Jacob J. Walker's Blog

Scholarly Thoughts, Research, and Journalism for Informal Peer Review

Life Long Learning at 65 Miles per Hour

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I am a believer in getting “more effect for your effort”, as we only have 24 hours in a day, and no more than about 100 years of consciousness with a contiguous self-identity.   Learning, teaching, and creating are some of the most valuable things we can do to have the possibility that our life’s impact will be more than just dust of this planet.  So I am spending more time in my car listening to books, and less listening to news.  These are some practical tips that I have found using an Android phone as my main learning tool.

Kindle Sucks, so Google Play is the Way

There is a consistent economic-sociological pattern across U.S. companies, that the dominant organization in a particular market is disincentivized from improving, or changing business models that could cause immediate financial losses, but long-term financial gain.  I believe this has become true of Amazon, because it is ridiculous that their Kindle app for Android doesn’t have Text to Speech (TTS) capabilities.  But it isn’t surprising, because they probably want people to buy the audio book (through Audible, or in another manner), or to buy a stand-alone Kindle reader, that has this feature.  But, Google Play Books has this feature right now, and I am starting to no longer buy ebooks from Amazon, since they are purposely limiting my ability to experience their books in the manner I want (especially because their DRM stops me from transferring my ebooks easily to a different reading device, and DRM removal technologies are hit and miss, and time consuming!)

Audible Still Rocks

Yet, I still love Audible, as text to speech is still no match for a real human reading a book.  It is nice to get a monthly credit to buy any audio book through Audible, and while libraries in my area have Overdrive, the selection of non-fiction audio books in my areas of interest is quite small.

CereProc Rocks

While no Text to Speech system is yet as good as a real human reading, CereProc voices are getting close.  These voices are not monotone, nor too robotic, and vary the amplitude of their words, to make it sound much more like a real human reading.  And they are cheap!  They were rated highly by this blog article, which I recommend you read.

 

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Written by Jacob Walker

February 12th, 2016 at 11:59 am

2 Responses to 'Life Long Learning at 65 Miles per Hour'

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  1. Why do all that when YouTube educational videos are available on almost any topic absolutely free?

    The Observer

    13 Feb 16 at 7:38 am

  2. […] for the Kindle and Scribd apps on my smartphone, since as I posted recently, I’ve been trying to listen to more books in the car.  I was using a Samsung Grand Prime (SM-G530T1) phone, with Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop).  […]

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