Archive for August 2010

Speech synthesis technology

Rereading an article from last year’s August New Yorker, a discussion of e-paper devices and especially the Kindle by Nicholson Baker [1]:

Reading some of “Max,” a James Patterson novel, I experimented with the text-to-speech feature. The robo-reader had a polite, halting, Middle European intonation, like Tom Hanks in “The Terminal,” and it was sometimes confused by periods. Once it thought “miss.” was the abbreviation of a state name: “He loved the chase, the hunt, the split-second intersection of luck and skill that allowed him to exercise his perfection, his inability to Mississippi.” I turned the machine off.


Nicholson Baker: A New Page, in The New Yorker, August 3, 2009, pages 24-30, also available at

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