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The Mac Reads to You

So far in this chapter, you’ve read about the Mac’s listening ability. But the conversation doesn’t have to be one-way; it’s even easier to make the Mac talk.

Some Mac OS X programs come with their own built-in speaking features. For example, Mail can read your messages aloud; just Control-click inside a message window and, from the pop-up menu, choose Speech→Start Speaking. Most Cocoa programs can speak when you use the Start Speaking Text command in the Services menu (Send File to Bluetooth Device). You can add a Speak Text button in AppleWorks, or add a Speak command in FileMaker Pro scripts. Tiger’s Chess and Calculator programs can talk back, too.

But that’s kid stuff. Truth is, the Mac can read almost anything you like: text that you pass your cursor over, alert messages, menus, and any text document in any program. It can speak in your choice of 22 synthesizer voices, ages 8 to 50. The Mac’s voice comes out of its speakers, reading with a twangy, charmingly Norwegian accent.


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