Saturday, January 13, 2007

Speed Reader

I'm going to go ahead and post about the reading tool at . The name didn't make sense to me until I realized it was two syllables and not ESS PEE READER. Go ahead and load the rest of this post into it, if you like.

Or ff you're too lazy to check it out, just know that it basically flashes text in a fixed location on your screen at a default but adjustable speed of 300 WPM. Ostensibly this allows you to read faster, holding you to a grueling pace.

It's weird that even with all this new media, writing occupies space on a flat surface. This sort of changes writing to move temporally as opposed to line by line, page by page. I guess audiobooks and any oral story are sort of the same thing, but at the same time, you know, they're sound. So this is different, and a little eerie, at least to me.

It's pretty unsettling to read this way for me. Maybe it's something you can get used to, though. But I can't help but feel like my eyes should be forced open Clockwork Orange-style while that really frantic double-time part of "In The Hall of the Mountain King" plays. Sometimes I find myself simply missing words. This gets in my head and the relentless progress of this word avalanche is soon overwhelming. Also, I'm a very auditory reader; there's definitely a voice in my head that ekes out the proper prosody. spreeder really rattles this voice.

A spate of options are available to customize your spreeding experience. I think it could be made much more inviting and organic, but that would be a mammoth project. I think you'd need to assign time values to each and every word. It doesn't take all day to read "to," but maybe you want more than a sixteenth-note to take in "lantern-jawed," for example. Additionally, punctuation could warrant other consideration. I've noticed that parentheses, dashes and other exotic punctuation are very hard to keep track of on spreeder. I might, in the case of parentheticals, keep a floating parentheses open parentheses to the left of each word contained and then some kind of way to close the parentheses emphatically.

I don't know, I thought it was interesting.

1 comment:

Pico Alaska said...

I tried it and I can see how "spreeder" can be useful. Assuming you had the time to practice often, you could probably improve your reading speed, same way that working out chess moves, drilling on them often, would likely improve your game.