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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Listen up! Record custom voices on your Garmin GPS

In my day job I am forever going to odd addresses or unfamiliar places. As a photojournalist, this is the normal course of events for me day after day. Often, I need to get to breaking news story locations as soon as possible. After all, the competition can't get there first, right?

So, it should come as no suprise that I rely on GPS navigation for nearly all of the addresses I'm sent to by the powers that be. Specifically, I use a Garmin GPS. This isn't an endorsement of the Garmin, per se- it works just fine, but the people at Garmin now have added something interesting to the Garmin lineup that makes this pedestrian appliance just a little bit more interesting.

Instead of using the the built-in voices that come standard (personally, I like the British lady one) Garmin allows you the opportunity to record your own custom voice commands with a website download called Garmin Voice Studio. Simply download the free software on the Garmin website (found here) and you will soon be speaking into a microphone recording your voice or anyone else's as you listen and repeat a long list of commands given to you by the software as it runs ("turn point two miles, turn right", etc." ).  And, all of this is free of cost.

You could put your mom's voice in here,
but that's just plain creepy.
(source: Garmin)
If you'd like to hear some samples of how others have recorded their voices and just what it sounds like, go to The Mike O'Mearea Show podcast website. The podcast is not only hilarious, but the boys in the cast have recorded their voices for their Garmins and have put them up for sale to their fans with samples that will show you just how they really sound (the samples were recorded in a car as a Garmin was being used as a GPS).

BTW, if you want to add a snarky comment or two, you can do that too. Just add a couple of additional words to a few of the directions (i.e., "hey, bubblehead! you're lost! Recalculating...").

After the voice is recorded to your satisfaction, follow the simple instructions to download the recorded files into the Garmin. So, from this point on, you can now listen to the wife as she corrects all of your wrong turns.

Is that too much like real life? Maybe you should record the kids instead.

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