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How to make productive use of commuting time?

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  • How to make productive use of commuting time?

    I've spent about 1.5 hours in the car every weekday for the last 6 years. After growing frustrated with the amount of time wasted, I developed a text to speech tool that lets me listen to text from the web on my iPod. I use it to keep up with the latest IT news and blogs that I read regularly. At the moment I'm listening to a free Sci-Fi eBook, 'Mother of Demons' by Eric Flint (not really productive but very entertaining).

    I'd be interested to know if others would be interested in this tool?

    I would also like to know if others are suffering long commutes and if you've come up with novel ways of making productive use of the time?

  • #2
    Originally posted by mgladding View Post
    At the moment I'm listening to a free Sci-Fi eBook, 'Mother of Demons' by Eric Flint (not really productive but very entertaining)?
    Dear mgladding

    I think listen to audiobooks, no matter if it is a kitchen book is productive, you are relaxing and that is as important as being productive.

    I do the same (around 2-3 per day) listen to that, I have a list of calls for the car, I check my errands lists before leave work and many many times I listen to GTD in some flavor (GTD FAST or some from Connect) as well as Podcasts...

    I consider my Comuting Time as my FUN time, anything that can relax me and entretainme (with security in mind) is allowed.

    Best,

    Comment


    • #3
      Can I make a plea to people to please stop suggesting making phone calls whilst driving? It is very dangerous and illegal here in the UK (for handheld cellphones) and I suspect in other countries, punishable with a £60/$120 fine and endorsements on your licence. I noticed that DA makes the same suggestion in the GTD book so I can only assume it is not illegal in the US.

      I don't want to preach, so have a look here for more info http://www.thinkroadsafety.gov.uk/ca...bilephones.htm

      There are many statistics about this but I think perhaps the most shocking is this...

      "...if you use any type of mobile be it hands free or hands held, your reaction times are worse than if you were driving under the influence of alcohol. Tests have shown that reaction times for drivers using a hand-held phone slows reactions by 50% when compared to normal driving and by 30% when compared to being drunk."

      Take care, and drive safe

      Apop

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      • #4
        @mgladding, "At the moment I'm listening to a free Sci-Fi eBook, 'Mother of Demons' by Eric Flint (not really productive but very entertaining)..."

        Doesn't always have to be productive, if you enjoy it, do it!

        It's an idea time to listen to audio books, music, Podcasts etc that you otherwise might not get time to listen too. Grab back some "me time".

        I used to commute about an hour each way, but this way by train rather than by car, so my options were greater.

        I would catch up on paperwork, do some reading, listen to music, make a few calls (though I donít like making calls on the train) and with the PDA, catch up on emails, forums and some web browsing and writing in Word. Iíd also save articles from the web etc to read on the PDA.

        I didnít have a laptop but a good pair of headphones, a music playing PDA and good old-fashioned paper/magazines/books were more enough to fill in the time!

        The cool thing with music on the commute is that it can be anything you like because no one else has to like it Ė only you!

        The text to speech sounds a great idea! It is Mac or PC based?

        Best regards,

        Andy.

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        • #5
          Your tool sounds amazing - can I get a copy?

          Your tool sounds excellent - I go back and forth between podcasts and audio books, but there are all sorts of documents I would LOVE to put into voice automatically and then listen to instead of reading - As a PhD student it would save me a WORLD of time to be able to do that.....

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          • #6
            capture tool

            Oh, and P.S. - for those driving, what do you do for a capture tool? I find that, in listening to podcasts etc I get all sorts of ideas about things to go back an follow up on, but writing something down hardly seems safe.

            (I can't WAIT until they finish the light rail system here (Phoenix AZ 200 so that I can do things OTHER than drive on my commute....)

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            • #7
              Originally posted by misanthropic777 View Post
              Oh, and P.S. - for those driving, what do you do for a capture tool?
              Capturing ideas while driving is definitely a challenge. If I can keep it in my head until I get stopped at a traffic light, I'll pull out my pad & pen and write it down. Or I'll call Jott and leave myself a message.

              I'd love to own a car that had a built-in audio recorder that could be activated by pressing a button on the steering wheel.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by apinaud View Post
                Dear mgladding

                I think listen to audiobooks, no matter if it is a kitchen book is productive, you are relaxing and that is as important as being productive.
                Originally posted by AndyD View Post
                Doesn't always have to be productive, if you enjoy it, do it!
                Thanks, I feel better. It had been so long since I'd read a Sci-Fi book, that I'd forgotton how much I enjoyed it. In general, I feel commuting time is time that would otherwise be lost, so am not too worried about the odd indulgence. I will often listen to an in-depth article on a subject in the car, rather than just skim over the necessary facts, which is my approach during the normal working day.

                Originally posted by andyhuey View Post
                Capturing ideas while driving is definitely a challenge.

                I'd love to own a car that had a built-in audio recorder that could be activated by pressing a button on the steering wheel.
                This is also something I'd like to do and an audio recorder with a button on the steering wheel is a really good idea. It may even be possible to find a voice activated recorder.

                For those interested in my text to speech product (Windows only sorry), you can take a look at my Text2Go website. Feel free to leave comments and ask me any questions here.

                Regards,

                Mark.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Research articles

                  Originally posted by misanthropic777 View Post
                  Your tool sounds excellent - I go back and forth between podcasts and audio books, but there are all sorts of documents I would LOVE to put into voice automatically and then listen to instead of reading - As a PhD student it would save me a WORLD of time to be able to do that.....

                  I tried converting research articles but unfortunatelly it does not work well for me. I use TextAloud with natural voice (Paul). Research articles often have in text references in brackets which is very distracting when the text is being read. It breaks the flow of the sentence. Plus there are often other texts snippets such as running head or footnotes which when converted to TextAloud software stay and make it difficult to follow.

                  If anyone has a solution for this I would be interested to hear it.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by David0203 View Post
                    I tried converting research articles but unfortunatelly it does not work well for me. I use TextAloud with natural voice (Paul). Research articles often have in text references in brackets which is very distracting when the text is being read. It breaks the flow of the sentence. Plus there are often other texts snippets such as running head or footnotes which when converted to TextAloud software stay and make it difficult to follow.

                    If anyone has a solution for this I would be interested to hear it.
                    Hello David,

                    You are right. There are some texts that do not convert well to speech due to their structure. I have also found that the success of text to speech depends a lot on the author. Writing that flows well and is easy to read by a human tends to convert to more natural sounding speech.

                    If you would like to provide some links to particularly difficult articles (perhaps via email), I'll run them through Text2Go and see if I can come up with some strategies that may help.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mgladding View Post
                      Hello David,

                      You are right. There are some texts that do not convert well to speech due to their structure. I have also found that the success of text to speech depends a lot on the author. Writing that flows well and is easy to read by a human tends to convert to more natural sounding speech.

                      If you would like to provide some links to particularly difficult articles (perhaps via email), I'll run them through Text2Go and see if I can come up with some strategies that may help.
                      Thanks mgladding,

                      Well pretty much any research article from databases. I don't know if you have access to those. I have heaps of them. If you want I can send you a few.

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                      • #12
                        Hi David,

                        If you could send me a few articles by email that you think would cause problems during text to speech that would be great.

                        Regards,

                        Mark.

                        Comment

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