What I’m Testing Now: LibriVox

LibriVox is quite a bit more than a WordPress site that makes its content easily searchable and provides podcast and RSS links: it is a massive collection of public domain readalouds.  In the dark, fall evenings, after too much screen-time and not enough water in the day, I like to relax to a good readaloud.  Some call them audiobooks, but I can get in to the mindset and comfort zone of my J/Ks last year and really develop my listening and language skills at the same time.  Recently I have been relying on MoonReader for Android (which also works another product I am testing, CodexCloud) and a commercial Text-To-Speech voice from SVOX, or the built in TTS (text-to-speech) on my Kindle 3.  Neither provides an inflectionless experience, but the tone and pitch variations do seem repetetive after a couple hours of George R.R. Martin. 

Enter audiobooks.  They deliver a true-to-the-ear experience of a readaloud, and, in the case of LibriVox, are completely free.  No pictures, unfortunately.  Not like the Dr. Seuss and Berenstain Bears ebooks from Oceanhouse Media for iPad.  But those were just ‘books on tape’ synchronized to a filmstrip with a beep, or with a collection of slides in the ingenious invention called the Caramate. 

Want a readaloud for your iPod right now?  Search for a public domain book, click to view its details and download links, and click the iTunes link.  For most of you using iTunes, it will download it as a podcast, and you can choose to synchronize it almost immediately.  Or use DoggCatcher on your Android phone.  Or download the OGG format files and listen from your favourite terminal based player in the latest stable Arch Linux.  But whatever you do, treat yourself to a readaloud right away!

E.M. Forster, here I come!

What I’m Testing Now: Three apps to send media from Android to AppleTV

Unfortunately, none of them worked.  DoubleTwist, Twonky Mobile and iMediaShare all promise to send video, audio and pictures from Android devices to Airplay devices such as the AppleTV.  My not-as-yet-overloaded 15 device wifi network usually has no problem sending video from my iPad to the AppleTV, or streaming 1080p to my GoogleTV (Logitech Revue) from phone or desktop, but this time it just didn’t work.  It is probably related to phone hardware or firmware.  Time to flash a new rom.
Anyone care to try? All three apps are available in the Android Market. All three are free for slightly limited trial use. 

What I’m Testing Now: mysms

mysms is a great app/webservice that uses cloud storage to let you text from Android, iOS (iPhone, iPad), Windows, Mac OS, and even through the website.  I opted for the Chrome extension that is really just a bookmark with a nice button, but all versions provide a unified experience.  Install one copy on your phone, and log in from any other and you’re in business texting from your new iPad or from a browser on a borrowed computer.  The only catch is that your phone needs to be on, and connected to the Internet.  For someone worried about carrying their brand new iPhone 4S to school, but who wants to get that important SMS, this is the service.

Free, as are most of the services I use:  mysms