I just got my first email from The Ebert Club and realized I forgot to link to it here. Roger Ebert says:
I want to make some money from the web. It may appear that I have an enormously successful web site here. I do. But I’m not making any money. In the years since the site began, my share of the profits has come to a pauper’s penny. The Far-Flung Correspondents aren’t the only ones here working for free. To be sure, the Sun-Times pays me handsomely, although less handsomely since we all went through a “belt-tightening,” so as not to lose our pants.
He goes on to discuss Negroponte’s micropayment future that never came to pass. It’s a simple problem that has evaded that particular simple solution:
The web that we surf every day is not paying for itself, and we sure as hell aren’t paying for it. You read me for free, and I read everybody else for free. This is not news.
If you like Ebert’s writing, or even if you’re not very familiar with it, read more about The Ebert Club and consider sending him five bucks.
Link (See also)
Apparently he revealed his new voice during an Oprah taping. His wife Chaz is hearing it for the first time in this video clip. It’s heartwarming and the guy is obviously very brave for going this route, but it also feels to me like an intrusion on their private moment.
Well, kind of, thanks to a company that custom builds text-to-speech voices. Ebert’s new voice is compiled from his vast accumulated archive of reviews and commentary tracks.
CereProc didn’t need to hear me speaking a specific word in order for my “voice” to say it. They needed lots of words to determine the general idea of how I might say a word. They transcribed and programmed and tweaked and fiddled, and early this February, sent me the files for a beta version of my voice. I played it for Chaz, and she said, yes, she could tell it was me. For one thing it knew exactly how I said “I.”
CereProc is now blending in my audio snippets for “Casablanca,” where I sound enthusiastic, and “Floating Weeds,” where I sound calm and respectful. It’s nice to think of all these great movies sloshing around and coming out as my voice.
Link (See also)
This is required reading as far as I’m concerned. You may want to load up the print version to avoid clicking through each of the seven pages.