RSS on Ipod : How it should be done

So this post has some good information on a product called Ipod Agent.  It essentially lets you have rss feeds displayed on your Ipod.  It also lets you sync your outlook information as well.   I’ve tried this stuff out, but IMO the Ipod display was really not meant for text.

The ultimate “Ipod Agent” would be one that takes your information and converts it to computer spoken MP3 recordings using some of the ATT natural voice technology.  Then you could use your Ipod, as it was designed, to listen to your favorite RSS feeds and new mail.  Does anyone else think this would be the way to go?

Comments (7)

  1. Chris Auld says:

    A good wee while back (Pocket PC 2000 era) I had a little app that I put together that would screen scrape CNN, Text to Speech it, MP3 it and dump it on the iPAQ to take to the gym…… It was OK but the synth voice really got to you after 5 or so minutes.

  2. Bob Archer says:


    Actually, I think things are going to go the other way. I think voice recording/recognition and compression will become advanced enough so that the majority of emails/blogs will be recorded spoken word.

    From there, we will need utilities that can search through the voice recordings. Also, a speech to text engine that will allow you to "read" a voice email.

    The only drawback I see is the "annoyance" factor of everyone recording emails. Not all companies give each employee their own private office. 🙂

  3. Anonymous says:

    Staying in the present, I can read a list of RSS feeds much faster than anyone could speak it too me. Listening requires a whole different type of mental processing to reading. I can glance at a page of text and pick out something that interests me in tenths of a second. The same can’t be said of an audio feed. Just think how long it would take you to read through the top 10 headlines on a news website, compared to listening to a radio broadcast of the same information.

    Also, a lot of RSS feeds are very personalized prose and benefit greatly from the intonation of my "head voice". When reading I can interpret sarcasm, excitement or severity and "vocalise" it appropriately. The monotone drone of text-to-speech just doesn’t cut it… yet.

  4. josh ledgard says:

    Chris: That’s why I linked to the ATT Natural Voice stuff. Its pretty impressive. Text->Voice has improved a whole lot of late. But it’ good to know someone else thought it might be useful.

    Bob: I only partially agree with you. Personally I wouldn’t do an audioblog if I could for most things. I like that I can type, edit, and refine before I post. It would take me too many takes to make an audio post worthwhile most of the time. I also wouldn’t want to read most of the voice mails people leave for me since they tend to ramble. I also agree with the annoyance factor. I would rather listen to music most of the time.

    Anon: As I pointed out the synthesis has gotten a lot better. Click on the link and try a sample. Also, I’m after this app so I can listen to the RSS news while I drive to work or while I’m working out during lunch when I can’t be reading the text.

  5. Alan Wegrzyn says:

    Hi i’m one of the developers of iPodSoft.

    Bring up your query w/ Shadow at the forums or our own at

  6. Weazley says:

    bob: the ‘annoyance’ factor would just be a return to when everyone used to be on the phone all the time. you’d still be hearing hundreds of people talking at once.

    anon: i think listening is quicker than reading on an ipod. not reading in general, but it takes me much longer to read on the pod than on the lcd monitor.

    i think the key in all this is that it should eventually be interchangable. i can write my e-mail in voice, which is then converted to text by the text<–>speech software, and you all can choose which form to "read" my e-mail in. if someone wants to write a text message, it will be converted to voice and then it can be read either way also(or over IM, on a cell phone, by the car, fridge, toaster, etc.)

  7. jledgard says:

    I’m with you weazley. Choice it key. I might want a differeny delivery mechanism for my drive to work than I might want when I’m at home.