Tag Archives: synthesis

saydate and saytime: Hear for yourself

I’m going to lump saydate and saytime into one post, partly because they’re obvious cousins, but also because me showing them here doesn’t do a lick of good.


Both are primarily audio gimmicks, and as you can guess, one speaks the date through your speakers, and the other the time.

Unfortunately both are also somewhat out of date — saydate in particular is a decade old — and my luck with ancient audio programs is less than perfect.

I will give you a hint though: For the Debian version of saydate — which is hiding in the squeeze repos — you’ll want to install alsa-oss and start it like this:

aoss saydate -w

For saytime, you’ll need to make sure sox is installed, but I can’t guarantee that will work either, since my Arch version of sox didn’t like the options saytime was passing to it.

As a side note, saytime is apparently only in Russian, even if the flag options are available in English.

And other than that, all I can say is … you’ll have to hear them for yourself.

festival (and fortune): Not quite from days past

I know we just tromped through espeak, but it’s so much fun to hear your computer speak out loud.

If you read that post, you might already have the syntax for festival worked out.

fortune | festival --tts

festival needs a little more attention than espeak did. For one, the tts flag lets it read from stdin, which is what we want for fortune’s output.

If you see this:

Linux: can't open /dev/dsp

don’t cry. It just means there’s a little more configuration to be done. Send a thank-you note to Aditya Arie Nugraha, who had the foresight to paste the fix into a blog post way back in 2008. In .festivalrc,

(Parameter.set 'Audio_Command "aplay -q -c 1 -t raw -f s16 -r $SR $FILE")
(Parameter.set 'Audio_Method 'Audio_Command)

And with that, it should sing like a bird for you. ­čśë

festival might be more attractive to you than espeak, since it has better speech output. festival also has some supplemental accents that you can install, for variety.

And I think that’s everything. Except maybe to remember not to listen to all the advice you get from your computer. It’s just a machine.

espeak (and fortune): One from days past

I’m pulling fortune out of retirement from bsd-gamesagain — to flesh out another console tool with an audio component: espeak.

I’ll be quick with this because I’ve been through it before; I find it amusing though, so bear with me.

espeak does basic text-to-speech conversion. fortune generates random passages of text. Mix them together and we have a random burst of wisdom from your erstwhile taciturn computer.

fortune | espeak

Of course, the wisdom it produces might be a little watered down; I’ve seen a lot of what fortune offers and it’s not always top-shelf advice.

So take your chances. If your computer mutters incomprehensible syllables, take it as a sign from the Computer God. If not, take it as a random twist of fate. ­čśë

P.S.: Take a look at the help flags, if the default voice for espeak is unintelligible.