Christmas is a quirky time in the IT industry, all the biggest products are out and January’s goodies are being kept a tightly guarded secret so as not to put customers off existing stock. Consequently, smaller, innovative companies get more of a look in and MagneticTime is one of them.
Designed to cater for the 24/7, always on-the-go society which sprung up around us ever since Gordon Geko’s infamous “Greed Is Good” comment was misinterpreted by stockbrokers globally, is MT1. This smarty pants software lets users listen their emails and Word documents on a laptop, PDA, mobile phone and even iPod.
How it works is rather ingenious. Selected Word documents are automatically converted into compressed MP3 files, while emails are copied into a specially created Outlook folder. Once a new email arrives in your inbox it’s copied across where it awaits processing and translation to audio. Even Word document attachments are caught. When you want to listen to them just connect the selected device to your PC and press the MT1 software’s ‘Download’ button. Bingo, you can jog to the sound of your bosses’ rants.
They should sound pretty lifelike too, since MagneticTime promises none of those scratchy, robotic ‘bad sci-fi voices’ that have plagued this kind of software for eons. Using a technology it dubs ‘Acapela’, MagneticTime boasts names, numbers and currencies are all understood and read with “the flexibility and richness of natural sounding speech”. Quality is in the ear of the beholder, so to speak, but an audio demo available on the company’s site (link below) isn’t bad at all.
MT1 is available immediately for download on PC for $49.99 (Mac edition coming early ’06). English is the only language currently on offer, but French, German, Spanish, Dutch, Belgian Dutch and Swedish are all coming soon. If you’re an overworked stockbroker, lazy assed student and simply a geek for geek’s sake, this could prove a handy little tool.
Just remember, Oliver Stone was being Sarcastic…