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Trevor F. Smith: Speed Readers

Location: Seattle
Keywords: sfbike, memex, speed reader, maps, ubicomp
Email: trevor@trevor.smith.name
Home: trevor.smith.name

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Here are a few example speed readers:

The backstory:

In February of 2004 I got excited about Creative Commons licensed books so I took couple of weekend hours to whip up a web page which presented the hot new CC book at the time, Eastern Standard Tribe, using an old but mostly unknown method, Rapid Serial Visual Presentation. I called it a "speed reader" which is kind of misleading, given that RSVP addresses problems of small screen size and eye strain as well as reading rate.

I posted the speed reader page to my web site and submitted it to the author's group blog and he linked to it which drove many web hits my way, which was a surprisingly satisfying reward for a couple of hours of tinkering.

Roll your own speed reader:

To make your own web page with a speed reader displaying your own text files, download speedReader.zip and follow the instructions in the included readme.html file. You'll need to have some web space and the ability to edit a few text files, but it isn't rocket science. The source code for the applet is included and GPL'ed, so go crazy like Miss Daisy.

Roll your own speed reader, Hiptop style:

At the time I built my first RSVP reader I was carrying around a Hiptop (a.k.a. t-mobile sidekick) so I built a speed reader application for that platform and submitted it to Danger, the maker of the Hiptop. The person at Danger who received the application first throught that it was a reading trainer, then silently sat on it for a few months, and then passed on it. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth concerning the Hiptop, so I don't carry one anymore and I certainly don't develop applications for it. (a blog post with details)

If you are a hiptop developer with an application development key, you can download hiptopSpeedReader.tgz and compile your own speed reader using the instructions in the readme.html file. This code worked on R1s and R2s in April of 2005, but I won't be getting an R3 and I won't be testing it on new firmware revisions so good luck but YMMV and RTFM. You can also just download the PDM and give it a whirl.