I really envy my friend's Mac for only one thing: the talking clock. It's such a pleasant and slightly wooden voice, piping up every half hour to calmly state the time.
Every now and then, I look around for a Window equivalent. They're all terrible. Or require money. Or are written in MS Basic '95. Or use scratchy samples of annoying sounds.
I'm not sure why, it being nearly 2010, Microsoft doesn't have voice synthesis worth a damn. Apple has more pleasant synth voices emanating from tiny iPods
. The last thing I want is a talking clock that makes any use of Microsoft voices.
I guess what that leaves me is a talking clock that intelligently uses wav samples. Fortunately, there is a fairly decent voice synthesis engine available online. It generates wav files which can be used as fodder for this program (see my caveat below, however): http://www2.research...~ttsweb/tts/demo.php
A TALKING CLOCK, YOU SAY
So, what I'm suggesting is:
- a talking clock
- that uses a small assortment of wav files to announce the time
- example: "It's one p.m."
- clock seamlessly plays:
- its.wav, one.wav, pm.wav (three wavs, played one after the other, smoothly to form a single sentence)
- user-configurable announce intervals (:15, :30, :60, never)
- clock is itself extremely small and efficient, using next to no resources
- clock has an icon that can show in the tray, or not show in the tray, depending on what the user wants.
- clock no dependence on external runtimes.
- hotkey/double-click announces current time
- configurable countdown timer
- alarm clock with, say, three alarms
- the att voice demo does not allow redistribution of generated files. users will have to create their own from the demo or other sources. The developer of this project will have to supply his/her own wav files with the install package. Still not a bad idea, people could record their kids saying the numbers and have the clock regurgitate them back at them, or some other irritating usage.