Right next to the holiday menorah

Right next to the holiday menorah: Somehow I missed the controversy over our mayor’s decision to rename the lighting of the city’s Christmas tree into the politically correct-sounding lighting of the “holiday tree.” “According to the Mayor’s office, it’s a term to include all things and all people regardless of their faith,” reported NewsChannel 5. As we say around here on the rexblog, when something means all things to all people, it means nothing to no one.

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Rexblog mashedup up as a “botcast” — a new cure for insomnia discovered

Rexblog mashedup up as a “botcast” — a new cure for insomnia discovered: After I mentioned the Washington Post’s new mashup initiative, Post Remix the other day, in a comment on the post, Ted Gilchrist said he was using the rexblog RSS feed in a mashup. (Sidenote: the Creative Commons deed I use here makes it fine to use my RSS feed for such non-commercial purposes.)

Here’s what he’s doing (I think):

Ted has set up a process that takes the rexblog RSS feed and converts the text of each post into speech through an open source speech sythesizer, Fesitival. He then distributes an RSS feed of the resulting MP3s of each post. He calls these feeds “botcasts.”

For example, here is a link to the RSS feed of speech-synthesized (is that a term?) versions of rexblog posts.

Other than as a cure for insomnia, it’s hard to think of a reason someone would want to listen to a Hal-sounding
robot read the rexblog. Warning: do not listen to this blog while
operating heavy machinery. (Weirdly, however, I think if I were a
monotone robot, my voice would sound exactly like the way his feed

Ted has several more feeds listed on the Botcast Network website.

On a related note, John Musser (programmableweb.com) has a round-up of early mashups that have come in response to the Post Remix announcement.

Update: Almost as soon as I posted this, I saw where Doc Searls has linked (later clarification: someone on Doc’s IT Garage blog, not Doc, actually linked to it) to another service, RSS DJ, that’s doing something that sounds similar, I guess, if I’m following this corrrectly.

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