Sunday, 29 March 2009

The UAF and Monty Python

It is always the same, you are in a real rush to do something and you can bet your last devalued pound, that your machine will play up. Today it is Scribefires turn to be a red bitch. Just one more time and it is the Sin Bin until I have time to sort it.

And talking of reds, I see that the UAF, "The Funny One" side of the Searchlight and UAF double act against democracy have come up with a new way of trying to silence The Home of the Green Arrow. Right Scribefire - off you go. Come back when you want to play.

Unable to silence the Green Arrow through threats of violence they have been clutching at straws for ways to silence me. Today they almost succeeded. They attempted to make me laugh until I died. Seriously. I almost died laughing. Coffee spurted from every orifice in my body and my entrails almost burst from my body as it was wracked with side splitting laughter.

Let me get a replacement coffee first, roll up a cigarette and then we are good to go.

Right then, do not say I did not warn you. You have had ample time to remove all liquids away from your machine.

Checking out one of the red shite site forums that remind me of an old American Ghost town inhabited only by two crazed maniacs called Denise Garside and Atreus, I came across the following thread where they are discussing how to try and catch up with the British National Party in the Cyber War. Here we go...

First Norfolk Unity podcast

Denise and myself have been breaking our heads over this, but we think we've come up with something that works.

There aren't any intros or stings yet, but we've got copyright cleared on some we like, and this first cast is all speech.

We're not interested in comments on the content, just on presentation, voice modulation, intelligability, listenability.

We like the Radio 4 kind of presentation but you might not.

We reckon that a 30 minute webcast would come in at between 12-15 mb in good quality MP3 format. This one is 8:44 minutes long and the file size is 3.5 mb.

If this comes off we could, with a bit of cooperation, widen it out to include AF music, discussion inserts, etc. But we need to walk before we run.

Anyway here's a link to save going to Norfolk Unity. It should open up Windows Media Player in Internet Explorer, but you might need to set Firefox to use WMP instead of Quicktime.

Let us know what you think.

Re: First Norfolk Unity podcast

Don't think the synthesised computer voice works.

Lancaster Unity
Re: First Norfolk Unity podcast

Love it. Very neat indeed. Smiley

Re: First Norfolk Unity podcast

Don't think the synthesised computer voice works.

We loved our little Indian-accented voice.

We've got other voices (and they aren't cheap), all of them better than the regular MS synthesised voice.

It looks simple to start with - just paste in your text and off you go. There is, though, a lot more to it than that - we spent a lot of time matching phenomes to come as close to natural speech as possible, but some things defeated us. We couldn't get it to pronounce "Dagenham" for love nor money, no matter what we tried. And everything is controlled with XML commands - pitch, speed, emphasis, pauses, etc.

We're not displeased with the one we put up to test the water with, but it's quite a learning curve and we're somewhere near the bottom of it. That file did seem to lose something in the conversion from WAV to MP3 though - its seems faster, the clarity suffered, and a wobble seems to have come into the voices that wasn't there in the WAV.

Unity News
Re: First Norfolk Unity podcast

Not being funny but why the computerised voice in the first place?

Kirklees Unity
Re: First Norfolk Unity podcast

Kirklees Unity wrote on Feb 17th, 2009, 9:47pm:
Not being funny but why the computerised voice in the first place?

Because none of us has good modulation - and I've got a Norfolk accent, Marion has a Fen accent, Atreus has a West Midland twang.

As this stands I don't think it would do much more than provide an easy means of making blogposts more accessible to those with bad eyesight, or who don't want to sit in from of a computer reading.

Unity News
Re: First Norfolk Unity podcast

Surely, as a former Beeb gal, you could do this better in your best Pimms-on-the-terrace accent, Denise?

OK me now. There was a lot more of the same but the above gives you the drift.
First thing I done was to download the two MP3 files originally referred to.

But before that, I want you to consider this, and remember these maniacs are being serious.

They fret about doing the podcast themselves because, basically their accents are too British.

I've got a Norfolk accent, Marion has a Fen accent, Atreus has a West Midland twang.
And of course, full of self loathing for being born white, they decide to go for the "We loved our little Indian-accented voice."

Right. No need to give you the link to the test file, that was funny but better was their finished polished product. Start the day off with a laugh and go listen to the News Digest from the Bizzaro World of the UAF.

Now let's go get the next two articles, one by our popular Mister Fox and the other from our fairly new writer from Scotland, Elizabeth.