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Listening to Twitter

Twitter is a popular micro-blogging site that easily demands too much of your attention for the simple reason that you have to read it. Now you can listen instead. TweetSpeak lets you give your friends the continuous partial attention they deserve without taking your eyes off of the work you should be doing.


TweetSpeak is a command line program written for the Mac OS X operating system. It uses the Mac's built in text to speech capability so it is not likely to work easily on other computers. (Prove me wrong. Will do. --Vartan)

Click to download the program. The program is ready to run from the Mac's Darwin command line. A ReadMe file explains how to run a command line program if you've not yet used this capability of your computer.


TweetSpeak is highly customizable. Please share your customizations in this section.

Speak when Spoken Too

TweetSpeak normally announces when it is checking for more messages. You can make it listen quietly until the next tweet comes in. Just add a comment mark (#) to the "tweet tweet" line of the script so that it looks like this:

   # `say -v Victoria tweet tweet?`;

Remove the comment mark when you want to hear that occasional tweet tweet to keep you company.

TextMate and TweetSpeak Get Along users will notice that double-clicking will bring up the TweetSpeak configuration panel (the whole program actually) and that Clover-R will start it listening. How convenient.

This makes me wonder how different the finder could be if it understood programs ... and if source code had a little more metadata in it that would, say, explain the arguments in a way that the finder could understand.

You Don't Know Alex?

TweetSpeak ships for OS X Leopard and uses its excellent voice known as Alex. If you're running an earlier version of OS X, you might want to use your default voice to read your tweets. Just take Alex's name off of his speaking part leaving a line that looks like this:

   `say -v Victoria '$name.'; say '$text.'`;


TweetSpeak is open source software licensed under the well known GPL license. This means that you are free to use and change it as you like but if you choose to distribute your version, it must be under the same free license. Thanks.

Follow WardCunningham for more cool hacks.





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