How to make your mac read to you

Sometimes I’ve got a nice big long article I want to read and have to shoot out of the door, effectively not giving me time to actually read it. Sometimes I save it for later by marking it up in my del.icio.us bookmarks, but if it’s something I really want to read, I’ll use this handy little Automator workflow to save it out:

Untitled-1

I set the ‘Text to Audio’ action to ‘Show action when run’ using the expansion arrow:

Showactionwhenrun

This way you can set the file name of the resulting audio to something sensible, rather than have it set to the same thing every time – the file name will appear as the track’s title in iTunes.

All you have to do now is copy whatever you want into a blank TextEdit document and run this workflow – you don’t even have to save the document, Automator can pick it up regardless. The computer voice my trip over some words, particularly some non-english words. But it’s easy to comprehend.

You can set the rate in the System Preferences ‘speech’ preference pane:

Speechrate

I set the Genre to ‘Podcast’ to take advantage of iTunes’ smart playlisting – I have an ‘Unplayed Podcast’ smart playlist with any podcasts with a play count less than 1. That way I can find it easily on my iPod.

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