Musician Chooses TextAloud to Read, Work, Produce, and More
CLEMMONS, N.C. and MACON, Ga. - Blind musician, producer, and radio personality Joey Stuckey discovered TextAloud, and is now an official endorser.
TextAloud converts text into spoken audio for listening on a laptop or desktop PC, and can also save text to audio files for playback on portables like the iPod, PocketPC, and a range of other players and devices.
Stuckey is a blind guitarist, songwriter, singer, composer, producer, radio personality, teacher, and sound engineer, who in April 2006 was also appointed the official Ambassador of Music for Macon, Georgia by its mayor and city council. He lost his sight and sense of smell as an infant as the result of a brain tumor, yet remained in mainstream education and graduated from high school at age 14. By the age of 17, while attending classes at Mercer University, he began his musical career by taking classical guitar lessons from noted music professor Terry Cantwell. Stuckey is now an award-winning musician, producer, and entrepreneur in his own right.
"I was very impressed with TextAloud -- most especially with the quality of its voices," Stuckey comments. "I have a screen reader designed for the blind that I have to use for more advanced applications, but honestly the sound quality is just the pits. I read several eBooks per week, and if I want to read for pleasure, then I only use TextAloud!"
While it cannot replace high-end screen readers (as those offer the added ability to navigate menus, toolbars, and more) TextAloud is an addition to the blind person's arsenal of tools and products. Stuckey adds, "Every blind person should have TextAloud on their computer -- the quality of the pronunciation, combined with the excellent audio quality, and the very human-sounding voices, make TextAloud the only choice for reading Word, PDF, Web, and other text documents."
Stuckey also values TextAloud's ability to export documents, books, or other text in specific TextAloud voices, to audio files. "It's a great tool for sighted people that have blind folks as friends or family," he adds. "For example, you might use TextAloud to send an audio file of a letter you wrote to a blind friend -- or you can record an eBook to CD for the listening enjoyment of a family member in a hospital or nursing home."
Stuckey's favorite voice for use with TextAloud is Mike, from AT&T Natural Voices. "The voice quality is heaven -- simply remarkable," he comments. "It allows me to listen to something I have written, like an article or a blog post, with a more human voice. It's something that is very useful when trying to think about how it will flow when someone else reads the final version. It's even helpful for when I write radio spots, as it lets me get a feel for how it will sound with the voice talent as well!"
In addition to use on his laptop and desktop computers, Stuckey uses TextAloud on his iPod in order to learn song lyrics, as well as to assist him in memorizing outlines for his public speaking appearances. "I just get the info in a document, save it to an audio file, and then take it on the road," he adds. Stuckey also uses NextUp's WeatherAloud for his daily weather reports, and NewsAloud to catch up on the day's headlines.