Category Archives: Voiceover

“Midnighters #2: Touching Darkness” (Midnighters Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by Voiceover (iOS Kindle app)

Link to Midnighters #1 review

Friday morning I was super sleepy after Snorey McSnorison kept me up half the night so I wanted to just lay down again for a bit and decided to return to the ‘Midnighters’ book I had abandoned way back in May or June. I had forgotten about upgrading my iPhone since then so I had to sign back into Amazon in the Kindle app and when I returned to the book, it seemed like the bookmark had jumped ahead a bit. I tried to go back and ended up at the beginning of the book. I decided to just listen again since I couldn’t really remember much. I left it at my usual speaking rate instead of slowing it down like I had with the last book and before I knew it I was back at the halfway point where I had left off. Turns out the bookmark hadn’t skipped ahead haha. I finished the entire book in one day with Voiceover talking nice and fast. I certainly couldn’t imagine doing all my books that way, but for books unavailable in audio, it’s a great backup.

One thing that really stood out to me in this book is that usually the second books of trilogies tend to be my favorite. There’s no setting up or concluding so second books tend to just be action packed good fun. This book didn’t really do it for me. The first one was so creepy with the introduction of the monsters that come out in the secret hour. This time I knew what they were so the creep factor was negated. Though the new human element to the monsters was kind of interesting.

I’ll read the third book at some point because it’s Scott Westerfeld so come on, of course I’ll read it. I’m also betting the third book gets crazy as the trilogy is concluded, especially since now a Midnighter might just have an inside track on the monsters.

This series just is not my favorite from Mr. Westerfeld my hero. I really have to believe that the fact these aren’t in audio format is playing a huge part in how I feel about them. I just don’t experience that heart pounding adventure that I do with a good narrator. Very grateful for the Kindle app though, that’s for sure.

“Touching Darkness” at the Amazon Kindle Store

More Roof Reviews

***Completely unrelated to books, have six happys. It might get a bit dusty when you read that. I think I might start adding random links to things I like in my book posts. Maybe. Who knows. Like Easter Eggs? Haha!***

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Filed under 2013 Book List, Amazon, iPhone, NaBloPoMo 2013, Voiceover

Handwriting in iOS 7 – Most Excellent!

The other day when someone retweeted @Ducktail’s demo of handwriting in iOS 7 I played the demo not sure what I’d find. Not long into it my hands were covering my face as I listened, completely amazed and filled with gratitude toward Apple.

In iOS 7, we’ll be able to draw letters on the screen! Not only will this allow us to hand write text, but it can also be used to search the device for apps. Looking for Sound Hound? Draw an “s” on the screen and a list of all your apps beginning with the letter “s” come up. I cannot wait for this feature! I hadn’t thought about how much I miss writing letters!

It seems like this could definitely be difficult for those who never used handwriting, for sure, but for someone like me who wrote the letters of the alphabet until I was twenty-nine, this will bring back something I thought I’d lost forever! The ability to hand write! Oh man. I’m so excited hahahahaha!

Ok, as LeVar Burton likes to say, bydhttmwfi. go have a listen to the demo. It’s an auto play Dropbox. Just go listen. Oh man! So cool! So amazing! Thank you, Apple!

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Filed under accessibility, Adjustment to blindness, apple Inc, assistive technologies, cool product, demo, gratitude, iPhone, misty eyes, plugs, screen reader, twitter me this, Voiceover, wow

“Midnighters #1: The Secret Hour” (Midnighters Trilogy) by Scott Westerfeld – narrated by Voiceover (iOS Kindle app)

I have listened to every Scott Westerfeld novel available in audio format and was deeply dismayed not to be able to find the Midnighters trilogy. Every time I read something on his website that referenced the trilogy I would feel sad and left out.

When my friend Ricardo told me the Kindle app for iOS was accessible, the Midnighters trilogy was the first thing to come to mind and I was so excited to find that Amazon had it. I wasn’t too sure how I would feel about having a synthesized voice read me an entire novel but I had gone without for so long it was worth a shot. It really wasn’t that bad. I slowed the voice down quite a bit and it basically turned the book into an audio book. I definitely wouldn’t choose it over a human narrator but it’s certainly better than not having access to a book!

