by Jonathan Rothwell

An experiment in blog-writing

Audio version (What's this?)

Those of you with long memories will remember that, for a while, my old blog had a plugin installed called Odiogo. This plugin would feed the content of each post through a text-to-speech synthesiser and spat out a rudimentary ‘podcast’.

My own experiments with this service did not last too long. Each post included an embedded Odiogo player, which added significantly to the load times; furthermore, it ended up just highlighting flaws in my own writing that I chose to ignore.

The idea of providing spoken-word versions of articles is not entirely original: Wikipedia has an ongoing project to provide versions of certain articles read aloud. The rationale is simple: while blind and visually impaired readers can use screen-readers, many would prefer a human voice, with a good grasp of punctuation and speaking with an appropriate tone.

With this in mind, I’m going to attempt an experiment. From this point on—at least, probably, until I grow tired of it, and provided of course that I remember to do so—if I write any kind of long-form article, I will also record me reading it aloud and provide a link to that on the page. (You should see an “audio version” link in the header of this page.)

At present, they’re MP3 only. At present, there’s no podcast feed of any kind because it’s a crudely hacked extension to Octopress. This is genuinely nothing more than experimental.

Nevertheless, I am interested to see if people find it useful. Enforcing the idea of reading what I write aloud, in my own voice, might encourage me to keep my big mouth shut on occasion: who knows, it might even catch on!