Thursday, August 30, 2018

lifehack: browser or mac voice synth as PT coach timer

Giving computers a voice has been since the 80s - I remember S.A.M. (Software Automatic Mouth) on my Commodore 64, SBTalker on PCs, and Macs have had it for a while - in OSX you can open up a terminal and type "say whatever".  (Plus there's a variety of voices and accents you can download and have fun with)

It turns out most browsers, including on iPhone, have the same ability:

I thought of this when thinking I'd like a soundtrack to do some Physical Therapy exercises against - a simple, flexible, countdown timer, so I can do the simple reps of "do this, hold for ten seconds, repeat" and not lose track.

I started developing this idea on the Mac using the "say" command - that had the option to insert "[[slnc 1000]]" commands to pause for one second (1000 ms), but it turns out that special command wasn't universal across browsers on different OSes, so I ended up having to build a better UI and managing the time gaps manually - you can see the results here at my Customizable PT Reps Vocalizer

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