Blast From the Past: Talking Head

I’m on a mailing list for my old school, and the topic came up of if there are any good online text-to-speech tools. Someone posted this link. Wow, I thought. I immediately recognized the application.

Back in 2001 I worked for a little internet startup called Oddcast Entertainment. I was one of the main developers for an online character application, a prototype that we were fashioning into a product, complete with end-user authoring tools. One of the first things I did was integrate a text-to-speech engine into the system, and as a proof-of-concept I made a demo, which, although re-skinned, is essentially what you see here. I always thought it was a cool little thing that shows off the technology, and is fun and interactive in the sense that you get to hear it say what you type. My original version had a much larger text entry box, and I used to test it on the poetry of Robert Frost and Lewis Carroll. On the way to being productized, the text to speech part was buried in a much larger feature set, and I did not know they kept around a link to this app. So I’m happy to have found this page.

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