This Wednesday I’m going to let you in on two little secrets about me as an intro to this week’s app.
You may have gleaned from my Twitter feed and here on my blog that I am an info-junkie. I try to consume as much info as I can get my hands (eyes) on because a) I enjoy it and b) it’s part of refining my thinking in terms of strategy. That is fact # 1 – mip is an info-junkie.
The second little know fact about me is that I abhor wasted time. Inefficiencies drive me crazy, the worst one being traffic. I find being stuck in traffic to be incredibly wasteful and so this Wednesday’s app helps to overcome that frustration of mine.
The app is known as Voice Brief. You can see and download it here for your iPhone, iPod or iPad. I tend to use it solely on my iPhone and when I am in the car. What Voice Brief lets me do is set up a series of feeds that I want downloaded when I launch the application. My feeds are as follows:
- my calendar items for work for the next 24 hours
- the temperature in Toronto both for today and tomorrow
- latest 3 items from the Globe and Mail Business section
- the latest 3 items from the Globe and Mail front page
- the last 3 updates from my Facebook friends
- the lastest 3 items from The Unofficial Apple Weblog
- the latest 3 items from Techcrunch
- stocks that are in my portfolio and the changes they’ve had
- my home personal calendar items for the next 24 hours
- the latest three items from The Toronto Star
All those above feeds I’ve listed are downloaded and displayed on my iPhone. I’m driving of course and can’t (don’t) read it – instead Voice Brief reads all the content to me aloud like a customized radio station. The application uses a simulated set of computer voices to read the various updated content items to me and I happily listen away while driving. The content updates itself each time the application is launched so you are always listening to the latest content available. It really is tremendous and fills that otherwise useless driving time, with content that matters to me. You can customize the feeds however you like – all you need are RSS feed links to your favourite content.
Is it perfect? No. There are a few things I’d like to see enhanced. The voices are surprisingly good, but occasionally they lapse into indecipherable garble depending on the word, especially if there are acronyms. The other thing I’d like to see added is the ability to play the audio through my bluetooth connection in the car. Currently, the audio comes out of the iPhone speaker, and sometimes that can be hard to hear depending on what is going on around you. It would be great if I could have the content play over the car speakers the same way my phone calls work. Neither of these two items is a show stopper by any means. Just future enhancements that I’m hoping for that I think would make the app perfect!
If you are looking for an app that can aggregate content that is important to you and play it for you while you are driving, exercising, riding public transit or just kicking back with your eyes close, then take a look at Voice Brief.