IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ review

IVONA Text-to-Speech HQ replaces your Android device's text-to-speech voice with a variety of high-quality synthesized voices for a variety of languages and regions. The Web-based app and its voices are free while in beta development. IVONA includes instructions for changing your Android device's text-to-speech options, and help and video tutorials also are available.


Many voices, one device: IVONA includes speech engines for American, Australian, British, and Welsh English, as well as Spanish, Polish and many other languages and accents. Most of IVONA's voices are female, but at least one male voice (Italian) is available.

Natural accents: … Read more

Speech to Text Translator TTS review

Speech to Text Translator TTS makes a good impression as an accurate and practical translation tool and aid for people with disabilities, but it doesn't provide the same quality translation for all languages. Apart from its main function, this ad-supported app lets you easily copy and share your recorded translations through email, social networks, or apps, including Skype or Viber.

Speech to Text Translator TTS downloads and installs in no time and then greets you with its plain and accessible interface. Tap, speak, and you'll instantly receive several suggestions to choose from, before getting an accurate translation. What'… Read more

Facebook ordered to take down anti-Semitic page

Facebook is under fire from the Anti-Defamation League about a page titled "Jewish Ritual Murder." The group, which battles anti-Semitism and racism, has ordered the social network to remove the page.

"The 'Jewish Ritual Murder' page on Facebook perpetuates age-old anti-Semitic propaganda, and it should be removed immediately," ADL national director Abraham H. Foxman said in a statement. "It is profoundly offensive, has no socially redeeming value, and adds nothing to any legitimate marketplace of ideas."

The page in question hasn't had much action from users. It only has a handful of likes, … Read more

Amid censorship, China requires real-name use for video uploads

When YouTube tried to cajole US users to go by their real names in an effort to cut down on cruel comments and promote Google+, people got up in arms. Now, a similar thing is happening in China, but users there don't have the option of continuing with anonymous names.

The Chinese government announced on Monday that all people must now register their real names when uploading videos to the Internet, according to Reuters.

Apparently, the move is to crackdown on anti-government dissidents and tighten Internet controls. Video sites are extremely popular in China and are said to be … Read more

Review: NaturalReader Text to Speech offers dozens of text-to-speech options

NaturalReader Text to Speech is a powerful tool that will allow you to convert any text on your screen to speech with numerous different language and voice options. It offers a tutorial when you first start the app, which is good because there are quite a few options to sort out.

After loading the app, you can do a number of things, including connect the app to your Dropbox account or Skydrive, load files from the Web, copy and paste, or type text directly into the interface and have it read back to you. At any time you can open … Read more

iPad app makes kids the stars of interactive 'movie'

Speech recognition is a tough computing problem, but Toy Talk thinks it has cracked the code -- at least for kids.

Today, the San Francisco startup launched the latest version of its iPad app, known as The Winston Show. The app is built around the idea of kids having a spoken conversation with a cartoon character known as Winston and immediately incorporating the discussion into various animated skits. It's as if Apple's Siri was the front end for a variety show.

The Winston Show launched in Apple's App Store in September, and it already featured a variety … Read more

Vietnam: Criticize government on social media and go to jail

Vietnam is joining the ranks of Iran, Saudi Arabia, and China, as being known as a country that censors its citizens on social media.

The government introduced a new law this week that fines people $4,740 for posting comments critical of the government on social-networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, according to Reuters. Some people could also face extensive prison terms.

While the law is unclear about what kind of speech sparks government censorship, it does say that "propaganda against the state" and "reactionary ideology" would elicit fines.

Vietnam's communist government has increasingly … Read more

Aacorn app anticipates what kids want to say

For kids, getting parents to understand what they're thinking or feeling can be a challenge all on its own. But having additional speech impairments or developmental delays can make basic communication a serious hurdle.

Now, the Aacorn App for iPad is available for kids and teens with impairments to help empower them to communicate faster and more intuitively.

Developed for three years at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute in Australia, the app is designed to enable children to express themselves more freely. But the app is not free -- it'll will set you back… Read more

Enable offline dictation in OS X Mavericks

Apple's Dictation service offers a quick way to enter text into practically any application's text input fields simply by speaking into your computer's microphone.

This service was introduced in OS X Mountain Lion, but it required you to speak text and then stop the dictation service so the audio sample could be sent to Apple's servers and converted into corresponding text. This requirement made the useful service somewhat inconvenient, especially for entering longer paragraphs.

In OS X Mavericks, Apple has changed this by offering Dictation as a local service that runs on your machine, instead of … Read more

We chatted with Siri, for real, and weren't frustrated with her answers (Q&A)

It's been a whirlwind week for Susan Bennett. She's been talking to a lot of people she doesn't know -- including reporters like me, when I called to interview her this week.

But talking to a lot of strangers is not exactly new for Bennett.

She says she's the voice of Siri, Apple's voice-recognition personal assistant app -- the one that talks to millions of iPhone and iPad users, and elicits a specific type of passion when users talk about how frustrating the service can be. (Apple, of course, in its steel-trap ways, would never … Read more