the barcode of the beast
While dinking around at (again, this is Rennie's fault, as I was chasing down Conrad etexts ;^) the other day, I discovered that they have a good number of texts already machine-read in mp3 format. First one I saw was _Don Quixote_, and I listend to the first couple of files (32kbps encoding which is fine for a clean voice-only recording) and the robot voice was tolerable. Unfortunately, it couldn't correctly say "Quixote," so that would burst the literary bubble a little whenever it encountered that word. But at least you can decide whether you can stand it for that long.

It's right at the top of their 2004-completed (yeah, they're ahead of schedule) index, here (little bit of a load time):

I did spend a lot of time messing around with the index file before I figured out that I couldn't come up wiht a way to copy an ftp index into Excel so I could use it to add up all of the filesizes to get the total size of Quixote, but it looks to be pushing 200MB over 26 files.
--LAN3 Sat Sep 6 12:11:00 2003
Not only did I figure out how to do it easily, but I typoed- 126 segments actually, and I mis-guessed substantially: 576,785KB; that works out, I think, to 5 hours of listening.
--LAN3 Sat Sep 6 12:22:24 2003
LAN3, you might try any of your Carnegie library systems and get audio books (Books on TapeŽ ) already on file and free to check-out with an online service now. This URL I've given will give you the readers, may very good, who lend their acting abilities to these tapes. I used to also read aloud for a number of folks just a few years back. I had one regular group at a nursing home where someone taped the sessions. There are lots of professional audio books already available from numerous services. I just don't think I'd care to listen to a 'bot read when I can hear a famous character actor do the parts on audio. However, I do enjoy chatting with A.L.I.C.E. ... get a change to chat with her and she might admit she "knows me :) ..... Rennie
--Rennie Lorca Sat Sep 6 12:34:11 2003
change=chance ^
I worked in a library for five years while in school. Hard for me not to help anyone looking for a good book or information. Sheridan House puts out a number of books about the sea and sailors. Tristan was a very interesting character. He may not have written as well as Conrad, but it is good to read from a real old salt: ... enjoy, I am soon on my way to liveaboard and travel ..... Rennie
--Rennie Lorca Sat Sep 6 12:52:52 2003
might as well give you the folks pushing for more e-texts and audio books, Swedish Talking Books, real and not synthesized work (including periodicals) / future plans: ... I'm eager to see more for the geneal public as they develop from these areas of special interests ..... Rennie
--rennie Sat Sep 6 13:11:10 2003
I remember reading and hearing read Tristan Jones; he was a staple of my grandparents library (still is, I presume) and when I used to go boating with them in the San Juan Islands (4 large and a few small islands in northern Puget Sound) and the nominal evening activity after anchoring but before the light failed, was reading Tristan Jones while my grandparents downed G&Ts and I drank, I presume, Diet Coke. I have most vivid recollection of Jones' book where he wanted to sail the highest and lowest navigable bodies of water, Late Titicaca in Peru being the highest and the Dead Sea the lowest, IIRC. Maybe it was the Black Sea. Another book I remember was his traversal of the Amazon, which he and his shipmate ran out of food, and the river wasn't managing to feed them, so that whatever they did catch they desperately ate raw-- numerous pirahna and a Crocodile, as I recall.

I definitely intend to take on Tristan Jones considerable canon (which I expect to be a relatively fast read, like Patrick O'Brian). But my next author will probably be Keith Laumer, some of whose sci-fi books can be found online at (particularly I was recommented to "Retief!" which is about an interplanetary diplomat). Navigating around that site, though, there's a lot of military SF by some prominent authors in that genre, but not their most prominent works.
--LAN3 Sat Sep 6 17:20:07 2003
I lived with an astrophysicist and deal with military. I've read all of Frank Herbert and many other sci-fi authors. David Hartwell (Simon & Schuster, Tor, Dragon Press) has a very active NY group going for sci-fi. For some sci-fi/horror, a friend (4x Bram Stoker winner): ..... Rennie
--Rennie Lorca Sat Sep 6 19:21:19 2003
Thinking over the problem of txt2mp3, I don't know much about the text-to-speech end, but if you could pipe the text to TotalRecorder (.com) which has a CLI that I've never used and can record and encode to MP3 (using the provided codec or one of your choosing) or WAV or OGG. I think it can also break it up into specific file lengths (by size or record-time, I do not know). I have this program, but what I'm describing are newer features than when I started using it, so I haven't yet developed a need for them.
--LAN3 Sun Sep 7 05:27:03 2003

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