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A random collection of rants, reviews, and miscellaneous thoughts on everything from instructional technology to local restaurants.
Some time back I posted a wish list for audio file sharing. I was looking for something analogous to YouTube, but for audio only. I found two services, Audioboo and SoundCloud, that seem to work well, and I’ve been using those. However, a third one has come onto the scene. Chirbit is about audio hosting system, and it seems to meet most of my wish list items.
Chirbit as many of the same features as Audioboo and Soundcloud. It appears to be set up more on the Audioboo model, which allows user an unlimited number of files, but restricts the length of of those files. Accounts are free, but there is an upgrade to a paid version which allows longer files. Here’s an example using my traditional test file, my reading of Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee…
As with the other services, you can upload various audio files, or you can record directly into the service from your computer’s microphone. Chirbit offers two other options. First, you can strip the audio from YouTube videos to upload to the service. You input the URL for the video, and it uploads that to Chirbit.
Last spring we visited Biltmore House. I recorded a blacksmith playing tunes on his anvil and posted it to YouTube. Chirbit did strip out the audio. Here’s the result…
Of course, this could be used to violate all manner of copyrights. I wondered if it would strip the audio from music videos, and it did. I tried Was Not Was’s video for Walk the Dinosaur (a song, which by the way, suffers if you don’t have the video with it), and it uploaded the audio to Chirbit. I could then download that as an MP3 file. It sounds to me like the sound quality isn’t quite as good as the video, though. (I deleted the illegal Chirbit file, BTW. Don’t expect a link here.)
The other option is a text-to-speech translator. It works, but suffers from that mechanical feel from most computerized voices. You only have the choice of a female voice. Here’s a sample of a Shakespeare sonnet translated from text to speech…
One other very cool feature is that each Chirbit file has a QR code generated for it.
Here’s the QR Code for the Anderson Jockey Lot Adventure audio file…
Overall, I like the service, and I’ve been uploading several things to it. It does have commenting, RSS feeds, and other social media aspects. You can also add tags to the files, and even geotag the audio with lat/long coordinates. Oddly enough, one thing that is missing is a description field. I mentioned this to Ivan, one of the main developers on the project, and he said that was, indeed, needed, and that should be adding it shortly.
This service is hitting all the right notes, so to speak, and it looks pretty good. I still have questions about audio quality, but some of the other features are quite nice. It’s definitely worth a shot.