Yuzuru Jewell gave me a copy of his newly released program IDOBATA Pro. This is a simple, no installation program that converts text to speech using the built-in Windows speech service.(Reference) It is a standalone program so you can run it from a USB drive.
IDOBATA Pro allows you to point Windows at the Viewer’s chat file. It detects changes to the file and sends new text to the speech conversion service. The result being you hear what is being typed into chat.
The program is designed for Windows 7 and 8, 32 or 64 bit versions. My thinking is that if it run on Win7 it will run on Vista, but I haven’t tried that. I am getting accustomed to Win7 and have not booted over to Vista in a couple of weeks.
I find the tool very handy for multi-tasking. I can listen to chat while doing something else. I don’t have to be reading the chat, which pretty much is an exclusive task.
It is directional, meaning that I can point the tool at any of the chat logs the SL Viewer, or any chat files any program makes.
You have a choice of a male or female voice. My impression is someone is reading the chat to me.
It works amazingly well. I can start and stop it. Plus it has a SKIP option that allows me to have it skip over large blocks of chat spam.
The only annoyance I ran into is avatar names. I have Display and standard names turned on in my viewer. IDOBATA Pro reads the names to me so, I know who is talking. There are some long names that quickly become very monotonous. There are also some names that I find confuse my ability to follow the conversation. Display names that are sentences are particularly annoying.
While the viewer will combine a person’s multiple chat entries under a single instance of the speaker’s name, the chat log adds a new time stamp and name for each entry, each press of Enter. IDOBATA Pro then reads a name with each entry.
The tool appears to be designed to work with different types of chat logs. The lower section of the program’s window is about chat masking. This is about the format of the chat file. There is a built-in default mask for Second Life.
While I have not tried it, the Custom RegEx field should allow you to use any type of chat file. The point of this field is to specify the text the program should not read to you.