I’m a happy camper! I found a feature on the Mac that converts text to voice!! It’s really simple to use and will complement the general ability to expand text size. Reading a page of text that has been expanded to about 40 point is tough with lots of scrolling but with this feature, you just select the page or paragraph or sentence or word, whatever, and listen. There are setup options to pick among voice types and reading speed. The default voice is a guy named “Alex”, medium speed. He has a touch of robotic in his pronunciation. I’ll wait for Nancy to make those tough personality decisions. I’m impressed that it doesn’t just read the words but recognizes the punctuations and adjusts the speaking accordingly. Nice job Apple.
Major accomplishment. We’re having company in the next few days, Simon and Amy, so the dock is likely to be a hub of activity. There just hasn’t been much going on down there in the way of parties since last summer so I wanted to do a little touch up. I have a portable boom box for the XM radio that we just left down in a cabinet on the dock but it hasn’t been played in about that long so I thought it should be checked. I started to pull it out of the cabinet and noticed all kinds of strange dust/dirt around it and within a few seconds large, large, large ants started pouring out of it – out of the boom box. I’m talking a river of ants like you see on documentaries of the Amazon Jungle army ants. I grabbed it out and knocked off the back of the unit where the batteries are stored. That area was super loaded with large, white ant eggs and a zillion more ants. Holy crap. I ran up to the house and got my super bug sprayer set and attacked it. It honestly took a half hour for them to evacuate the box. Was there any chance in the world that it would play? I gave it an hour for the bug juice to work and eventually they stopped coming out. I then sprayed high pressure air and electrical contact cleaner on the electrical interfaces – the power port, the antenna port, and the main radio module port. I plugged in the power but not the radio module – no smoke. Good sign. Then I plugged in the radio module and turned on the power. This was a tough call since I knew the module worked since I use it every day in the house and would really hate to smoke it. It worked, that is it lit up and put a message on the screen that said “no signal”. The fact that it lit up and put a message on the screen was very encouraging. I was operating this all from inside the screen porch on the north side of the house so I knew the signal would be impacted. I unplugged it all and went around back where there was no signal obstruction. Reconnected everything and away it went. Still no smoke and it sounded great and was playing one of my favorite songs. So one thing we’ll have on the dock again is music. I just think I’ll carry it back and forth from the house when not in use. duh!!!!!!!!
As predicted, Simon and Amy came on Sunday and we took them to Persimmon Hollow, the Deland brewery. They travel with their dog, River, and the Hollow is dog friendly so it seemed the thing to do. When we got there we quickly found there was another, large dog on the premises who barked a greeting. The dog, Rufus, was leashed to the bar stool but that proved not much of a restraint and it came crashing down. I feared the worst but it turned out just fine after the normal sniffing routine. Then we noticed that the same guy had a small goat. Simon lives in rural Alabama and works for 4-H as the county Ag extension agent so he identified it as a miniature goat. It just wandered around the brewery meeting and greeting all the customers. Of course River is goat friendly.
Interesting piece of trivia heard on CBS News. A survey found that 29% of the population doesn’t know you can get over air “free” TV – 36% of millennials had no idea. I ran into a cable sales guy in Sam’s a few months back that also didn’t have a clue that you could get TV without cable or satellite. What’s an antenna????