Soon after Jessica Day arrives in Bixby Oklahoma where her mom has gotten a new job, Jessica discovers that the hour of midnight is strange indeed. It seems like the world around her freezes for exactly one hour, everything but her. Imagine what it would be like to run through frozen rain drops as they hover in the air! It’s not all beautiful though as Jessica soon finds out. It gets downright scary. There were several times as I read this that I shouted at Westerfeld, “what was going on in that head of yours when you wrote that!”

I very much enjoyed this book. For me it wasn’t up there with “Uglies” and “Leviathan” but that could be due to the fact that my phone read it to me. I haven’t really known how to include books I’ll read with the Kindle app here, so I decided I just won’t give them the ratings I do with audio books. I’d recommend this if you’re a Scott Westerfeld fan or just want to read some good young adult fiction. I started the second book in the series but have been distracted by some really good audio books. I’m sure I’ll get back to it before long. I wasn’t able to listen to it for hours like I can with an audio book and I can’t imagine laying in bed at night getting sleepy listening to voiceover read me a book haha. I’m so grateful the Kindle app is accessible now, yay!

Bixby, Oklahoma, is that the same Bixby from the movie Tremors I wonder? Staaaaaaaaampede!

“Midnighters #1” at the Amazon Kindle Store

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Filed under 2013 Book List, accessibility, Amazon, apple Inc, gratitude, iPhone, screen reader, Voiceover

A Phone Call from a Light Dependent Person

It’s Sunday morning and I had just started a podcast when I heard my phone ring but it was just the harp and that’s the no need to run ringtone. I couldn’t hear Voiceover to know who had called so I checked the phone after the podcast and it was my massage guy. Hmmm, why is he calling on a Sunday? I checked the voicemail and had a panicked message from his wife that went something like this:

Hi Ro, S is making the switch to the iPhone so I started playing with the screen reader on mine to get familiar with it before he takes it over and all of the sudden my screen went black and I don’t know what to do and I know you’ve gotten really good with your Iphone so I decided to call so if you could call me back that would be great.

Those weren’t her exact words but I think it’s pretty close. I was laughing as I listened to it and called her back immediately on my massage guy’s phone. She answered laughing which was a good thing and I laughed with her. She put me on speaker and I could hear as she unlocked the iPhone.

Me: When the screen went black did you hear the phone say, “screen curtain on”?

Her: No.

Me: Hmmm, well, try doing a three finger triple tap.

Her: The screen is back!

Both of us burst out laughing. I still don’t know why she didn’t hear the phone announce the screen curtain but at least that was all it was. After we finished laughing about that she asked me why a double tap made her music play.

Me: A double tap? That’s odd, I mean unless you’re on the play button or something…

Her: No actually it’s when I double tap with two fingers.

Me: Oh! Yeah, a two finger double tap will start your music or any audio you had been streaming.

Her: Ok so that is supposed to happen then.

Me, laughing: Yes, that is normal.

We discussed getting together so I can help S get to know his phone. He’s been pretty resistant to the iPhone, being stuck on the whole no buttons thing like so many blind are. I know once he finally makes the switch he’ll be happier than a pig in…you know.

I just thoroughly enjoyed helping a sighted person with her black screened iPhone! She is a “poor light dependent person”, her words. Fun stuff.

Oh, note to self, give her and S a must run ringtone for future iPhone emergencies.

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Filed under apple Inc, funnies, iPhone, random stuff, screen reader, Voiceover

Demo: Making a Text to Speech Audio File with the Mac

[[rate 360]]

I’m going to be writing up a cool book on echolocation tomorrow. I would do it today but I have a demo I want to record and I want to take advantage of an empty house since B is off this week and he’s out right now. This is different because usually I record stuff and then write up the post. This time however, I’m going to use this text to demo using the Mac to make an mp3 recording of a text document.

The book on echolocation prompted me to discover this because the author sent me a text file containing the book. I have no way of holding my place in such a large document so my friend Ricardo explained how to make an mp3 of Voiceover reading the text.

In the demo, I am going to convert this text you’re reading into an audio file. It’s so cool!

