Reclaiming Your Commute

posted in: Recommends, Reviews | 0

Reclaiming Your Commute

Getting to work takes me more than an hour.  Likewise getting home.  What’s a guy to do?  Listen to music?  Sometimes, but the radio drives me bats with all the commercials and the DJ’s who think they’re immensely clever.  Set up a play list?  Sometimes you just need your tunes to chill on your way to or from work.  Maybe an audio book?  Maybe.

What if you’re trying to build an online business and you’re losing upwards of 2½ out of your day just getting there and back?  What if you’re whiling away the miles wishing you could do something productive with your time?  Well, I found just the cure for that on Google Play.  I have a really nifty little docking station (GTMax Black 3.5mm FM Transmitter Car Charger for Compatible Models) for my Droid that plugs into my car’s 12 volt socket (formerly known as the cigarette lighter).  It keeps my phone charged and plays audio (phone calls and entertainment) through the radio by way of an AM transmitter.  With this minor miracle of modern machinery, I can use Pdf to Speech Pro to listen to eBooks during my commute.  Once I get home, I can continue to use this marvelous app to continue listening aloud or with earbuds as I fix myself some supper or as a bit of last minute education as I drift off to sleep.  The app has a free version, but for $2.99 the upgrade to the Pro version is a no-brainer.  Take a look at this chart and see the extra functionality you’re getting for just a few bucks.  I believe it would be a steal at thrice the price.

Practical Android Apps
Pdf-to-Speech vs Pdf-to-Speech Pro comparison
Pdf-to-Speech Pdf-to-Speech Pro
Gestures X X
Blue-tooth media controls X X
Find/Replace tool X X
Omits Header/Footers on PDF files X X
File Formats:
  Portable Document Format (.pdf)  X X
  Text European and American Codecs (.txt) X
  MS Doc (.doc) X
  Epub (.epub) X
  MS Power Point (ppt) X
  Google Docs Through GDrive In-app Support
  OCR X
  Search (local and web) X  X
Support is maintained for Froyo, Gingerbread, ICS, and Jelly bean

Here is a short video of the basic features of this very useful application:

The simplicity of design makes Pdf to Speech really easy to use so you can skip ahead past the table of contents and the usual legalese that predominates the first few pages of many IM related eBooks.  I didn’t realize there was a go to page feature, so I contacted the application’s author Jeremy Villalobos with some suggestions for the UI.  He was really nice and gave me some pointers on the features I didn’t realize were available.

Two thumbs up on the customer support.

Two thumbs up on the quality of the app.

In my opinion, this is a real treasure.

To give the app a slightly more personal touch, I elected to use the SVOX classic text to speech engine with the UK English Victoria Voice which I have tweaked to be really sultry and posh.  The base pronunciation gets a little funny, but there is a control panel where you can set words that she mispronounces to the phonetic equivalent.  You have to be a little creative to set the phonetics so that it will, for instance, pronounce YouTube as yoo toob instead of yautoob and (if you’re odd, like me) you can set WSO to be pronounced whizzo.  Some of you might prefer your SVOX voice to pronounce it as spelled W-S-O.  Some of you might prefer a more authoritative, male voice.  I personally like having my eBook library read to me by Victoria.  It’s our little secret…

Affiliate Disclosure

I do not have an affiliate association with the Pdf to Speech application or the SVOX classic text to speech engine.  I just love them so much I wanted to give Jeremy a bit of free advertising.  I really love this product that much.

On the other hand, I am one of the fortunate folks who is eligible to be an Amazon affiliate.  If you have an interest in my in-car phone docking gizmo, I’ve got a link below.  I may make a few pennies on the thing if you decide to buy it.  No biggie if you don’t.  I’m just puttin’ it out there in case you thought it might be a helpful doodad to have in an older model vehicle.

Conclusion

Well, there it is.  My very first review and recommendation.  I can’t recommend this app strongly enough.  It has recouped hours and hours of what would have been totally lost time for me and provided me a rather sassy narrator to make those hours even more enjoyable.

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