Using a Belkin Bluetooth Car Hands-Free Kit with an iPhone 5

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I recently switched from an iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5 and as a result I now have access to Siri. I’ve seen others attempt to use Siri and until I upgraded my phone I didn’t have much of an interest in using it. However, after a week I realized that it is very useful in one situation: driving.

In order to use Siri while driving I would have had to touch the phone. Not only is it distracting and potentially dangerous, it’s also illegal in the state that I live in. Unfortunately, I do receive phone calls and text messages while driving so I decided to look into purchasing a hands-free kit to use with the phone.

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Mac + Text-to-Speech + Craiglist = Really Damn Funny

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My wife and I were sitting around tonight surfing the Web on our computers when she started browsing the Missed Connections section of Craiglist, which we consider the more amusing section to browse. While she was reading one of the entries aloud I had a funny idea, which turned out to be even better in practice.

On my Mac I went into System Preference -> Speech and then clicked the Text-to-Speech tab. Next, I enabled the Speak selected text when the key is pressed option. Then I clicked Set Key and assigned the text-to-speech function to Shift+Control+S, though one can choose any key combo that’s preferred. I chose “Alex” as the current voice.

As soon as this was enabled I pulled up a somewhat random missed connections entry, highlight the text, hit the key combo, and laughed as the computer voice spoke several lines, including one that read “I may have lost my wedding ring when I fingered your a**hole”.

I realize this isn’t a new concept. Heck, in the early 1990’s I played around with text-to-speech on a 286. But it’s much more fun these days with so much user generated content available on the Web. Typing words for the computer to read is nowhere near as entertaining as having it speak messages from random people in various contexts. We also found Texts from Last Night well suited to this waste of time.

Text-to-Speech Voices for Windows

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Over a year ago, when I was using a different Windows system for my home automation server, I purchased a third-party voice pack. The cost was around $90. I recently installed the voice on the new ASUS system I’ve started using.

There’s not much to this post – it’s just a brief not for anyone interested in using a different voice with Windows. In my case, I purchased the voice from IVONA, which offers several different voices. Just for fun, I ordered one with a British accent (I live in the United States).

I’ve used the voice in Windows XP and its currently being used in Windows 7.