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You can listen to the stories

September 26, 2012
Posted at 10:18 pm
Updated: September 27, 2012 - 8:44 am

{See updates at the end of the entry}

OK, first thing, you have to understand that I spend all my free time writing. So I don't read other blogs or tech notes or any of that. I'm technically challenged anyway. But I have a Kindle, and my Kindle can read to me, which is kind of cool. And a reader wrote to me explaining how he was able to download my stories and have his phone read them to him while he drives.

So even though somebody else may have already talked about this, and even though I don't understand most of it, here is what he said. This is for you geeks out there who might be able to use this little trick.

I spend a lot of time driving, covering a large sales territory in (a state which will remain unnamed). I started out looking for a way to "listen" to new product info briefings instead of reading them. I searched and found two ways to accomplish text to voice conversion on my Android smartphone. Once I found the solution, it didn't take long to realize I could use it to listen to the latest stories too.

One piece of word processing software I use on my phone is Quickoffice Pro. It can be used to open any .doc file and once it's open, there's an internal text to voice program.

For downloads from the web, on the fly, I must choose to "share the page" with another program named Talkadroid. This has limitations to the amount of text that can be successfully imported so longer documents require multiple cut-and-paste maneuvers to get through the whole thing. You get about 15 to 20 minutes of reading on a full load of text. Quickoffice Pro will read a doc from start to finish, no matter how long.

The synthesized voice that came with my phone was terrible but I purchased a hot, female voice from SVOX Classic at the Google Play store and it's much more listenable. You can tweak the playback speed and tone of voice too for personal taste.

The two biggest downsides for both of these is obvious when you get a phone call. The audio doesn't always mute when you answer the phone and I have to physically stop it before I can talk on the phone. The caller doesn't hear it but I do. The second one is when the phone call is finished and the player can't be restarted at the point where I stopped it.

I understand why writers wouldn't be crazy about my next suggestion but you'll figure out what I'm talking about. For long pieces, I have to sit at my laptop and use cut and paste to transfer text from the screen into Word documents so I can copy them onto my phone for the next week's listening. I would love a place where I could download plain text files. That's what I did with Cattleman's Lament and it probably took me 15-20 minutes.

Okay, so there you go. For what it's worth. There are Luddite tendencies buried within me, which is why I still own three typewriters and have never owned a cell phone, much less a smart one.

But maybe some of you can benefit from this mumbo jumbo and impress your friends.

With one of my stories, of course.


Thanks for listening.

Update, 27 Sep 12

I got a response to the blog that may help people use this idea:

If he's a Premium Member at SOL he can just
download the text files that are in a zip file.

When he has them if it's a bunch of little
files(Chapters). He can use the DOS command of
copy to copy the text into one file.


File names are:

Chapter 1.txt

Chapter 2.txt

Chapter 3.txt

The command would be:

Copy chapter*.* outfilename.txt

Then the outfilename.txt can be sent to his

If he wants more info have him send me an email.


Super Tech