Tom, Molly, and Veronica,
Holy synchronicity, Batman!
Without even realizing it, the caller who used the “Paul” settings in AT&T’s TrueVoice to leave you the impressive-sounding voicemail landed smack in the middle of a subject very near and dear to my literal survival. What I mean, of course, is that voice synthesis has journeyed light-years in the two decades since Wargames was released. Yes, I too could leave you spectacular-sounding voicemail. The only bad side of voicemail is that it’s not very well suited for passing along URLs. You’ll just have to muddle along with this email.
I am an unemployed application developer who hasn’t even been invited to a job interview in the four years since being laid off. This is despite my 14 years with Shell Oil. The reason for that is really beyond the scope of this email (and the podcast). Instead, I wanted to make you and your audience aware of my website, www.conchbbs.com, and blog, http://spaces.msn.com/adayinthelifeofaperson/. Both deal with voice synthesis in part. You see, I just happen to be severely disabled, and am unable to speak. Since my job at Shell clearly stood to benefit from being able to verbally converse with anyone I needed to, I was permitted to develop my own text-to-speech application after my managers rejected everything already on the market due to low quality. I’ve spent the last three years trying to market my solution, called Xpress It, in order to survive. The most frustrating part of the whole situation is that even the medical professionals who decide what should be purchased to help rehabilitate disabled people don’t realize that this isn’t still 1990. The voice engine that powers Xpress It is Eloquence, an elder competitor to TrueVoice that still out-performs it. Yet, I feel like the invisible man because nobody notices I’m here and something truly different.