Narro – Save yourself time. Listen to everything.

I found Narro through Product Hunt and it’s changed how I read (listen to) longer form articles from the web. In the past I saved all longer articles to Instapaper but I found those articles would go unread for months. It’s a big commitment to sit down with a 5,000-10,000 word article. Especially when games like Alto’s Adventure exist.

Narro is a text to speech service. You throw text at it and it converts the text into a spoken word audio file. You can give Narro a URL and it will parse the content of the article. It even does a good job of stripping out inline ads but does still include things like block quotes and image captions that can sometimes throw off the coherence of the article. With a premium account ($7.99/month) you can give Narro plain text or even send it an email and you’ll get an audio version back.

There are multiple voices in multiple accents which can make listening fun. The voices are robotic sounding though and sometimes words get a bit jumbled or audio artifacts/clicks/pops get in the way but nothing that prevents you from understanding what is being said. I’ve had a better experience using the female Australian accent voice lately.

The best part of Narro is that it provides you with a personal RSS podcast feed that you can subscribe to in your podcast client of choice. For me, in Overcast, you can see how long the audio file is and choose the article based on the amount of time you have to listen. Overcast’s smart speed and voice boost improve the overall listening experience. I also turn the playback speed up a couple of notches and everything is still understandable. Narro will crawl the article and pull out links within the post, adding those to the show notes section.

A new feature allows you to connect your Pocket account and it will pull in those articles and an iOS app is in the works. I use the bookmarklet to save articles into Narro and they appear in my Overcast feed around five minutes later which is just fine for me.

I’m excited to see Narro improve audio quality and voice realism as well as adding their iOS app (a Safari extension would be great) in the future. I love being able to consume a quality article in the way that suits my method of understanding/learning.

Dead-Mall of America

Postcard of Crossroads Mall, Omaha, NE

High-end shopping malls are thriving across the country, but as midtier retailers like Sears and J. C. Penney flounder, they are also dragging down their malls.

The Times article and slideshow are interesting but to see how common “dead malls” are you’ll need to spend a few minutes looking through the list on DeadMalls.com. Crossroads, in Omaha, is on the list.

Source: The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls – NYTimes.com

An Illustrated History of Mac OS X

Illustrated History of OS X

We’re celebrating Yosemite with our new infosite: “An Illustrated History of Mac OS X” takes you on a wonderful journey – through the history of both Mac OS and, well… big cats!

Crazy to think that OS X 10.0 required 128 MB of RAM and 800 MB of disk space, which I’m sure at the time was also crazy.

Source: An Illustrated History of Mac OS X

Made in the Middle

Made In The Middle

A weekly interview website with people based in Kansas City who make stuff. The history page is especially cool. Merch for sale isn’t bad either.

Source: Made in the Middle

Fontface Ninja

Font Face Ninja

Explore fonts within a website, try and download them!

This is a Chrome or Safari extension that will tell you what any font is (actual text, not pictures) and you can even test out the font with custom text right in the browser

Source: Fontface Ninja