Monday, March 24, 2008

Getting Speech Recognition Back into MS Office 2007 on Windows XP

We have been conducting fresh installations of Office 2007 on Windows XP systems. As I went to test things to make sure everything was OK, I noticed (despite the many layout changes in Office 2007) that the 'Speech' option (formerly located on MS Word 2003 under Tools) was no where to be found. I went through many different blogs and tech forums to conclude that Office 2007 does not have speech recognition. I believe the intent is to allow Office 2007 to rely on the speech recognition features that are built into Windows Vista. However, this does not help those of us who are running Office 2007 on Windows XP. So, I began tinkering...

I discovered that, after one installs Office 2007, one can add components that were found in Office 2003, which includes the speech recognition components. Simply after installing Office 2007, put the Office 2003 CD into the drive and start the installation procedure. Choose to do a custom install and then disable the installation of everything except the Office Components (which should run all from disk). Then complete the installation. Voila...speech recognition is back.

Hope this helps!

Friday, March 21, 2008

ADHD...from a child's a song

I came across a great little video featuring a song that was sung by a young man describing his experiences with ADHD. Honestly, I am not sure it was based on his experience but the song makes some nice points anyway. It is captioned with English subtitles so, be prepared. This could be a great introduction on ADHD for students as well as educators!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Website offers text to speech services!

I love new applications of technology...especially when they are free. In my surfing over lunch, I discovered a new web service that enables users to access text to speech support for a variety of documents. The web service is

Basically, the web service allows a person to take written text, a word document, a pdf document, a web page or an RSS feed and have it converted, using a text to speech engine, into an audio format. There are 14 different voices from which to choose including those that support English, Spanish and French. A person can control the rate and pitch of the voice being used. The voices available are of good quality which is unusual for a free product. Once the audio format is generated (which is relatively quick), a person can add it to his or her mp3 player, put it into Itunes, listen to it on the computer or even post the file to a web page or blog.

What a fabulous resource!