December 6, 2019

ListenLater.fm - An Idea to Alpha in 12 Hours

Chris Kinniburgh @CJKinni

Today I was reading Hacker News when I came across an Amazon AWS announcement about Amazon Braket. Amazon's blog posts from Jeff Barr always have these 'Voiced by Amazon Polly' text-to-speech HTML5 audio player so you can listen to the article.

I don't know why, but I started playing the audio for a few seconds and was impressed with the quality, but had two immediate thoughts:

First, I wish the voice was a little faster.
Second, I'm not going to sit on this page and listen to 11 minutes of an article, but I would listen to this as a podcast.

I drove home and built it. And I love it.

ListenLater.fm gives a user a custom podcast feed, and a few ways to add articles to it. There's a bookmarklet, an email address you can send articles to, and a (soon to be released) browser extension for Chrome and Firefox.

I've still got a weekend's worth of work to get it ready for a true launch. But I've been using it for almost a week, and it's awesome. I've been listening to tons of articles I never would have read. I love that I can speed up the voice with my podcast app (I personally prefer 1.5x for the service.) And I love all the new things I'm learning. It's really been a delightful addition to my podcast consumption.

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