The Ultimate Gift On A Really Tight Budget

  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |

Coming up with a really great gift idea for someone that isn't going to be a budget buster is a tough call. This week I got some suggestions mailed to me for gifts under $100. Looking the list over, I deleted it.

There we're several reasons for my rejection.

1.The offerings we're a bit narrow in scope for the 'average' person.
2.Even at $90 or so dollars, times the folks on the gift list, it can start to add up.

If you have 10 people on a certain list, the difference between $90 and $50 comes out to $400!

And generally speaking, the geek in me likes to give something that is really useful, everyday. Add to that my belief that a gift is something unusual, and memorable.

All this makes for a pretty tall order to fill. And I have something that meets all these requirements. Its a screen reader. I've have purchased every one, and I'll give you my pick in a moment. First let me tell you what a screen reader can do for you or almost anyone on your gift list.

The technical term for this is TTS, or Text To Speech.

You don't have to be visually impaired to find great value in TTS. Think of how much time you or the people on your gift list spend in front of the computer screen. Even a light user gives the computer an hour a day.

A TTS program will take the written (on a computer) word, and translate that to a human voice. This can be done in most of the human languages out there. This frees the user from having to read the screen.

A good TTS program does not have to deliver the screen live. The option to save the audio to an MP3 file and downloading to something like an iPod or other MP3 player allows the user to take data away from the computer screen and still get what they want, while doing something else, say, mowing the lawn, walking the dog, or commuting.

This is a great way to get the newspaper, or technical work off the screen, freeing the lucky recipient to do something else. And if that something else is enjoyable, learning new material can happen more quickly.

As of this date, I have not done the research into TTS options for the Mac. I have tried every known TTS for Windows computers. And the clear cut winner is Text Aloud. It is very light on computer hardware needs. A 200 Mhz or better Pentium and 64 MB of RAM, with 10 MB of disk space and a sound card. Windows versions from Windows 95 through Vista are supported.

Speaking of support, the publisher, NextUp.com has got to be the best I have ever experienced!

Oh yeah, that budget thing. Text Aloud is well under $50. USD. It reads all your Office documents, PDF's and even web pages. Give it a try. It may well free up time for the person you give it to as a gift, or for yourself.

Tcat Houser is a trainer in Information Technology as well as assisting people understand the most complex computer all, the human brain. This necessitates his being a professional Road warrior.

As A Certified Technical Trainer and Subject Matter Expert (SME) @ TRCB.com it can be difficult to figure out what Tcat is currently researching.

See my lastest work at TRCBVideos.com - Convert Articles, Reviews into Videos Automagically.

Article Rating (4 stars):
  • article full star
  • article full star
  • article full star
  • article full star
  • article no star
Rate this Article:
  • Article Word Count: 500
  • |
  • Total Views: 201
  • |
  • permalink
  • Print Article |
  • Send to a Friend |
  • |
  • Add to Google |
>