I’ve been using and abusing Gutenberg.org a lot lately. It’s a web site dedicated to public domain books, mostly in English but there is variety in other languages too including Beowulf in Old English. You can basically find anything you want that was published before 1923. They have ebook formats, pdfs, html documents, and a lot of audio books submitted by supporters. All the classics are there.
I’ve been reading Edgar Rice Burroughs’s Tarzan and John Carter of Mars books to the kids at bed time. I loved those books as a kid and now despite limited library space and an unwillingness to store any more books in this house, I can read the classics to my heart’s content.
So here’s the work flow: Download a book at gutenberg.org, open it up in konqueror or firefox and when you come upon a strange archaic word pop it into your kdict public domain dictionary reader and peruse several different definitions and usage entries. I’m simply amazed at how awesome the public domain is and how many volunteers have come together to make it all possible. Consider donating to gutenberg.org.
I just noticed that the character of Tarzan went into the public domain in 1998. Is it a coincidence that Disney’s movie was released in 1999? Hmmm.
If you know how to use Festival you can have an instant audio book for your listening pleasure. Run Festival on STDOUT and pipe it to a file.
Can’t compare with the professionally recorded readings, of course, but it helps when you’re reading and driving the car at the same time. I’ll never forget that time I hit & run two elderly women just because I had to flip a page.. Then again, it WAS the Oxford Illustrated. Now I only read paperbacks when driving.
That is awesome. I just installed it, and it gives pretty good results, a lot better than from what I remember of the nineties. Learn something new every day. Thanks.
I’m planning to learn the API for a home automation project. See http://hackaday.com/2009/02/14/voice-controlled-home-automation/ for examples (though he uses Windows’ proprietary HAS API).