Okay, this is really cool and creepy at the same time.
My Mac mini showed up this morning, and I promptly installed Office 2004 so I could configure Entourage (the e-mail client that unlike Outlook allows you to have connections to multiple Exchange servers at the same time) and get to work. I’ve been poking around at Mac OS X during the day and discovered that Apple included a speech-to-text module in the operating system. This module is easily accessible from any application; just highlight text, tell it to start talking, and you’ll get a pretty decent reading. They’ve got a bunch of different voices to choose from, mostly silly.
One of the cooler ones is Pipe Organ. It’s a deep bass voice with low pipe overtones, and the sample text sounds like it’s singing a hymn. What I didn’t realize is that the voice always sounds like it’s reading from a hymn; it re-uses the musical inflections of the tune instead of trying to develop proper speaking inflections. The result is something oddly like computerized Gregorian chant.
So I promptly pointed Safari (the web browser) at today’s readings in the Episcopal daily lectionary, selected the text, and let ‘er rip.