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A New Friend With Speech Messages


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In trying to make the actual running of more time consuming macros (accessing web pages and going through layers of loggins), I'm using a text-to-speech program with some very lifelike computer voices to create short messages and prompts that are imbedded into the macros. The messages are created very quickly and the text-to-speech software then reads them into a wav file, which I keep in an Insight folder with other voice prompts and messages. When running "if...then" statements, not only can I use a display popup, but also have the computer tell me what it's doing to make the waiting even more tolerable. Attached is a voice reminder after running a modified version of the Alarm Timer macro created by Bob Sturtevant. I do my weekly laundry and while I wait, I watch a DVD movie on my computer after setting an alarm to check the laundry. This adds quite a bit more spice to the pop-up display text. I'm just into my third day of using the evaluation version of Macro Express and love it. I tried it several years ago -- the new updated interface is fantastic. One thing that has been disappointing with competing products is that they are either much more complicated, too simple, or not being developed further -- quite a few are dead-end products. ME is really a powerful product that is easy to use. This ease of use and power, the user forum, as well as the continued development of the product is what have sold me on Macro Express.


I've just updated this post with a zip file that also contains a screen capture in Real Media format (for Real Player) of what the macro looks like (and sounds like) when it runs.


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The name of the program is TextAloud (http://www.nextup.com). It comes with several voices; however, there are a number of different companies that have created voices -- the most natural were created by AT&T and a company called NeoSpeech. I've been using the NeoSpeech recently and it's the voice I used in my macro. There's really no tuning that has to be done, although there is a pronunciation editor which works by just typing in phonetics. For example The phrase "NextUp.com" might be read as "NextUp [full stop/period] Com"i.e. the "." is read as a period. It would be necessary to just type into the main text window Nextup dot com. Similarly, if a certain word is consistently mispronounced (such as certain names), then you could type a similar phonetic pronunciation into the custom pronunciation editor. Also, it is possible to add custom length pauses. The program is very very easy to use, and in fact very little tweeking has to be done.

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