New Audio Feed Via Odiogo

odiogo.pngI added a new feature to OpTempo today, an audio feed courtesy of Odiogo. This service takes your blog RSS feed and converts it to an audio stream that you can listen to online or store to an iPod or other MP3 player. Being able to take blogcasts on the road with you is a nice feature to have.

A Computer Generated Voice?

Yes, but it doesn’t sound like you’re having Stephen Hawking read your blog. The voice is actually quite good although there are points where you can tell that it is generated. Another point it stumbles on are certain links, odd words and names, software code and a few miscellaneous WordPress-isms. If you have mostly plain text though it should work OK.

It’s Free to Blogs

One nice feature is that it’s free to blogs. You don’t have to pay anything while the mainstream media does. They have an advertising sharing program they offer should your blog listeners get high enough.

There’s a Widget Available

There’s a widget available that will integrate with most widget ready themes. I tried it on my test setup of OpTempo but I didn’t like how it interacted with the rest of my configuration. So, I just opted to put an audio link at the top of my pages that goes to my blogs specific page on their site.

The Downside

While the service is nice there are a few things lacking.

First, there is no catalog of sites that are using Odiogo. It would be nice to have a catalog of possible blogs and mainstream sources to pick and choose from.

Second, it seems that the RSS feed update is a bit slow. This might be a factor if you’re adding new posts often. They have added a ping service within the past few days so that may improve things.

Lastly, it seems to be lacking in end user friendly department. Maybe this will be made a little more seamless in the future.

Do you think Odiogo is something you would use on your blog? Do you think it’s worthwhile? Leave me a comment and let me know.


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Comment by Saedel
2007-11-18 20:44:29

Wow Frank, I think it’s awesome. I listened to the audio feed. You are right, the voice sounded okay, but funny as well. Somehow, the speech doesn’t end in punctuation and it reads continuously. There were also times that it repeated a sentence.

But hey, what do I know? :P This is the first time I’ve listened to a blogpost, imagine that.

As for my blog, I still don’t see the need to use Odiogo or any other audio feed, as most of my readers are non-technical people if you know what I mean. That is why I have to write in the “most laymen’s terms” as much as I can.

Nice post by the way. *thumb-up*


Comment by jfc
2007-11-18 21:13:38

Hi Saedel,

I’m also not sure how useful it will be. However, I like playing around with new things like Odiogo to see how well they work.

What I think would be cool would be a web service app that would pull the feeds you wanted down and you could either have them automatically load onto your portable player or you could pick and choose articles. I think you can do this with iTunes, for a price, but one that worked with ordinary MP3 players us cheap folks like.

Comment by Bob
2007-11-19 03:18:45

Frank - thanks for your review of Odiogo. A few comments on the ‘downside’ elements pinpointed:
- Catalog of Odiogo enabled feeds. Well, this is something we’re considering - including the ability to search blogs/posts by subject. Please check our blog for future announcements.
- Updates. By default, our engine checks blogs for updates (new or modified posts) every couple of hours. It is possible to override this setting through a call to our XML-RPC server which will increase significantly the availability of the audio file. More on this here:
- Targeted users. We believe the audio rendition is not only targeted towards ‘techy’ users. While it’s a great feature for visually impaired and language learners, we receive lots of positive feedback from multitaskers who like listening to posts while doing something else or commuters who appreciate taking their favorite RSS on the go.
- End user friendliness department. We try to be as innovative and responsive as possible - Please let us know if there’s anything we can do improve the friendliness :-)

Comment by jfc
2007-11-19 07:09:20

Thanks for stopping by Bob,

I think having a searchable catalog of feeds would be a big plus. As I mentioned, having a desktop app that hooked into a web service you provided and did searches and automatic downloading would be great.

On the feed, I could be that my feed is still having problems after my recent theme update. I’ve noticed some flakiness with it with some other services.

As for user friendliness, one easy thing you could do would be to provide a help page or popup from your site feed page that gave “how tos” for non techie users.

You’ve got an innovative service so I hope you can really get it growing.

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