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WB – EAR

Ears Page, (speaking of piggin’ slaves.)

** Re-edited 14/08/2020, lockdown easing. Update: I’m now an official affinadio of TextAloud, and also of the many Chrome extensions, but more of that later.

The reviews below have been left in to demonstrate the rapid advances in TXT 2 Speech software over the course of two years:-


Currently, (as of 01/01/2018), I’m trying out TextAloud as new clothing for my lecherous speaking slave called AMY. A harlot from the IVONA school of pleasure, but Amy’s many clones and extensive voluptuous vexatious and vicarious cousins: have all been re-sold on to the HARPO slave emporium, who are actively cross breeding the stock, and are now dealing in speaking with tongues.

Mainly (cow) tongues, but with a few huge (bull testicles) thrown in on the side.

Travelling onto, and over; the famous South American river, there are many clones of AMY being created there, they’re being re-built and re-engineered to a masterful AI degree, and as such: they are quite good for polly wants a cracker imitations, but fuck-me are they ever expensive trollops to hire by the hour.

My own wild wide eyed pleasure slave was previously dressed in expensive ClaroRead clothing, but in her new TextAloud attire, (at only £38.00p to dress her up), means that she can now spread her wings, by crossing her legs.

In her new guise, she can also cross dress into the realms of the many wide eyed miscellaneous male browsers, but what a rowdy bunch of old drunks they are: which means that the exposure is dumbing my slave down to that of a mere gutter tramp.

She’s become a potty mouth in what the old slapper says.

In desperation I visited the TextAloud’s extensive <boudoir-dressing-room>, to basically control what that wild bitch was getting up to in my name, and to also bring her back into line. As a result, this old Madam is now beginning to get an understanding with the professional Madam who lives there.

Her rooms, (though not as large as the many Masters’ in ClaroRead), are now becoming familiar to me, but at this rate: I’ll be back to dressing AMY in ClaroRead clothing again real soon, just to get some writing done.

Because the story is now coming out of my ears.


ClaroRead Review.

Many many many years ago, this old woman bought the Standard Version  of the screen reader from Claro Read, and did it for the princessly sum of £70:oop. Gotta’ say here, but it was blooming well expensive for what it was: even then, and I got that at a discounted price cos’ I saw a special deal on-line.

  • (Gasp! – still holds heart at price.) 
    • The true price was over £130:00p.
  • (Double gasp! – And flippin horror as well.)
    • And in those days (2009), there was only two versions: Standard and Pro, with the posh version apparently being able to scan in PDF documents: whoppee!

The Pronunciation Editor.

It alone, makes or breaks a good Text-To-Speech reader, and the one in ClaroRead is quite frankly: brilliant. You select the menu item from the drop down in the program. Place your dodgy written text in the top text box, and then fiddle with the word in the second text box to get it to sound right.

The name of (Tra) is a good example. It supposed to sound like the (tray) you carry, but the reader pronounces it as [ T-R-A! ] : as in [ Tra-La-Lar. ] The simple solution is to go into the Pronunciation Editor: put [ Tra# ] in the top box, (the # means whole word.) In the bottom box, you put Tray, and then volare, (your flying). So ClaroRead now says [ Tray ] when it finds the word [ Tra ], and my plot flow continues unabated.

This editing method and vocal model is vital to my proofreading.

Onto other, (not so good), things.

The version that I’m still using, is *still* called Standard, and currently costs £154.80p, (gasp! Now has full on heart attack). Claro Plus is a staggering £190.80p, (grips chest and then leaves room on stretcher.) Pro btw stands in at a horrendous £238.80p, a price that resulting in me being dead and buried.

Just how the flippin’ heck they can justify that sort of pricing structure is completely beyond me.

And remember: these prices quoted are for a single installation license. That compound statement now sees my wrinkled old ghost dropping through the floor, cos’ the other direction ain’t gonna happen; especially not after writing this personal slave finder review.

There is a bastardised version of ClaroRead available called SE, that has all the primary basics build in. At £70:80p it’s just not worth it with it’s limitations on the Pronunciation Editor, but even that knocked down price; it’s far too rich for this tight arsed old witch to consider.

The full ridiculous price list to be found -> here. <-

A big downer, (as far as I’m concerned), is that it’s only Word 2010 and upwards that is now supported: got 2007? Tough, upgrade or else.

