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App of the Week: Convert Text to Audio with Vocalyze

Last week I wrote about how to Convert Blog Posts To Audio And Listen On The Go. The post covered the native Mac text-to-voice application, which though useful, was somewhat lacking and didn’t make for the most pleasant listening experience. But community to the rescue – Greg Lambert suggested trying Vocalyze and Lisa Solomon pointed to his blog post about the application.

Volacyze turns blogs and other written web content into audio snippets. Choose from a large library of blogs, news sites and websites which you can add to your playlist. Can’t find your favorite newspaper, magazine, or news website? Fill out their content source suggestion box. However, though I may appreciate many blogs and news sites, rarely do I want to read every post and article that is published. I’d rather listen to posts that I saved to read later.

Two primary applications provide the opportunity to save web pages to read later — Instapaper and ReadItLater. Vocalyze doesn’t integrate with Instapaper so I logged into my old ReadItLater account, added the browser extension in Chrome and Firefox and started saving articles for later listenting.

I tested this out at the gym and it works much better that the native Mac application. The voices alternates between male and female – not an insignificant detail. Some pieces flow better than others. Posts that don’t translate well, include graphics heavy pieces, charts and graphs, and video. Those I save to Instapaper for later reading.

Vocalyze also integrates with Twitter. Think I’ll pass on that. An unfiltered Twitter stream yapping in my ear will not enhance my experience at the gym.

If you subscribe to RSS feeds, there’s a workaround to access those blog posts in Vocalyze. Greg Lambert details the process on 3 Geeks and a Law Blog.

Here’s a rundown of the Vocalyze text to audio process:
1. Create an account with ReadItLater and drag the icon to your favorite browser. This will allow you to one-click blog posts and news articles in your browser to read later.
2. Create a Vocalyze account on your computer. Download the app to your smartphone and login.
3. Sign-in to your Vocalyze account and enter your ReadItLater credentials. All posts that you save to that account will now show up in your Vocalyze application — on the computer and your smartphone.

Oh, and try listening to one of your blog posts – it’s a freaky experience initially, and it sorta helps identify punctuation errors.

The Vocalyze app is free and definitely worth a try.