Monday, November 19, 2007

Librivox - Great Idea, Spotty Talent

OK, new rule: I think it's really great if you want to volunteer to read for the Librivox project - Free audio book version of public domain books - but you have to be at least as steady and talented a reader as Mac OS X's new "Alex" voice. Because otherwise you're just wasting a whole lot of time, disk space and bandwidth.

I just finished listening to The Antichrist by Nietzsche (I need to occasionally re-fuel my polemic tank). The first reader (mp3) was this poor lady with a voice like a balloon being rubbed way too hard on a table. Poor girl, while listening I am imagining that this voice of hers has left her isolated and lonely and maybe that's why she reads books out loud in her spare time.

It's a good thing I've gotten used to such things, though, because otherwise I'd have missed the fantastic piece of performance art that is the last section (mp3) - read by a chap who really, really gets into the text. The energy and emotion makes it sound like he's trying to impress upon Nietzsche's ghost just how much he hates Christianity, too. This is what a fundmentalist atheist sermon would probably sound like. A great piece of unexpected entertainment.

Still, I made up a hotkey macro to dictate out a selected block of text using the Alex voice, and I think I'll end up using that rather than actually listen to the voices of those internet nerds who probably spend the rest of their online time in revert wars on Wikipedia and blogging about their cats' health problems. And yeah, there's also the huge number of commercial audiobooks on Bittorrent sites, but the overwhelming number of self-help books and dime-a-dozen fantasy novels who's print versions are the size of phone books makes finding something worth listening to take as long as the download itself. And I still read old-fashioned paper books, too, but I can't play Tetris at the same time which is a pretty great selling point for audio books.

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By al - 4:52 AM |

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