Motoko Rich of the New York Times recently released the first of what will be a series of articles addressing online reading and the movement away from traditional forms of reading (i.e. books, newspapers, journals). I won’t go into a huge rant here as the article is quite lengthy and very detailed. But to summarize the debate; our youth are moving towards reading online much more often than picking up books. Some people believe that this is in fact reducing attention spans, comprehension and is in effect having a negative impact on students grades at school. The other side of the debate states that the internet is actually a healthy source of reading material. Online readers are able to take in much more information from a wide array of sources and can engage in ‘conversations’ about content rather than being an empty vessle that is imparted knowledge. My personal belief is that online reading is actually making us smarter, but the key is to get to the right information and not get off track (which can happen very easily on the internet). What Spreed is trying to do is allow everyone to blast through the large amount of information found on the net, while at the same time increasing comprehension. I would not agree that comprehension necessarily is lower when reading a traditional book, but numerous studies have shown that the traditonal form factor is not conducive to ‘smart’ reading. New technologies, especially those found online can definitely overcome these barriers. I say, don’t be afraid to change the status quo, but always be weiry of where we are heading.
Motoko’s Article can be found here
Before the iTunes App Store, first generation iPhone users pointed their browsers to the Apple Web App store which features thousands of web applications specifically designed for the iPhone and iTouch. Users have the ability to browse through the same categories as they can in the now popular iTunes store, but they don’t have to download a thing and what’s even better is that the applications take up no space (which means more movies and music).
Spreed:News was officially accepted into the web app site two days ago. It has been labelled as a staff pick and is currently the featured news application. Even if you have a first generation iPhone or an iTouch you can check out Spreed:News here.
Update: After 3 days Spreed:News is now on Apple’s most popular Web Applications list. Thank you to everyone who has provided us with feedback. Keep your eyes on Spreed as we continue to roll out more news feeds and increased functionality over the next few weeks.
Spreed was recently featured in XYYZ Magazine. They really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the limitation of mobile devices. Although the iPhone has a huge screen, it still has some major real estate issues. When reading articles users can easily get overwhelmed by too much text and a slew of other distraction. Spreed cuts out all the junk and makes it very easy for you to rapidly consume news on the go and improve your comprehension. See the article below:
The Wyre: Speed plus Read Equals Spreed
One application that caught our attention is 100% Canadian. It’s called Spreed, and it’s an application that increases the speed at which you read. Spreed is the brainchild of Anthony Novac and Patrick Keefe , and was brought to life by technical wizard Suhail Mirza.
Below is a link to a fantastic article about Spreed written by Michael Tipper a professional speed reading coach based out of the UK. Michael sums up spreed perfectly and has put together an instructional video on how to read using clusters.
The educational component of Spreed is very important as it is a departure from the way we have all been taught to read. Although you may not get it the first time, the learning curve is very high and in no time you will begin realizing the advantages of reading at high speeds and comprehending/retaining more of the article. Here is an exerpt from his article.
Speed Reading Faster Comprehension Photo-Reading Memory | Michael Tipper MichaelonSpeedReading.com
This chunking or grouping of words is one of the fundamental principles of becoming a more effective reader (or speed reader) and this software does that automatically for you.
Now when you try this out for yourself you may find it feels a little strange.That is because you are not used to taking in words in this fashion, however with a little perserverence you will get used to it and you will start to reap the benefits immediately.
Here is the instructional video Michael put together:
I would just like to say thank you for all the help and support that we have received from the North American tech community. The Spreed:News launch yesterday was spectacular and we are even more excited for the coming days. Please contact us or post a comment here if you have any feedback or ideas for future features that would make Spreed:News even better.
On two other seperate notes; our iPhone application will be going live in the iTunes store later this week and we will be demoing Spreed:News tonight at DemoCamp18.
Here is a round up of some of the blog posts on Spreed:News from yesterday:
Thanks again to everyone that made the Spreed:News launch happen. For more articles click here
I am very proud to announce to launch of Spreed:News today. Spreed:News is a mobile application that gives users a better reading experience on their mobile devices. The first version of our software will be available only through the iPhone. However, we will be working hard over the next month to offer both Windows Mobile and Blackberry solutions.
Using Spreed:News users can customize their news\blog feeds and read articles through the Spreed proprietary reader. Our proprietary reader organizes words in logical groupings that are easy for the brain to digest. By flashing these groupings, we are able to increase users reading speed and because there is no interaction necessary after the user chooses the article it is simple and easy to read the news on the go.
We are very excited to be releasing the the first of many products that Spreed has to offer. Please contact me (Dave Coleman) at firstname.lastname@example.org , if you have any questions, comments or feedback.
For a copy of the press release documenting our launch click here and watch the demo of Spreed:News found below
Those of you who are tech-savvy probably already saw the mistake we made in yesterday’s blog. In our excitement over what we had perceived to be a major step forward in mobile device design, we rushed to an incorrect assumption. A statement on Readius’s website was misunderstood and led us to think that this was something more than e-ink. But the article in the NY Times clearly stated otherwise. Oh well. At least we were right about the size.
One of our blog readers did point out that;
“…The new gen Sony Reader about to launch will read the ePUB format (a new standard in ebook formats put together by the IDPF), and ePUB is essentially XML. The Sony Reader with its E-ink display will therefore be able to have internal links (index entries, table of contents, references, etc.), re-sizeable and re-flowable text, etc. I.e. all the trappings of XML.”
This is a positive step, but until e-ink is able to display in colour and handle multimedia, there wil be significant usability limitations.