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12/7/2005
01:44 PM
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Want To Review That E-mail? Take It With You On Your iPod

MagneticTime software allows you to convert E-mails and Word documents into audio files.

Would you like to listen to E-mails from that particularly irritating co-worker during your evening workout? How about reviewing that document in which your boss threatens to fire you while waiting for your annual check-up or stretching in yoga class. Or maybe during a dull sermon in church?

You'll get to do all those things and more if you start treating your E-mail and Word documents like MP3 files and loading them onto your iPod. Software from MagneticTime in Limerick, Ireland, can "audioize" your E-mail and Word documents by converting them to MP3 files so you can take them wherever you go.

The conversion software, MT1, is designed to take advantage of the standard features of any MP3 player, which means you can play audio files on your PC, personal digital assistant, or cell phone as well as an iPod.

Richard O'Donnell, CEO of MagneticTime, says the sound of its audio files is much better than the "bad sci-fi movie voices" that represented automated text-to-speech efforts in the past. MagneticTime, whose slogan is "Knowledge without effort," uses high-quality speech conversion technology from the Acapela Group, which produces natural sounding voices, not "tin can" voices, he says.

MT1 runs on Windows and works with Microsoft Outlook. It is priced at $49.99 or "less than a couple of iPod cables," O'Donnell says. MT1 converts text to English speech. Other languages will follow with the MT2 version in 2006. Languages on the list include French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Belgian, and Swedish. A version for the Macintosh is slated for early 2006.

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