What do Greg Newby, the Stinkers, Project Gutenberg, AI, and Microsoft Azure all have in common? AI-generated book narration for free audiobooks.
Check out this Microsoft Customer Story and short video
The story showcases Greg and the Stinkypup gang going out for a mush from our house overlooking Lake Laberge in the Yukon.
Greg is a big reader, known for being rather bookish and occasionally pedantic. Since 1991, he has been part of Project Gutenberg. This is perhaps the oldest online content project, initiated in 1971 when Michael Hart typed the “US Declaration of Independence” on a mainframe computer at the University of Illinois.
The story and video describes how Greg worked with a team from Microsoft that converted thousands of Project Gutenberg electronic books to audio books.
All these new audiobooks are freely available from The Internet Archive as well as some of the popular podcast platforms.
These audio books were made automatically, using a few different software tools from Microsoft. They are much more listenable than earlier efforts Greg was involved with for Project Gutenberg’s text-to-speech audio.
Microsoft sent up a Seattle-based film crew in the spring, and they spent a whole day on the trails with Greg and Ilana. The video has some great footage of Greg taking a team out, including some cool drone shots. It also shows Greg walking Floppy and Moose down to Lake Laberge, to sit in the snow and listen to Jack London’s “Call of the Wild.”
The team at Microsoft and the film crew were great to work with.