I’ve been listening to an unusual radio station recently, the just-launched Radio Vox Populi. Built by Blogdex creator Cameron Marlow, the site reads aloud the most recent entries from over a million weblogs, using a combination of Perl scripts, voice synthesis software, and web services. I was happy to help out by supplying the transitional sound effects, randomized from a set of six radio samples that complements the broadcast’s lo-fi style. (Read more about the tech behind the site, and the accompanying art installation.)
In lieu of my usual MP3s, I’ve kept the stream running in the background for the last week or so. I feel like I’m eavesdropping in on the general mood and attitude of the entire blogosphere, lovingly read to me by the computer from Wargames.
For more geeky fun, check out the archive of sound clips that accompanies Dennis Klatt’s 1987 paper on the history of speech synthesis. My personal favorites are the Voder, the first-ever electronic speech synthesis, demonstrated at the 1939 World’s Fair, and the first song in synthesized speech, Bell Labs’ “Bicycle Built for Two” from 1961.