The Listening-at-1.5-Speed Edition Friday, January 6, 2023

Why AI Audiobook Narrators Could Win Over Some Authors And Readers, Despite The Vocal Bumps, by Lois Beckett, The Guardian

But cheaper AI narration is likely to be a good option for readers who care about cost and who “may not necessarily need the fully narrated drama experience”, she says. “A lot of people are becoming more used to listening to these voices.” And the quality of the AI speech may not matter as much, she adds, “if you are listening to the book at 1.5 speed, which I do when I walk”.


“If you’re expecting AI narration to be exactly the same as someone who has a Sag-Aftra card who’s reading this, you’re probably setting yourself up for disappointment,” she says, referring to the American union that represents professional voiceover actors. She says she expects the book market “will evolve so that there are two different products”: AI narrators and human narrators, just as the publishing industry sells both hardcovers and paperbacks.

Apple Launches AI Narrators For Some Audiobooks, by Dan Moren, Six Colors

Apple’s play seems targeted more at books that otherwise wouldn’t have audio versions, because the rights holders don’t have the money or inclination to have them produced. Apple is also doing quality checks (a good idea, given that it’s not hard to imagine AI getting tripped up by some words) so turnaround time is listed at a couple months.


Apple Fitness+ To Add Kickboxing, Sleep Meditations, And More, by Hartley Charlton, MacRumors

Apple today announced that kickboxing is coming to Apple Fitness+ as a new total-body cardio workout type alongside a brand-new Sleep meditation theme, new Artist Spotlights, the fifth season of Time to Walk, and more.

Use Live Text To Digitize Your Cookbooks, by Adam Engst, TidBITS

Here’s how I used Live Text to scan the “Marinated Kale Salad with Chickpeas and Sumac Onions” recipe from J. Kenji López-Alt’s The Food Lab, complete with some handwritten notes.

WhatsApp Just Made It Harder To Censor Citizens With Internet Shutdowns, by Ashley Belanger, Ars Technica

To ring in the new year, WhatsApp introduced a new feature to help people circumvent government-imposed Internet shutdowns that the United Nations said last summer work to undermine human rights.

“To help, today we’re launching proxy support for WhatsApp users all over the world,” WhatsApp’s statement said. “What this means is we’re putting the power into people’s hands to maintain access to WhatsApp if their connection is blocked or disrupted.”

Bottom of the Page

Every year, here in Singapore, we get two weeks of 4-day-work-week; both Christmas Day and New Year's Day are public holidays.

And every year, I have to remind myself not to get used to them.


Thanks for reading.