Text to Speech Demo

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Filed under Alex, apple Inc, demo, iTunes, NaBloPoMo 2012, techie tips, Voiceover

From the Desk of My Sleep Deprived and Hopeful Mind

I suppose it’s time for another sleep deprived stream of conscious post. And now I have to Google “stream of conscious”, because I can never remember if that’s correct. See it’s a good thing I turned to Google since it’s actually “stream of consciousness”. I think I knew that deep down but then I thought well conscious works too. I mean I’m conscious. I’m sleep deprived but I’m awake.

I woke up at around 2:30am. Mafia Guy Bladder woke me up and I checked the time because my body felt awake. You know those times? When you wake up and your body feels awake so you’re like oh it must be time to get up soon but you check the time and it’s only 2:30am? I could tell I wouldn’t get back to sleep. YOu just know. I gave it the old college try though. Lay there for an hour and then just wanted coffee.

What’s with the saying, “gave it the old college try”? Don’t we use that when we fail at something? Yeah I gave it the old college try but it just wasn’t meant to be. So are we referencing failing college?

The Rays gave it the college try but it wasn’t meant to be. They won last night but were eliminated when the A’s beat the Rangers. I don’t feel like talking about that.

I went to the doctor yesterday and had an anxiety attack. Yes! Yes? Yeah, I was happy about it. You know when your car is making a funny noise and you take it to the mechanic and it stops making the noise? I didn’t want that to happen. I mean I know my doc and she would believe me when I told her about the anxiety and depression but I’m just glad she got to see it. I had scheduled my appointment for 1:10, her first appointment after lunch. Paratransit got me there about 12:50 and they had to unlock the door to let me in. Receptionist said they’d call me up in a bit to check me in when it was time so I used the restroom, came out and sat down. I heard another paratransit and then I heard a white cane and a woman checking in. A slight pang of fear went through me, wondering if they signed her in ahead of me but I thought they knew that duh, I was there, right? Wrong. They called her back first even though I heard her say her appointment was at 1:20. Normally this kind of thing wouldn’t bother me. I know it’s usually a wait at the doc but at mine it’s never that bad. The problem is that taking paratransit means you’re always watching the clock. I thought I scheduled it fine, just like I always do. My return window began at 2:10, an hour after my scheduled appointment. It would have been fine, if it hadn’t been (for those meddling kids) a Monday first of all and then I later found out that they were implementing a new computer system as well.

By 1:30 I hadn’t been called back yet and I felt the anxiety well up. I gave myself a pep talk. If I miss my ride, it’s fine. It’s not going to harm me. I might wait awhile but it’s going to be fine. Stop panicking. Stop it. Oh crap there’s the tears. Well, at least she’ll see what I’ve been going through. When they took me back to do vitals the M.A. tried to help calm me down. I did a little and she said I’d be done by 2:10, the doctor was just finishing up and she’d be right with me. I sat in the room and time ticked by and I started dreaming of grabbing stuff and throwing it. When the doctor came in and saw me she said my dog looked worried. Not, oh hey what’s wrong, why are you crying. Your dog looks worried. My doctor is brilliant. Get me talking about my dog. Calm me down. I love that woman. She assured me I’d be done in time and we were just wrapping up when the driver got there. When you hope the driver will be late, they never are.

Long story short she checked my heart, it sounded fine, she ran through questions and I’m starting Lexapro. I couldn’t get it yesterday. Insurance problems. But of course, right? It’ll be a low dose. I’ve been on it before; it’s what they gave me when I went blind to help me ease into the adjustment. I probably should have just stayed on it. Oh well, lesson learned. I was also cleared to exercise again so yay! There is hope. I feel hope.

I do have to laugh though. She asked me if I’m sleeping. Oh yeah! I sleep great! It’s 4:40am as I write this and I’ve been awake for two hours haha!

I’m going to take a break from this for a minute. I’m hoping to record some blabbering later since I got a new mic so I don’t want to just write everything that’s on my mind and have nothing left to blabber about.

Well that wasn’t much of a break since Twitter is kinda slow. Speaking of Twitter, I has a funny. I’m going to include this in the audio too but this is just too good. Yesterday on the way to the doctor I was on the paratransit and wanted to send a tweet so I started typing in Fleksy listening with my Bluetooth headset. Unfortunately Voiceover just isn’t very loud on the Bluetooth and the paratransit van was noisy so I didn’t really hear Fleksy correctly. I tweeted the following:

@Raynaadi – I’m getting notion sink on this transport wide. #vomit

I didn’t know this until I got home and checked my mentions and Steve asked if I meant to tweet that or if it was an autocorrect fail. I thought with Fleksy you couldn’t have autocorrect fails but apparently that only works if you can really hear Voiceover well. Lesson learned, next time I’ll turn spell mode on when surroundings are loud. It sure made for a great belly laugh though when I really really needed a good belly laugh. I favorited the tweet for future laughs. I’ll definitely include it in the audio though since it’s funny to hear Voiceover say it.

