to speech” application or service. E.g. Maybe you want an audio version of a long policy document to place on your web site, or you think that an audio version of a typed document would help your visitors understand its meaning better, then text to speech.

Odiogo Blog to Speech Imagine being able to easily convert your text blog into an mp3 audio file so that viewers can click on a player and hear your typed blog posting read aloud (“in near human quality“). Odiogo currently is offering a free service to create an mp3 audio version for each of the text postings on your blog site. The audio files are stored on the Odiogo servers, and their plugin embeds a Javascript mp3 audio player in each of your posts.

All a visitor has to do is click on the play button to hear the audio version of your typed text. Very convenient when viewed from a mobile device.

For those of you that want more control for Text to Speech Conversion , you might want to try NaturalReader. This software runs locally and the audio files (WAV, MP3) that are created are saved locally. You can also split long files up into shorter clips, by length of time.

NOTE: This posting was created in MS Word 2007 and published directly from there. The image formatting and text box were created with Word functions.


Why the Disclaimer? It is not my intent to, nor should I, place work or expectations upon other ITTS staff or the Department, for supporting, troubleshooting or maintaining the various “cutting edge” applications, or Web 2.0 services with which I am “playing.”  That is not to say that they shouldn’t be played with.  Some will be very useful, and some may prove useful for only a short time.

Let’s just imagine that we are all in the same Nursery or Day Care.  My mother dropped me off earlier, so I got to play with some of the toys before you arrived.  When you get here, I offer you a ball, and a stick and tell you, “These can be fun.”

Now, don’t prove me wrong by poking yourself in the eye with the stick, or knocking something over with the ball.


Posted in Audio/Video, Podcasting

Text to Speech Conversion

 

Several years ago I started doing historical research in which I transcribed hundreds of old newspaper articles. At some point, I came across the NaturalReader application which converts text into audio and can save that in either WAV or MPEG formats.

For those that learn best auditorially, this is an easy way to convert large amounts of typed text into MP3 files so that you can post them to your web site. *We have also converted large amounts of policy statements into MP3 files quickly. Using a text to speech conversion app saves the time of rehearsing a reading. Although the conversion may not be perfect, it is “close enough” for most instances.

Here is an example of some text that I pasted into the NaturalReader app and converted to this MP3.

— [Text to Copy to NaturalReader for Conversion.]

I liked my work in the Drug Store, and spent most of my time in reading and informing myself about the qualities of drugs. A sad disaster to Mr. Erambert brought upon me the full work of the establishment. It seems that a number of Chapel Hill students collected in the store on Saturday night after I had started home. The young men were in various degrees of intoxication. Mr. Erambert was at the dispensing scales cleaning his pistol. Some words ensued between a young man named “Pink” Shelly and he fired shooting Jack Costin in the fleshy part of his buttock. Mr. E. by this time had his pistol loaded. He went to the front door, pistol in hand, and he and Shelly must have shot at the same time, and Mr. E. fell to the pavement with his thigh broken. I heard firing and returned to the store and found matters in great disorder. The wounded were carried home, Mr. E. to be confined for six months. This left me in the possession of the business, and as I had no experience as a drug merchant, and as Mr. E. was too sick to talk business, I was in trouble. I had to go to the store after breakfast and stay until 9 o’clock at night, closely confined.

Steps to convert text into an audio mpeg file using NaturalReader:

http://screencast.com/t/MzU0MDk1M2It [Jing/Screencast]

Several examples of converted articles posted to a WordPress site which has a simple Javascript mp3 player [Note the QR Code which makes it easy to import this article to a smartdevice and then listen & read the article from there.]:

Two Boats of A. G. Black, Master Carpenter