[bct] Re: Reading Books on the Computer

  • From: "Joni Colver" <joni.colver@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <blindcooltech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2006 10:35:48 -0600

I have to be up doing something or I tend to fall asleep either with human 
narrations or synthetic speech.

I remember once my husband, Skip, and I were both sitting on the couch 
reading Frankenstein on CD.  Neither of us liked the book and we kept 
falling asleep.  Once though the narrator's voice volume increased 
dramatically, proclaiming something about the wretchedness of a particular 
situation and we were both instantly startled into wakefulness.  Wretched 
and wretchedness were two of Shelley's favorite words as I recall.  So, Tim 
your point about varying rate, pitch, emphasis or volume is well taken.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Tim Cross" <tcross@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>

Hi Lisa,

No, I don't htink your alone there. I find talking books almost
impossible to listen to for anything but relaxation as I almost always
fall asleep, regardless of time of day.

When working on the computer and I have a lot of text to listen to, I
have to make myself take notes just to stop myself from drifting off
into sleep. This can be a real problem at work, especially after
lunch. In fact, I try to organise meetings after lunch as I know I
just will not be able to concentrate enough listening to a voice after

I think part of the problem is probably due to the text-to-speech
synthesizes not having enough variation in tone and pitch or emphasis.
When I was tutoring and doing some lecturering at Uni, one of the
things I was taught by my professor was how important it is to vary
your speech, change rate, pitch emphasis and volume, to keep people
from drifting off into day dreaming. Unfortunately, many artificial
voices and some real human readers tend to get a bit monotone in their
presentation and as we don't ahve anything else to concentrate on, it
becomes a bit hypnotic - before you know it your off on some other

It is very hard to just sit and listen without anything else to add,
such as visual cues. Taking notes can help, but if your also using a
speech system for that, rather than lets say braille, I find it can
get a bit confusing with multiple synthesized voices happening at

sometimes I wonder if a small low voltage cattle prod attached to my
chair might help me keep my concentration happening!


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