There is a demo page where you can download a 15 day trial version here, but I would think long and hard about buying any ClaroRead products, mainly because of their over the top pricing structure.

Digging even deeper, the (Standard Version) from ClaroRead, appears to only support Word, but from the Web site: it also appears that it’s only the (Plus Version) that has plug-ins for Open-Office, some Browsers, and of course Microsoft Word ++ 10.

It’s basically a rip off, (and that was then), now it’s just plain ridiculous.

That gold lined money making program is far too expensive, but it is also a very good: it works by attaching itself to the top right hand corner of the current open window on the Microsoft Windows screen.

Even in (File Explorer), that it doesn’t support; has a box up there as well, From personal experience, I can tell you that it gets a bit annoying, especially with the browsers that insist on shoving their (tabs) up there as well. 

Chrome, (you slapper), I’m looking at you here!

Latching onto the Microsoft Word window, (like a damned limpet), the program reads the words right off of the screen: highlighting them individually, or even full sentences as it goes, (all configurable), with the Pronunciation Editor being very good indeed.

Keyboard Hot Keys encoded: cos’ they blooming-well need explaining.

  • Shift – F8 will open up the settings, and it’s OK: so far!
  • Pressing F7 on keyboard starts the ClaroRead program to speak your text at the cursor in Word.
  • Just press (Escape) or F8 to stop it.
  • The real kicker here: is that if you press F6, then it apparently toggles the F7 Key used in Word for normal spellchecking, to then be the Hot Key in ClaroRead, and the problem is that there’s no indication as to which mode you’re in. It’s a badly thought out, stupid, silly poxy toggle.
  • F9 starts the Spell Checker, but it’s not that good, and being as Word has it’s own, and the program only really works in that Editor from Microsoft: then it’s a bit flippin-well redundant.
  • F12 is the Help key for the program: that must be said, brings up a fairly useless Help Menu, but pressing F12 will open it again, and again, and again! – And yet again if you press F12 once more, – seems that it’s a bit of a programming bug there.
  • A neat tick in the configuration screen: is that you can permanently lock off the ** Capslock Key, and also completely disable the ** INS key in overwriting mode.

** Support vanished for these terminal key strokes in the late 90s, but the useless blooming keys are still supported after all this time.

  • Claro actively push something called Homophones, which even has a set of Hot Keys to access the function. Because of the fuss that they make over it: it really does deserve a more detailed explanation.
F10 will show you all the homophones in that paragraph or in the selected text.
Homophones are words that are pronounced alike,
even if they differ in spelling or meaning, such as "pair" and "pear".
ClaroRead highlights this by indicating the homophones as blue,
but you can change this color in the Homophone Settings.
These homophones can be altered within the Homophones Tab of the Advanced Settings Editor.

The above is a direct pull from the help screen in ClaroRead.

Now, .. I know that I am the worse offender here for that sort of thing, but! – It’s never ever highlighted any inconsistencies in my work, and just shows what could be a Homophone on a page, not very helpful if the truth be told, but they really do make a big thing out of it.

  • So much so, that F11 has been assigned to turn the wonderful (feature), off.

You really need Ginger, which is an on-line tool for that sort of thing, this stand alone program just can’t hack it.


Upside.

ClaroRead does do reading text to you very well, especially if you have a well trained, chained up slave to do your bidding, (as I have in AMY.)

Major Downside.

This company is ever so expensive, and their TxtToSpeech products only work well in the right environments, there are much cheaper alternatives out there that now work right across more Microsoft PC programs than even ClaroRead does.


TextAloud Review.

Currently: the program is at version 4.x, and is in late Beta. Version 3 is the stable release, and costs a whopping £23.10p, (plus VAT or Local Taxes). This puts it up to about £38.00p with a whole house site license. They also offer you voices, at a very good discounted price when you buy a TextAloud license.

I don’t need another house slave, got my hands full with AMY, who is from the old IVONA stable, but the offer TextAloud makes is excellent; especially if you don’t have any local vocal slaves to select from.

NextUp : (TextAloud’s) Page also allow you to review their voices and even give you several suppliers to choose from, but in doing so; I find that I’m still not a fan of the expensive AT&T offerings, as the voices (still) sound tinny to my mind. This old girl personally likes ***IVONA and what they have to offer, but your ear requirements might be very different from mine.

