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Kindle Text-to-Speech Battle Nonsense
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Sun, 1 Mar 2009 21:10:13 -0500

I am and have been a customer of Audible for years and use them when I am walking to work or driving or (sometimes) to multi-process during email). The Kindle does not supplant it by a long shot. I sjf

Begin forwarded message:

From: Lauren Weinstein <lauren () vortex com>
Date: March 1, 2009 1:23:46 PM EST
To: dave () farber net
Subject: Kindle Text-to-Speech Battle Nonsense


There's another aspect to this craziness that hasn't been mentioned
yet here as far as I know.  It is nonsensical -- at least based on
current technology -- to compare the quality of a synthesized
text-to-speech output to that of most professionally recorded
commercial audio versions of books.

Synthesized speech has gotten a lot better over the years, but in many
respects is still quite reminiscent of what I was dealing with hacking
the Votrax VS6 at UCLA for my "Touch Tone Unix" project several
decades ago -- that is, no way you'd confuse them with real human
speech the vast majority of the time for other than relatively short
utterances, and the overall sound quality and intelligibility remain
inferior in major ways.

Would most people who buy audio books happily suffer a move by
publishers to switch from professional narrations to synthesized
speech?  Of course not.

Attempts to block the use of synthesized text readers by devices
like the Kindle fly in the face of fair use, and would appear
to be ripe for legislative and/or judicial remedies.

Lauren Weinstein
lauren () vortex com
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800
Co-Founder, PFIR
  - People For Internet Responsibility - http://www.pfir.org
Co-Founder, NNSquad
  - Network Neutrality Squad - http://www.nnsquad.org
Founder, GCTIP - Global Coalition
  for Transparent Internet Performance - http://www.gctip.org
Founder, PRIVACY Forum - http://www.vortex.com
Member, ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Lauren's Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com

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