I find it easier nowadays to use PDF documents and other screen-based formats for my reading needs than to use books. The reasons are that I can enlarge the fonts, I can scroll with minimal effort in a comfortable position (which helps with speed-reading), and text-to-speech features found in Acrobat Reader and the Mac OS X system-wide speech service.
The text-to-speech feature is particularly helpful for me. I have a very slight blind spot at the point of focus in my right eye, probably gained from neglecting to use the polarization filter during late-night moon observations with my telescope many years ago. It is difficult sometimes for my eye to focus on a line, especially if I’m a bit tired. The text-to-speech feature helps keep the focus moving along. For Mac OS X’s Preview application, I set a keyboard shortcut to start reading, although I couldn’t seem to get a shortcut to take hold to stop the reading. Good enough though. I keep Preview as my default PDF application on my system, although I would consider Adobe Reader again if it could address some of my concerns.
So on to my feature requests for the Reader freeware:
- Add a feature to read aloud only the current selection.
- Give me a way to change the voice and speed of the voice that is reading. It is not picking up my system preferences for speech and it reads way too slow for my tastes.
- Get rid of the infernal Adobe Download Manager for installing and let us just download a binary package installer. The download manager does not work with my firewall configuration.
- Make software updates a standard download and install feature rather than forcing it to go through the broken Adobe Download Manager. (No I am not going to disable my firewall to download your security updates. That is the wrong solution.)
The Download Manager really bums me out. This is probably the number one reason why I gave up on Reader.