Tag Archives: technology

The Single Most Often Asked Question (FAQmaximus) Geekfest

I have been putting off writing this out for way too long.  I have promised to do it over and over again, but finally I am getting to it (ironically, from a hotel room in London of all places).

It is without a doubt the most commonly asked question I receive via Twitter, email, etc.  “How do you listen to books while cycling?”  I’ve done videos on it, covered it on the DL, etc., but alas, if Google doesn’t show it to you, nobody knows how to find it anymore!  So, here we go:

First, let me put a unique phrase here so folks can always find this blog article:  geekfest.  There you go.  Now, whenever someone asks me this while I am walking out of a church or something, I can just go, “Search my blog for the term geekfest.”  How’s that for cheating?

OK, two ways I do it.  First is obvious:  Kindle.  Kindle keyboard units will read books to you.  So, you get a free audio recording program (like Audacity, Audio Recorder, whatever—there are dozens of them out there), plug the output of the Kindle into the input of your computer, fire up the reading portion of the Kindle, and record it.  Voila.  I put mine on “faster” to get it done quicker.  Of course, this requires real-time recording, so, I set it up to record over night (depending on how long the book is).  Load the resultant file onto your iPod and away you go.

Second, for all other materials I cannot get on Kindle, I use TextSpeech Pro with the voices from Cepstral.  Dump PDFs, html, docs, rtf, etc., into the program, choose to export, and voila, much faster than the Kindle, you have an mp3 of the article, book, etc.  I will cut and paste portions out of books in my Logos library to read this way as well (sermon prep, for example).

I normally listen at 2x speed on an iPod Nano (the little square touch-screen ones).  I use sound-isolating earbuds to cut down on the wind noise so you can hear.  The main pair I use is not made anymore, but there are lots available.

So there you go.  That’s how I read books while cycling.  I have no idea how many I have read that way (it is also how I listen to debates, sermons, etc.), but it’s probably over 100.  Ultimate Multi-Tasking!