Read this to me

Working with acloudguru on an AWS certificate I stumbled across a cool project that I’ve had in mind for some time.

Right now I’ve got this broader idea to…

  1. Take an RSS feed
  2. Convert the reads into audio stories
  3. Smash all the audio stories together into one MP3
  4. Publish the MP3 daily into a podcast
  5. Listen to my fave blogs on the way to work b/c candidly writing is better than interviewing MOST of the time.

I already figured out how to do #4 quite easily. Surprisingly, not too shabby at all. My wife wanted this for Mr. Money Mustache blogs.

The harder step was 1 + 2 + 3. Well now I’ve got a small tool up @ that will take any* amount of text and convert it into MP3.

Hop on over, drop in some text, and get a really good sounding reading of it w/Amazon Polly. The default voice I’ve setup (Salli as of 7/8/18) is actually REALLY good sounding straight out of the box. A few months ago when I explored doing this more deeply, I was a little disappointed that the voices weren’t good enough. Seems like they are going to be EXCELLENT in just a few months/years.

The whole setup is built on AWS Lambda + S3, so it is effectively free for me to operate. Been loving this incremental step towards something larger for now. Need to figure out how to take an RSS feed and send in the right SSML (markup speech intonation) to make the conversions, but this basically hands most of #2 and #3 above, with the destination file sitting in an S3 bucket; so very ready for #4.

In the meantime, it has been great to convert some digital books/long reads into Mp3. Huzzah.

Missing steps:

  • Build RSS feed (feedly is my guess on where to start)
  • Parse RSS feed and get contents (can’t be THAT hard can it?) in Python on AWS Lambda
  • Feed into my existing Lambda chain that takes text > SNS/DB > Polly > Mp3 > s3
  • Take s3 and move through autopublishing steps to put into my personal podcast feed.
  • Identify a triggering factor for this daily + a good time for it to run (somewhat dependent on the blogs?). Thinking IFTTT for now, but not sure.


*not quite sure what the limits are of this b/c the Lambda function can only do 5mins. So far… pretty close to any tho.


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