Eastern Standard Tribe


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  1. Very cool! So, um, is there an app I could download somewhere, and in typically user-friendly fashion, read texts of my choice? Because that would simply be brilliant. Not that Eastern Standard Tribe isn't a good text to start with, of course!

    (Also, it should be easier to pause, in case I want to look up a word.)

    Comment by Nathaniel — February 5, 2004 @ 8:19 pm

  2. This is really cool!
    I've got some suggestions (everyone's got suggestions, few actually write code):

    - A pause button. Few have the attention span to read an entire novel using this tool without a break, and by the time I move my attention to the slider and go to Stop, I've missed some text.
    - Bookmarks, so I can get back to where I was when I was interrupted by my boss :-)
    - The ability to display more than one word at a time. I get the feeling that slightly larger blocks of text might be more effective. I know I'd like to be able to try two or three words, and compare the effect.

    Comment by Ray — February 6, 2004 @ 4:57 am

  3. Ok I'm game...

    here's a quick hack 685kb PC .zip file (right click, save, scan for virus, etc.)

    Sorry about the size, something like this should only be a few K, but I could only use the tools I had at hand.

    Right, it's quick and dirty with a minimal interface. It's tied to the speed of the PC and only runs fullscreen at 1024x768. If you can survive that then it nay even work.

    Pressing escape saves your position. You can bookmark by pressing 1-9. You can pause by moving into the left 1/6 of the screen. Far left takes you backwards. Read the readme.txt

    If you wanna change the text, change the input.txt

    Best I can do for the moment :)


    Comment by Modesty B Catt — February 6, 2004 @ 9:23 am

  4. Oh I forgot...

    The idea behind speed reading this way, is that you just see each word, and the symbolic connections are automatically made in the brain.

    So, it doesn't work if you display two or three words at a time. You're not really supposed to be "reading" it, you're just letting the information get into your brain.

    Comment by Modesty B Catt — February 6, 2004 @ 9:25 am

  5. For some reason, my browser will not allow the applet to start:

    ..."SpeedApplet not found"

    This sounds so cool that I'd love some hints for getting it running.


    Comment by Julius — February 6, 2004 @ 2:24 pm

  6. I'm 37% of the way through, and *digging* this. It is like a direct pipeline into your brain. However, I'd add to the previous requests...a pause after each word ending in a double-quote. It pauses short after a comma, longer after a period, but blazes from one piece of dialogue into the next without a breath.

    You could use this exact same system to read a book on a standard Palm, assuming a good font, size and backlight. It even enforces what the Evelyn Wood people harp on to maximize your throughput: don't "backtrack" if you miss a word...forget it and push on.

    Cory, I'll probably read the whole thing tonight. Even with this weird interface, I'm really engaged in the story. Great stuff. And I'm going to the bookstore tomorrow to buy it, anyway. Whuffies are good, but greenbacks don't completely suck.

    Comment by Bill Gathen — February 6, 2004 @ 5:55 pm

  7. The term ususally used for this sort of text presentation is RSVP, for Rapid Serial Visual Presentation. There are some commercial releases for this in the Palm world of things, and a commercial package for reading improvement and a freeware package available for Mac OS X. (I think there are several for Windows users, but don't know the details.) A Google search should turn up several...

    Comment by Bruce E. Durocher II — February 6, 2004 @ 7:39 pm

  8. I like using the software from here...


    Works well with me, but it can go insanely fast - and I grew up reading Jeff Minter scrolling texts...

    Comment by Tom Reynolds — February 7, 2004 @ 7:15 am

  9. I'd appreciate a pointer to an OSX rapid serial presentation tool -- I did Google and poked around and did not find one; found several OS 9 tools.

    I like this one, agree that some slightly greater pauses after ." for example would be helpful -- and given that, a way to make it run faster. I've always read fast, and had this one at top speed immediately.

    It makes my head itch, I can feel the place the words were going in as though it started a siphon and now it wants MORE WORDS! But I've got to go to sleep. I'm betting I'm going to dream about this app.

    Love it.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — March 1, 2004 @ 11:11 pm

  10. Speedreader comments:

    1) How about a way to jump to an arbitrary point in the text file. I.e. I dozed off for a second and moved several percent. But replay needs to move backwards serially. Perhaps a % box.

    2) How about a cetral steady dot to focus on while the text flashes above or around the dot. With long words I find my eyes drift to the sides and then need to snap back for the next shorter word.

    Comment by nick radonic — March 14, 2004 @ 11:03 pm

  11. At first I thought this would be a fun little tool, because I have always read very fast. But it is absolutely driving me bonkers to force myself to read one word at a time. It's not about the speed of those one words, it's having to read each one. I never thought about how I read before, but this toy made me realize that I take in large blocks of text at a time, and to do it word by word is AGGRAVATING.

    Comment by Lisa — June 21, 2004 @ 11:48 pm

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