Over the weekend, I was playing around with the Speech settings on my iMac because I wanted to try out some different voices for text-to-speech. I discovered the magical word ‘Customize’. Apparently, the most recent software update not only added different accents and more voices to choose from, but different languages as well! If you’re as curious as I was, just open System Preferences, then go down to Speech and choose the Text to Speech tab. From the menu you can choose from default or recent voices, or you can go to Customize for an array of additional options. As you scroll down through the choices you will see Novelty Voices. Some of these voices or sounds are hilariously ridiculous and others are flat out annoying. Try using ‘Hysterical’ and any text entered, is then read aloud and is fittingly, hysterical. Naturally, the Australian, Scottish and Irish accents are all good, and the Alien Trinoids and Robotic Zarvox provide for some additional laughs. So, if you own a Mac and this is something you’ve never played with before, all you have to do is highlight a selection of text (a sentence or two), right-click and choose Speech, then choose Start Speaking. Your Mac will read aloud your text in whatever voice you have selected and you can also use the speech settings to have your Mac tell you the time out loud on the hour or even more frequent. Have fun and let me know which voice or accent or language is your favorite!