text to speech?

I know OSX has all this text-to-speech junk built in, but is there some simple way to take a text file and convert it to an audio file (WAV, AIFF, MP3, anything)?

Update: "say -f foo.txt -o foo.aiff". How about that!

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Mail.app gripes

I'm still reasonably happy with Mail.app, but, as you know, it involves computers and I hate computers. I share hate now:

<LJ-CUT text=" --More--( 8%) ">

  • Every now and then it just goes out to lunch for 20 seconds to a minute. Here's what usually happens: I wake up, start reading my mail, and after I've read about 20 messages, the next time I select a new folder, it just sits there looking like the folder has 0 messages in it. I go and do something else, and after a little while the messages show up. Meanwhile Activity Monitor says that Mail.app is at 85% CPU.

  • Any time I make some big change, like selecting a thousand bounce messages and marking them Junk, it uses so much CPU that it actually makes iTunes skip for 10+ minutes.

  • The "Activity Viewer" window is mostly useless; it shows certain activity, but is notably silent any time the load has gone through the roof and I open it up to see what the fuck is going on.

  • Somehow, my search results are full of all these "phantom" messages. E.g., 50% of the search hits are "real" messages, and 50% are messages with the same sender/subject/date, but they are marked as unread and the "mailbox" field is empty. Clicking on them says "The message from XYZ concerning "ABC" has not been downloaded from the server. You need to take this account online in order to download it."

    So I guess somehow, when I imported my mail, a bunch of crap ended up in the search index. How can I clean it? "Rebuild Folder" on the folders in question doesn't fix it.

    Maybe there's some way to tell Spotlight, "forget everything you know and start over"?

      Update: "mdutil -E /" nukes the Spotlight index and regenerates it. I guess in a few days I'll know if it helped.

      Update 2: Nope, that didn't fix it. Interestingly, "Spotlight" from the menubar doesn't show these "ghost" messages, only searching from within Mail.app. So there must be some other index that Mail.app uses that needs to be regenerated?

      Update 3: Quitting Mail.app, deleting "Library/Mail/Envelope Index", and letting it spend 4+ hours re-importing all my mail seemed to fix it. Yay.

  • Junk mail filtering hardly works at all. It gets like a 50% hit rate at best, and it seems to totally ignore all the hinting I give it. For example: message A comes in, I mark it as junk. The next day, there's a glitch on my mail server that causes it to re-deliver some old messages, including A. Mail.app still doesn't know that it's junk! A bit-for-bit identical message to one that I explicitly flagged!

    I suppose I should just give up and maintain a list of banned subjects and senders like I did before, but I Want To Believe.

  • Is it possible that the Address Book is as utterly, mind-blowingly worthless as it appears to be? Like, it can't figure out that "Foo Bar <foo@bar>" and "Foo Q. Bar <foo@bar>" are the same person? I know that's tricky, given that they have the exact same email address! And drag-and-drop hardly works anywhere. And there's no way to re-order email addresses after you've added them. And and and. Did they have a summer intern write this thing? Hey, it's not like address books are important or popular or anything.

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Today in "Treason at the Highest Level" News

Oh my God! I think the White House Press Corps may have finally discovered its spine!

QUESTION: You're in a bad spot here, Scott -- because after the investigation began -- after the criminal investigation was under way -- you said, October 10th, 2003, "I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this," from that podium. That's after the criminal investigation began.

Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation. [...]

QUESTION: So you're now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore and since then you haven't. [...] When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you pin down a date?

MCCLELLAN: Back in that time period.

QUESTION: Well, then the president commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?

MCCLELLAN: I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.

QUESTION: Well, we are going to keep asking them.

When did the president learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson's wife in the decision to send him to Africa?

MCCLELLAN: I've responded to the questions.

And This Modern World has a handy digest of past statements on this topic.

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playing with dead things on the internet

"Experiments in Galvanism is the culmination of studio and gallery experiments in which a miniature computer is implanted into the dead body of a frog specimen. Akin to Damien Hirst's bodies in formaldehyde, the frog is suspended in clear liquid contained in a glass cube, with a blue ethernet cable leading into its splayed abdomen. The computer stores a website that enables users to trigger physical movement in the corpse: the resulting movement can be seen in gallery, and through a live streaming webcamera."

I love that the web server is actually in the frog. It's the little things.

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Vampire Jesus!

Bela Lugosi as Jesus

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