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Get your own Mac to sing Still Alive


Somebody on Twitter mentioned he’d like the file I used to get my Mac to sing Still Alive, so here it is. If you have a Mac, you just need to open this in any application which can view text (TextEdit, for example) go to the Edit menu, Speech submenu, and select ‘Start Speaking’. You can try different voices by changing the system voice in the Speech pane in the System Preferences. For best results, use a high quality voice such as Vicki or Victoria. Alex is supposed to be the highest-quality, but it’s a male voice, and I don’t think I’ve tried it. Voices that already have their own built-in tunes (such as Good News and Bad News) won’t work. You could also create a sound file of it using the ‘Text to Audio File’ Automator action.

It won’t sound exactly like the recording in the video I made, because I edited the resulting sound file in GarageBand to get the timing to match up with the original song. If you want to shortcut all that, or if you don’t use a Mac, you can get your computer to sing (or lip-synch?) Still Alive by downloading this mp3.

This file is released under a PleaseDon’tSueMeValve-Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license, which is explained in detail in the file itself.

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Get your own Mac to sing Happy Birthday to the London Science Museum


Somebody on YouTube asked where I got the file to make my Macs sing happy birthday to the London Science Museum. I realised I’d forgotten to upload it anywhere. Or perhaps I didn’t think people would be interested, since in general if they wanted their Macs to sing happy birthday, they’d want to customise the name. The software I wrote to do this (and other things) is really still a prototype unintuitively bolted onto an unrelated prototype, with the default CoreData interface, so I’d rather not release it yet. But just in case you do want your Mac to sing happy birthday to the London Science Museum, here’s the file. There are instructions in the file on how to get it to sing.

I also just made this file where you can put the name of your choice instead of the London Science Museum; just search for ‘your name here’ in the file, and change it. It will just speak the name rather than singing it, since to get it to sing it you’d have to figure out how to write the name in MacInTalk phonemes.

Alternatively, if you want to personalise the song while still having the name sung, you could record your Mac singing to a sound file using the ‘Text to Audio File’ Automator action, and then open that in GarageBand and splice in a recording of yourself singing the appropriate name.

Addendum: I just thought of another possibility: you could use the Repeat After Me application (which comes with the developer tools) to get your Mac to sing the name however you do. This is not what I used for the rest of the song, since it’s made with normal speech intonation in mind rather than singing, and it gets quite tedious for anything long, but it is a very cool program and would be great for just recording the name.

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