Mac text to speech software: Admittedly, every once in a while I go off the deep end, and today I'm experimenting with Apple's Mac OS X text to speech software. For example, as I type this blog post I'm also listening to this New York Times article being read by the Mac OS X Speech service.
This isn't available in Firefox (it's not a Cocoa application), but in Safari it's pretty simple. Just select the text you want to listen to, click the Safari menu item, then Services, Speech, and then Start Speaking Text. (You can then click Stop Speaking Text if it sounds really annoying.)
You might not like this, especially with the default Speech settings. I didn't care for the default Speech settings, so I changed mine to make the reading more acceptable. To change the Speech settings, click the Apple menu item, then System Preferences. Then click Speech, then click the Text To Speech tab. You can choose the system voice and speaking rate.
The hard part about this is finding a voice setting that is acceptable in the long term. Right now I'm using the "Ralph" voice at a speed that's a little faster than normal, but it's still not ideal.
I just listened to en email from a friend as I typed that last paragraph, and I have to say, so far, so good.
In a related note, here's a link to my popular Mac text to speech voices using AppleScript tutorial.