It’s 4:54. I think I’ll edit and see what we’ve got.

I heard a Twitter mention and a DM. Wow both! I also have that Call Me Maybe song in my head. I started thinking about the Rays rookies dance number and now that song is in my head. *Shakes fist* damn you James Shields! I’ll get you! And your little meddling kids too! Or dog. Kids? Dog. Ding don the witch is dead! Another mention, shiny! Ok, that’s a wrap. A 30. It’s 5:16am. Do you know where your slippers are?

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Filed under assistive technologies, baseball, coffeeholic, doc, funnies, gratitude, humor as coping skill, Jayden, mental health, rambles, random stuff, screen reader, Sleep Deprived Fun, treat for me, twitter me this, Voiceover, workouts

Demo: The Awesome ootunes radio app

I am in love with this app! I had planned on blogging about it and decided it needed a demo so now there’s going to be both. I found ootunes thanks to this AppleVis post about it. I explain in the demo why it appealed to me after I read that link. There’s all the information you need about the app there, the ootunes website, App Store link etc. It has the support email address which I used the other day. I talk about that in the demo as well.

There are some things I didn’t mention in the demo or that I want to elaborate on that I noticed when I listened to it:

*I forgot to mention that I favorited all the local sports stations so I might actually get into Arizona sports! I’m excited about this since I used to be a pretty dedicated Wildcats fan in my youth. Baseball has spoiled me now and the only way to listen to sports is with radio. I can do online radio broadcast of college sports but then I can’t really multitask well since I can rarely control the volume on those feeds. So now I’ll have radio feeds on my phone and can just use my bluetooth! I’m very excited.

*I failed to mention how accessible this app is though I’m sure you can tell on the demo. The developer has made a point of making things accessible and this is even mentioned on their app description. This is very cool since I rarely notice that. It seems most apps don’t want to mention that dirty little secret of Voiceover. I’m sure that’s not how those developers see it but I kinda do, and I find it very cool that ootunes advertises Voiceover accessibility.

*I should mention that I have experienced app crashes, but that mostly seemed to happen the night I was doing a lot of favorites adding and starting and stopping. It doesn’t seem to happen during regular usage. Also sometimes the feeds dip out for about twenty or thirty seconds but they almost always come back. That’s just the nature of wireless I think. That always happened with my baseball games until I went hardwired.

*The favoriting part of the demo was confusing, but that’s because I think the favorites feature is a bit confusing. It would be nice if you could add to a favorites group from the get go, but you have to add the favorite and then add to the group. I’m not complaining, I love this app too much. I think I’m going to suggest that to the developer though.

So, if you’ve got thirty-five minutes, come join me as I stumble around this app a bit since I’m still novice, listen as I experience my first “worldly” station, laugh along with some comedy, walk with me down memory lane while I reminisce about cassette tapes and other random ramblings.

ootunes demo

(The file didn’t want to play for me at first so I just opened it again. I think Dropbox might have changed some things.)

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Filed under accessibility, cool product, demo, iPhone, music, plugs, sports, twitter me this, Voiceover

Hanging with Ro Episode 12 – Apple Style

So this episode is all Apple. I’m just showing some new features to some people who were curious and I enjoy doing this stuff. I’m a geek haha. It’s about thirty minutes or so.

Topics include:

*iOS 6

*iPhone 4

*Magic Bullet speaker

*Emeel Salem

*Random stuff

Hope you enjoy!

Episode 12

Uh oh, I’ve got the new Blogger interface. I think I’ll be able to post, crossing fingers.

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Filed under apple Inc, emeel salem, hanging with ro, iPhone, proud geek, twitter me this, Voiceover

Yahtzee!

I think I’m the last one in the blind community to get on board with RS Games. I’ve tried to participate in this gaming site pretty much since I’ve been on Twitter and saw all my friends talking about it, but I could never get it to work. When they added Yahtzee, I tried furiously with no luck. I absolutely love Yahtzee!

