Thursday, August 31, 2006


About the process of making these audio files. It's pretty simple though a little labor intensive. The first step is scanning a book page by page and using the scanners object recognition software to turn the scans into text. Then I format the text to where I can copy n paste it into a text to speech program that outputs the files. The particular TTS engine I use has options for creating audio books by automatically breaking the audios into chapters and also to change the pitch and speed of the "voice" depending on if it is within quotes.

So if it's labor intensive, why waste my time when I could be reading? That's a fair question and my answer is that because most of the process is either fast or automated. I do not speed read and have no desire to. The author writes all the words in a book and though some words may be superfluous I intend to read what's on the page, not just scan through it and just "get the gist".

As such, I read pretty slow. So it takes less time to output the audio than it does for me to read the book. Also, I just find it more enjoyable to be read to while commuting, than listening to top-40 music or AM talk radio. Though AM talk radio can be pretty interesting sometimes.

Questions or comments? Comdemnations? Happiness and Joy? Let me know what you think.

And now, on with the story of THE CHOLERA KING...
(right click and "save as" or "save target as" to download)
The SPIDER (C) 2006 Argosy Communications, Inc

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


Greatings friends.

This is an experiment in storytelling and technology. This experiment comes from a problem I have; too many books to read and not enough time to read them. So what is to be done? Well I have a total of between 40 to 90 minutes of commute per day, depending on traffic. That is a lot of 'dead time' and I realized I might not be able to read a book while driving (such a thing might be against the law and maybe even dangerous!) but I could sure listen to them.

Ahhh audio books. What a novel idea! But the books I love are not the typical audiobook faire. Old pulps and horror just aren't getting read into microphones for public consumption much these days. So again, what to do?

Well, I've bought a couple of text to speech readers and have them read to me while I'm driving. The technology is getting good enough to where you can listen to such a thing without feeling like you're getting a lecture from one of Doctor Who's DALEKS. It's maybe not completely natural sounding yet, but it's getting there. It is, at least good enough for me to enjoyably get through a story while sitting in a long commute.

My intentions here are to share some of these audio files. Not to harm anyone's copyright on a given property or for any type of self glory. It's just an idea for turning you onto some of the books I like, which you might want to track down more of, and to turn you onto some interesting technology.

Today I'm starting this experiment with one of my new favorite Pulp Heroes; The SPIDER!

To me, the stories of The SPIDER are like literary crack. They go down fast and hard and when you are done with one, you'll want to read another right away. I am listening to The SPIDER in my car and also reading the books in my spare time.

I would like to bring to your attention that this book is available to buy at The Vintage Library and other fine online retailers.

Todays book is entitled THE CHOLERA KING, wherein: The Spider races to uncover a hidden terrorist as New York becomes a city-wide quarantine area, where the citizens chose between death by agonizing thirst or pestilent drink!

Death in its ugliest form ravaged America. An ambitious, clever madman, master of a far flung criminal empire, spread cholera germs through every rank and class of a large and totally unsuspecting populace. Numbed by terror, the citizens fled from certain death... while the police, baffled and powerless, campaigned relentlessly against the Spider, the only man able to save the stricken and bring the Plague Master to justice!

(right click and "save as" to download to your harddrive)

The SPIDER IS (C) 2006 Argosy Communications, Inc