Using Mac’s Text-to-Speech with Mac Kindle App

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: , |

I like having Apple’s text-to-speech read websites to me while I scan other pages, or check email. I was wondering if I could do the same with my Kindle books.

I currently use the $79 Kindle, which doesn’t have a headphone jack (so no text-to-speech possible there). Also, a number of Kindle books do not have text to speech enabled, anyway.

So, I found myself wondering if there was any way to use Apple’s built-in text to speech to read Kindle books?

The answer was a surprisingly simple “Yes!” “Yes, but only for a while — see update below”

  1. Download the Kindle for Mac desktop app.
  2. Load up your favorite book (even if it has Kindle’s own text-to-speech disabled).
  3. Reduce the font to the smallest setting. This lets you select more text in the next step.
  4. Highlight all the text.
  5. Press the text-to-speech hotkey in you selected in System Preferences > Speech > Text to Speech.

Enjoy your favorite Apple text-to-speech voice read your book to you!

UPDATE: This works until you reach the copy limit for the ebook. The process described above acts as “copying.” Then, you get a warning, and then you can’t use the process anymore. Have I mentioned how much DRM sucks?


Adding new voices to OS X Lion

Filed under: Mac Tips | Tags: , |

Apple’s OS X 10.7 adds new voices for text-to-speak, including a passable GladOS impersonation.

In the control panel, select the “Speech” icon.

Click the “Text to Speech” tab.

Select the pull down menu, and choose “Customize”.

Then select some new voices. I recommend adding Jill & Samantha. Also give Sangetta (Indian English), Fiona (Scottish), and Serena (United Kingdom) a try. Just keep in mind that each voice added has to be downloaded and is about a gig in size.

Ok, if you want your computer to sound like GladOS, get the Jill voice and then have her read the following:

There was even going to be a party for you. A big party that all your friends were invited to. I invited your best friend, the Companion Cube. Of course, he couldn’t come because you murdered him. All your other friends couldn’t come, either, because you don’t have any other friends because of how unlikable you are. It says so right here in your personnel file: “Unlikable. Liked by no one. A bitter, unlikable loner, whose passing shall not be mourned. Shall NOT be mourned.” That’s exactly what it says. Very formal. Very official. It also says you were adopted, so that’s funny, too.

Have fun!