Today a friend was talking about it and I asked if he plays on his Mac. He does. I tried downloading again, no go. He put me in touch with the RS Games support person on Twitter and we finally fixed it. I have to turn off my screen reader to play. I kept thinking my computer was shutting down, but it was Voiceover, it looks like.

The game client has its own screen reader I think, but it also detects yours to use. I had to change my system voice back to Alex since Vicky was driving me nuts in the client. The thing is so cool! You don’t use your screen reader to use it, so once the tech guy told me that, it made total sense. I’ve checked out all the games, but Yahtzee is by far my favorite. I used to play that for hours with Mom and my friends back when I was a kid.

I think the last time I played Yahtzee was when I was a drunk playing on the touch screen at the bar. It’s been that long! Today I played three games with bots, the third with two bots and the fourth game with Carin. So far, I’m four for four!!

I figured I’d better fire off a post quickly before I get sucked back in hehehe! Sooooo happy!!!!

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Filed under Alex, apple Inc, cool product, mom, plugs, screen reader, twitter me this, Voiceover

#NaBloPoMo – First Sestina Poem (Cheese warning!)

Today I’ve been simmering with increasing annoyance over something completely out of my control. Long story short, I let myself get annoyed because I didn’t want to start a project and get interrupted by an inspection that never happened. I could have just done my stuff anyway but no, I sat and seethed. I desperately needed out of that awful mood and I had to write a post for today. I know it’s bad when I don’t even feel like writing.

I was recently reading through Jordi Scrubbing’s blog and ran across his first Sestina poem. He had linked to another who linked to a page explaining how to write one and I bookmarked it even though it didn’t make much sense to me. Today I decided I’d figure it out or cry trying.

I found this page on how to write it, which finally made the concept click. It recommends writing six words on paper but obviously I can’t do that so I instead wrote them in a text document. I just wrote words based on what I was doing and the mood I was in and went from there. The resulting poem is cheesy but I was just getting a sense of how it worked. And you know what? It got me out of my bad mood as the end of the poem shows.

It looks like we might be starting a chain of writers writing Sestinas, so if you write your first, throw me a link so we keep it going. I challenge you to try it! Ok, here’s the unrefined result:

Banishing Annoyance

I sit and wait as Bolero plays
Different things I have done to fend off growing boredom
Time waisted sharpens annoyance
At least today I did not combine it with hunger
The world would be more peaceful if everyone used consideration
I just want to get to my chores

The only thing in life that will wait for you are chores
Lamenting lost time as an eighties band plays
I give doing dishes thoughtful consideration
Perhaps a party with suds will divert the boredom
Sleepiness set in after curing hunger
Attempting this poem is distracting from annoyance

I dislike the feeling of annoyance
After all they are just chores
I’m sure my dog is feeling hunger
I check the time as Metallica plays
No longer am I plagued by boredom
However I still wish they had shown consideration

Would you give the thought of eating squid consideration?
Does waiting for hours cause you annoyance?
Do you find difficult poems a fun cure for boredom?
How loud is your music when you do your chores?
Asking questions as Guns n’ Roses plays.
A song induces past feelings of hunger.

As time ticks by I feel pangs of hunger
as I give dinner some consideration
I must keep writing as the song plays
No knock on the door deepens annoyance
Think positively, at least I got out of chores
and there is no longer a hint of boredom

Baseball is so great to battle boredom
Now I feel a deep hunger
for my favorite sport and not the chores
I’ve forgotten the lack of consideration
and find I’m losing the feeling of annoyance
thinking about the game Longoria plays

McBride plays and I’ve lost my boredom
Annoyance has fled and I just feel hunger
Who cares they lack consideration and kept me from chores

I plan to write more of these and actually add some substance. This first one restarted my day so I’m glad for that!

I just thought about this after I posted and realized I need to increase the verbosity settings in Voiceover so I can hear punctuation in Jordi’s sestina. Hello, learning curve. 😉

Another last minute thought, why does his sound different? On mine, Voiceover doesn’t read each stanza through, it separates each line. Anyone have any ideas about why that is?

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Filed under evan longoria, music, NaBloPoMo 2011, plugs, Voiceover, writing