*** Now sold on to Amazon, and being heavily prompted under the Polly Brand: that’s now flipping expensive.

Just like ClaroRead, TextAloud allows you to preview their product range before purchase, but theirs is for ‘about 20 days, with a few extra days to give you a chance to purchase after it expires.’ (That was a direct pull off of their site).

The program proper: is awkward to use, and to my mind the fonts are far too small, but the thing gets everywhere. I now have menus on practically all of my browsers, but not on Pale-moon which is a shame, because it’s very stable.

Using it in Explorer 11 showed me just how unstable that browser really was, with the wretched thing crashing constantly, but I was only using it to test out the menu-bar that was installed on it.

I am also using Fire-Fox 57.0.3 (Quantum), and Chrome Version 63.0.3239.108, (Official Build), (64-bit), .. and TextAloud 4 now appears as a small circular Icon in the top right hand corner, and it’s not without its faults.

In Fire-Fox, the drop-down menu from the icon says ‘Speak Highlighted Text, Speak from Cursor page, and Speak Entire Page.’ And all of them are blacked up and ready.

** Update 2019->2020, because there was so much of a kerfuffle over getting the wayward menu-bar even installed on Firefox, you now have to run a separate program (on-line) to get it to work, which it does well btw.

In Chrome, the top two: ‘Speak Highlighted and Speak from Cursor,’ are greyed out. It is a beta after all, but version 4 does much, much more than version 3 ever did.

ClaroRead watch yourself, this is a killer program as far as you are concerned.

The Pronunciation Editor.

This part of TextAloud really needs working on as you can’t get to it: without opening up the main program screen and then selecting Control: to which you’re finally in the editor, it’s slow and cumbersome. It’s noted in the docs that a global hot key combination can be set up to open it, but I still can’t get it to work, and couldn’t even on version 3. The process is a major issue for me, as the spoken word must sound right, or else the plot-line flow fails in my mind.

As I say: I need to listen to it, re-edit it, and then immediately move on: it’s how I work. ClaroRead does that, TextAloud: not so much, at least not yet.

** Update 2019->2020: The developer took my suggestion to heart, allowing you to get straight to the editor with an (internal) hot key press: brilliant.


Upside.

I cannot fault the pricing structure of TextAloud. It’s quite frankly flippin brilliant, with the slave voices being offered a steal.

Major Downside.

TextAloud really needs to improve that main menu interface, and also their flaky hot keys, do that; then you’ll have a wonderfully brilliant program for all budding writers to improve their work, by proof-reading it for themselves. It’s no good laughing at the mistakes the text reader throws out at you: you alone have to correct it, and only then will your story flow, as it has already done in your mind.


The Conclusion.

It’s a tough one, ..

ClaroRead works exceptionally well, but is hellishly expensive for what is glorified clothing used on a vocal slave.

TextAloud is still in it’s infancy, but being able to proofread this web page through a browser plug-in is wonderful, and pulling that (free-trick) as I’m doing here, would have cost me over three hundred pounds by standing on a cold windy corner pursuing ClaroRead.

As I say: it’s a tough one to call at the moment, the best so far is ClaroRead overall for serious work, but not too far away in the future; will definitely be the next offering from NextUp TextAloud.

Potentially the child program wins by a nose, but it’s a very short one.

** Update 2019->2020: TextAloud version 4.xx all the way since it’s finally come out of beta. With the features on offer, the program has now completely overtaken Claro for cost and stability. TextAloud is now my program of choice when I engage in online editing of my burgeoning books, and also in Word 2003 when I working locally: I really cannot recommend it enough. 12 out of 10 and rising. **


The definition of a piggin. It’s a small wooden pail, with one stave extended upward as a handle. A (small) bucket or similar vessel, especially a wooden one: with one stave longer than the rest, serving as a handle. A vessel of this sort was used as a milking pail.

Also: a (wooden) drinking vessel; a scoop or ladle consisting of a small bucket with a handle on the side; a lading-can, (dialect).

Continued: a small pail, bucket, can or ladle with the handle on the side. (A lading-can). In the colonial era, some buckets were made like a small barrel, but with one stave left extra long. This stave would be carved into a handle, so the wooden bucket could be used as an oversized scoop for scattering grain, or slopping out the hogs food, etc .. etc ..

Think of it, as a very large drinking spoon: { Piggin Hell. }

Thanks for reading, Jessica: Praise be the ORI.

 

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