I'm an avid fan of (and former talking head on) Maximum PC's weekly podcast. But sometimes, that's just not enough audio tech news for my liking. I'm not a fan of other podcasts; that would be cheating. But I am a huge proponent of Firefox add-ons, and I've found one that satiates my need to hear my news instead of read it-surely you'll be able to find a better use for this interesting add-on, I would hope.
The extension in question is called Text to Voice and, as the name (so often) implies, it allows you to conjure up a Stephen Hawking kind of narrator to read whatever it is you find in your Firefox Web browser. Using this add-on couldn't be any easier, seriously. I'll show you just how it works after the jump!
In a time when just about everyone has his or her own free Web show, it only makes sense that you come to the table fully prepared to rock it... with a little help, that is. Or if you aren't the kind of multimedia, Web 2.0 junkie that I'm talking about, then you'll at least want to check out this awesome Web app the next time you have to give a presentation or otherwise impress people with your "impromptu" speaking skills.
I throw that word in quotes, because the Web app Cueprompter.com is akin to one giant cheat sheet for anything you want to type in. Input your text, select a few variables, and Cueprompter will transform your screen into a giant teleprompter--just like what you'd see as a news broadcaster. You can play and pause the scrolling text, alter the speed, and send it in reverse (or forward) to catch up to bits and pieces you might have accidentally missed (blame the assistant).
PDFs. Why do we use PDFs? It's a question I've asked myself time and time again during the following scenarios: my default PDF reader crashing my browser whenever I erroneously click on a link to the blasted extension, an image- or page-packed PDF consuming all of the system resources on my work machine, and while I'm spending extra time to convert a perfectly likable file (.doc) into a new format that's compatible with even more people. At least, I think that's the reason.
But really, though, why do we use PDFs? Perhaps it's the wrong question I should be asking, however. Sad to say, PDFs are here to stay. And I must confess, filling out a PDF form has a certain elegance to it (and built-in digital signature support) that you just can't find in a standard text file or Word document (or OpenOffice.org document).
So instead of asking ourselves how we can rid the world of PDFs, we should really be thinking about the various ways we can improve our interactions with PDF files. That's where this week's Freeware Files comes into play. I'm going to show you five freeware or open-source apps that'll hopefully ease the burden you face when you're trying to manipulate this quirky file format. As well, I'll show you a few more features and tricks you can use to turn your own PDF routines into nothing short of a master class.