Hear ye, hear ye (Nov. 10, 2009)

Editorial Note: When this post was written this blog actually had audio. It no longer does, at least not yet. I had to put the “listen now” button on this post because I mentioned it later. However, you cannot listen now.

Listen to this article. Powered by Odiogo.com
At long last, Casey’s Column is now equipped with audio.
Now you can listen to the blog wherever you are, and you don’t even have to click the great audio button I once spent several hours making.
What is this new development, and how do you take advantage of it?
Keep reading, or listening, to find out.

If you are especially observant — or really drawn to new buttons on Web sites — you may have noticed the small, but great-looking button labeled “Listen Now” neatly tucked beneath the title of this and every other post published on this blog.
Some of you might have even taken some initiative and clicked it.
If you are one of those people, the I-wonder-what-this-button-does crowd, you are undoubtedly hearing a voice, and the voice you are now hearing is reading the same words you are, in a semi-human, semi-robot tone.
Your ears are being treated to this grand experience thanks to a great website called Odiogo.com.
Odiogo is a free service that converts written text, such as Casey’s Column, into audio files which can be listened to straight from the blog, added to iTunes or simply downloaded to your personal MP3 player.
There are both advantages and disadvantages to this service, and what kind of newly-employed journalist would I be if I didn’t report both of them to you?

Here are the advantages I have noticed since enabling audio content on my blog 30 minutes ago:

1. I finally have an audio function.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past that I was determined to become a star in the blogging universe, and to do this I knew I needed to have good content, but I also needed a way to get my writing to more people in today’s on-the-go generation.
So, I sat out to turn my blog into a podcast, which would be accessible whenever and wherever people wanted to listen.
I had some experience in podcasting before I began writing this blog, and I knew the work that went into it.
I made a nice audio button using Photoshop, and a new page to store my podcasts on the site.
Then, I promised you, the readers, I would record my blog posts and publish them there for you to listen to at your convenience.
It was then I remembered the work that goes into making and maintaining a quality podcast, which is why the Audio page on this site is still barren.
However, as of tonight, I have made good on my promise to provide portable content, and it was easier than I thought.

2. Odiogo is free, and takes almost no effort on my part.

The service costs me nothing, which is great since I don’t start my new job until next month.
Once I signed up for Odiogo by entering my blog and e-mail addresses, I was given the code for the Odiogo button, which I added to my blog.
Then, it was done.
Now, each time I post, the words are converted into an audio file and an on-site player is automatically placed underneath the title.

Those advantages alone are worth signing up, but I have noticed some disadvantages as well.

1. The voice is semi-robotic, and some of the words aren’t pronounced correctly.

Unfortunately, the voice reading the words I have written is not my own, and sounds somewhat like the gold robot from Star Wars.
Yes, I know his name, but I didn’t think the voice would be able to say it.
The voice also struggles pronouncing certain names and words properly.
For example, I once wrote about the man who now plays quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings.
When I listened to the post today, the voice pronounced his name “favor,” and I realized in order for the name to be read correctly, as in Farve, I had to spell it F A R V E, which is annoying, incorrect and offensive to football fans everywhere, including myself.
I couldn’t even add proper punctuation to indicate spelling because you would have heard the word “dash” between each letter, which is annoying, incorrect and offensive to listeners everywhere, including myself.

2. Listening to the post doesn’t always guarantee the full experience.

Most bloggers write with a certain style or feeling, and sometimes the voice doesn’t translate that style as well as hearing a human read, or reading for yourself.
Also, some bloggers post pictures in their blogs, or links that make what they’ve written more understandable.
When you listen to a blog, you miss that information.
I encourage you to listen to the posts when you need to save time, but always come back and read them if you don’t understand something, because chances are good the information you need is in the post, but lost in translation.

I am happy to finally be able to offer an audio version of my blog that is easy for both me, the author, and you, the reader or listener.
I hope this proves to be an enjoyable way for you to keep up with the blog.
Be sure to come back, because you never know what you’re gonna hear.

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