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Posts Tagged ‘learning’

How to use VocaTalk as a research and learning tool

November 3, 2010 Leave a comment

I’ve been using Google Notebook which is now discontinued.  If you are already signed up, you can keep using it at http://www.google.com/notebook.   Then I’ve recently discovered WebNotes, an online research and web annotation tool (http://www.webnotes.net), and it changed my life.  It allows you not only to bookmark things that you find on the web, but also highlight portions of pages, and put sticky notes on them.  You can access your bookmarks pretty much anywhere.

If you are doing online research, constantly reading things all over the net, this tool is for you.  I have realized that combining it with a text-to-speech tool like VocaTalk to listen the bookmarked web content the next day on commute creates a unique learning experience.

First, you need to subscribe to WebNotes and download the browser addon for it for the best experience.  Also, download VocaTalk if you don’t already have the latest version and request a free beta license.  For the best experience, you can also download high quality SAPI voices, rip some CDs or import mp3 music to VocaTalk.  VocaTalk will use all the installed voices and music in your library to generate a high quality mp3 and publish it locally as a podcast episode.

Once you install these two wonderful apps, you’re ready to enter a new world of self learning experience much more fun than anything you’ve ever experienced before!

As you surf the net searching for interesting news articles, books, blogposts, mark them with WebNotes tool.

Mark your research using WebNotes

Mark your research using WebNotes

Create a collection of bookmarks, highlights, stickynotes.

Manage your bookmarks with WebNotes
Manage your bookmarks with WebNotes

You’ll probably add many such bookmarks before you actually start reading them.  So it’s good to be able to manage and organize them using the browser add-on for WebNotes.

When you want to actually turn the content into mp3 speech, click on the bookmark in WebNotes to open it.  Launch VocaTalk and paste the content into VocaTalk.  Then click ‘Turn into new podcast episode’ link at the bottom of the window.

Turn content into podcast episode using VocaTalk

Turn content into podcast episode using VocaTalk

VocaTalk will present an options pane for you before creating the podcast episode.  Here you can pick music and some special audio fx like positional audio, voice modulation and binaural beats.  Then it’ll create and queue the episode under a podcast folder.  You can start generating the podcast now, or just keep creating such episodes and defer generation.

Generate musical mp3 episode using VocaTalk

Generate musical mp3 episode using VocaTalk

Once the generations are complete, you can publish them locally to iTunes/Zune or just download to your mp3 player.  I like the podcasting better because it makes it much easier to manage so many mp3 files that are listened once and thrown away.

VocaTalk episodes that are combined with nice background music sound like fancy audio documentaries that make listening much more fun and less monotonous for hours of listening experience.

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Reclaim the Intellectual Time You Loose

September 12, 2010 Leave a comment

Have you ever wondered how much time you spend on daily activities that could be used to improve yourself instead?  We do a lot of things like commuting, driving, shopping, working out that are really our intellectual time lost if you think about it, but we’re so used to it we stop thinking about this fact.  So I’ve decided to create this excel sheet to get some idea.

I’ve created tables for three different types of people;  inactive office worker, somewhat active office worker, active office worker.  You can customize it for yourself and see how much time you loose.   Here are some of the results for an active office worker who commutes to work, goes to gym, does shopping, plays XBox/PS3 etc.

Active office worker

Yes, what you’re seeing is correct!  An active office worker could read 102 books or 3387 articles a year if he/she could use all that activity time for reading.  You might be thinking, what sense does it make if you can’t give up any of these activities and more horribly start using it for reading?  Well, the nice part is, nothing has to give, ‘if’ you use VocaTalk Personal Podcast.  Seriously!  You can turn all the content into a high quality media and listen while doing almost any activity.  VocaTalk generates musical podcasts that you can download to your iPod/iPhone/Zune take with you whereever you go.  You can use the highest quality text-to-speech voices on the market, rip CDs, import mp3 music and play in the background.  VocaTalk can also split your reading into multiple hour long episodes, add audio fx like voice modulation, echoes, positional audio for a more fun listening experience.  The generated speech provides sufficient interleave between paragraphs to provide easy digestion.  If you could just listen instead of reading, you could reclaim the time you lost without giving up any of your daily activities.

Number of Articles per Year

Number of books per year

Download excel sheet to calculate your time lost on daily activities that could be potentially turned into intellectual time without even giving them up.