Saturday, March 27, 2010

"Open the pod bay doors Hal"

"I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave" is one of the first things I've programmed my new speaking device to say.

Along with a few other classics like "my hovercraft is full of eels" and "these pretzels are making me thirsty."  Just playing, and learning the new tools.  It's really quite cool, but also a little threatening because it's an alien (ie not my) voice and of course it has even less emotion or intonation than the HAL 9000.  I haven't downloaded the UK voices yet (the only alternative to the US ones) and my favourite is the adult woman, Heather.  Speaking as a typical male for a moment, if you were talking to her on the phone you would definitely be wondering what she looked like.  But it's a bit odd after a while hearing oneself as a woman.

The two kid voices, Nelly and Kenny, are just plain disturbing, it's like they are about to ask you to come outside into the dark spooky woods to play..........Which leaves us with Ryan.  He has this slightly nasal almost New Jersey wiseguy tone going on, but with of course no charm whatsoever.  Because it's nearly, but not quite, a generic East coast TV accent, it's just that bit more noticeably inhuman.

But hey, it sure beats not being able to communicate at all, and we'll all get used to it.  I'm wondering how to deal with the dogs because they don't even recognise it as speech.  I have proved this conclusively by using the words 'treat', 'dinner,' and 'mince' as well as the phrases 'good Lola, good Cisco,' plus 'where's Puss?' and 'treaty treaty treat treat mincey mince dinner time, yes!' all to absolutely no effect whatsoever.  I'll work something out.

Speaking of dinner time for the furry ones,  talk to y'all later.


  1. Hahaha! I love it! "These pretzels are making me thirsty." We've used that line more than a few times. :)

    We actually use Heather's voice on Andrew's ipod. I agree, if you were a guy you would definitely be wondering what she looked like, and maybe even what she was wearing. ;) But I wasn't fond of any of the male voices, and I certainly agree with you about the kids voices! I was never comfortable with them myself. After some discussion we decided that it doesn't really matter to him what voice is used, as long as it's a voice we can all live with. Andrew has never had speech, so there is no comparing anyway to his original voice.

    Have fun! And thanks for sharing!

  2. "Excuse me sir,but your motorcycle
    is standing on my foot."

  3. At least on proloquo2go you can change pitch on the voices, and Heather 'deep' isn't too bad for a young teen boy. My husband forbids Kenny in the house, but it's really hard with the Dynavox, because there are no other adjustments.

    I wish my son would use it more, he is quite verbal, but is more difficult to understand every day... and he's 13, so just a bit uh 13ish... he does like the games though! and his music too...

    Much fun to you A., nice day here and we're off to enjoy!!