What if the news and information was read to you on computer or phone?

Jan 12

What if the news and information was read to you on computer or phone?

There is a lot of content online that we sometimes find interesting but reading all of it at office or in our busy schedules is sometimes difficult.

Reading content online or offline requires undivided attention, unlike say listening to radio (audio), which you can listen to while driving, gardening or even playing. If the content you want is available in sound, many might be able to consume it even as they do undertake some other tasks on the computer.

For those who access internet on their phones, they can get news and information on the go wherever they are, and that means that even if one is driving for example, they can continue to access news and information from their favorite blogs and websites.

Despite several recommendations for media houses and other content providers to give some content in audio form, readers have not had many choices when it comes to getting their content of interest in audio. I’m not just talking about podcasts or basic audio files, as most of the information online is currently available in text.

BlogRadio is an application that is enabling people to access text news and information in audio form. BlogRadio converts content from your RSS feeds into audio files which you can listen to at any time of your choice.

 

It is a cloud-based streaming media for RSS that is acclaimed for saving people time by enabling those who use it to listen to their favoirite blogs.

All you need is to download the BlogRadio Desktop Manager, input the RSS feed addresses of the blog or blogs you want and the RSS feed articles will be converted into audio. There are two male and two female voices for you to choose the one you want to read for you your blogs.

On the left, it shows you all the blogs you have subscribed to, and you just click on the one you want to listen to, and it will display the particular feeds that have been converted, and you can click the one you want to listen to. It launches with some feeds already installed by default e.g. CNN, BBC Technlogy among others and you can select the Add button to add another RSS feed.

It is a really great tool from BT Software enabling people to get their favorite news and information even when they cannot concentrate visually on the content. But you will need some patience as it might take the system up to four hours to configure your blog for the first time and start receiving and converting the RSS feeds into audio for you.

While I liked this tool, I was disappointed that it doesn’t automatically load to the next RSS feed, meaning you have to click one feed at ago, which really doesn’t reduce time spent on, or increase convenience of accessing a particular new or information item. I hope the creators of this great innovation will up its ability to read through the feeds automatically so that one just clicks once and the reader starts until ordered to stop, or you change to another blog.

Also, since it is client end application, I wish it had other abilities other than reading RSS feeds, because apart from determining which RSS feeds to subscribe to, audience members don’t determine how the RSS will be i.e. how much text will appear in the feed, whether it presents whole or summary article etc. If it was a tool for publishers to enable them provide their RSS feeds in audio (directly embed within) and in either summary of full article, it might probably have been a better application for online news and information sharing.

There are other options to BlogRadio like NewsAloud but it is a paid for service, Pressmart that powers Daily Monitor’s e-paper with text to speech capabilities and several others. People trying to access BlogRadio on phone haven’t been very pleasant in their reviews either, and i haven’t seen reviews for the Pressmart I-pone application. But it is clear how many people that would reach in Uganda and a solution that can deliver this text to audio on most mobile phone handsets will be more than welcome.

It is also clear also that both Text To Speech translator applications use voices that many people in Uganda, or Africa will find hard to comprehend (pressmart’s Daily monitor audio is pretty clear i dare say), and little has been achieved in translated audio beyond Italian and Spanish. Hopefully one Text To Speech application with different African accents will soon come our way. If it can have abilities to translate English into major local languages, a major barrier in information access will be unlocked, as many people unable to read English can access the relevant news and information in audio.

Gerald Businge

If you would like me to review any particular item or section of your website or blog so that we prompt a discussion on how we can make it better, email me gb[@]geraldbusinge.com or just add a comment or question below.

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Ultimate Multimedia Training Services

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