Holiday Road Rage

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I was a few minutes into a journey across town when the bus driver began pulling out of a stop only to pull out in front of a Chrysler PT. Which is probably the worst looking car on British roads. The driver understandably honked as he stopped. The bus driver stopped the bus then carried on thinking that was the end of the matter.

The bus pulled in to the next stop. The Chrysler, which followed the bus, decided it was a great idea to stop in front of the bus while passengers got on. I don't think the bus driver took much notice. I'm guessing his attention was on passengers money and tickets.

When all the passengers were on board the bus driver was ready to go. Only to see the fat back end of the Chrysler. He honked. Honked again. The Chrysler driver showed his/her intentions by honking back. It wouldn't move. Some passengers muttered along the lines of 'what's his game?'

What happened next is something I have never witnessed before. Well on a bus anyway. The bus driver opened the bus doors. Stormed out. Walked over to the Chrysler and totally let rip. I cant really write what he said. It is Christmas after all. The passengers fell silent. A lot of them gasped. At first at the language used then at the idiot in the Chrysler. The bus driver marched back on the bus while the Chrysler, watched by disapproved tutting old lady's, set off slowly pulling into another road. Leaving the old lady's asking themselves if the driver was drunk.

The meaning of the story is: chill out its the holidays.
Heres some Christmas stress tip links:

Text to Speech on ubuntu

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A text to speech function can be provided with a program called Festival. Used for development and research it is capable of producing clearly understandable speech from text.
sudo apt-get install festival

Install a voice. You have a choice of some voices on the repositories.
festvox-rablpc8k -British English male 8khz.
festvox-rablpc16k -British English male 16khz.
festvox-don -British English male.
festvox-te-nsk -Telugu male.
festvox-suopuhe-mv -Finnish male
festvox-suopuhe-lj -Finnish female.
festvox-mr-nsk -Marathi male.
festvox-kdlpc8k -American English male 8khz.
festvox-kdlpc16k -American English male 16khz.
festvox-kallpc8k -American English male 8khz.
festvox-kallpc16k -American English male 16khz.
festvox-hi-nsk -Hindi male speaker.

Choose one and install with:
sudo apt-get install chosenpackagefromabove

To make it say something I make a text file with the text I want spoken and run the following (change the file location):
cat file.txt | festival --tts

Or you can run Festival in a terminal and use (SayText "something"). Keep the brackets. For example:
festival> (SayText "Testing Testing")

To use it with pidgin so that IM's are read out aloud install the pidgin-festival package:
sudo apt-get install pidgin-festival

To activate it open Pidgins plug-ins (in tools or Ctrl + U). Find Festival. Tick it and restart.

Click configure to see the options. Select a voice for the plug-in if you have more than one installed. Maximum message lengths is useful. You don't want someone annoying to instant message you a message the size of a book and have it all read out with 5 chats going. Also announcing events its neat if your out the room "Fred is online".

Changing voices can be done by running festival. Type festival in a terminal to start the festival prompt. Use this command (voice_NAMEOFVOICE) changing the voice name to which ever voice you want like festival> (voice_don_diphone). To find voice names of the packages you have installed look in /usr/share/festival/voices/.

If your seriously wanting to use Festival daily you may like to have more realistic voices checkout for instructions. For an online demo, source and other information see

Yet another Photoblog

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For next year I may move away from to a more generalized anything-goes photo blog. So I created It wont have much till next year. If the name sounds strange to you that's because its named after a local wood where iv taken many of my photos. A very airy place. In the mean time I am playing with my own template.