Monthly Archives: August 2008

E-Textbooks May Not Make Economic Sense for Students … or do they???



Filed under digital publishing, education, Reading, technology

E-Textbooks May Not Make Economic Sense for Students … or Do They???


Filed under digital publishing, technology

A Great New Find for All You Electronic Reading Enthusiasts

I just found a fantastic new blog written by an expert in the field of eye science, Kevin Larson. Anyone who is interested in how the brain and eye interact with electronic text should check it out here:

The Font Blog

Here is Dr. Larson’s bio, just reading this and his corresponding blog makes me wish I had the chance to buy him a coffee and pick his brain for an hour (or two, or three …):

I am a psychologist who has been working for Microsoft in different capacities since 1996. In 2000 I completed my PhD in cognitive psychology from the University of Texas at Austin studying word recognition and reading acquisition. I joined the ClearType team in 2002 to help get a better scientific understanding of the benefits of ClearType and other reading technologies with the goal of achieving a great on-screen reading experience.

During my first year with the team I gave a series of talks on relevant psychological topics, some of which instigated strong disagreement. At the crux of the disagreement was that the team believed that we recognized words by looking at the outline that goes around a whole word, while I believed that we recognize individual letters. In my young career as a reading psychologist I had never encountered a model of reading that used word shape as perceptual units, and knew of no psychologists who were working on such a model. But it turns out that the model had a very long history that I was unfamiliar with.

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Filed under digital publishing, internet, Reading, technology

How to Get Through Life 101 to 448 (If only it exsisted…)

I came across this article on, “8 Essential Skills They Didn’t Teach you in School” and I feel that readers and contributors to this blog will be able to add valuable skills of their own they think should be on the list or further links to the 8 topics… but that is because I assume everyone reading this blog is smarter than the average bear 🙂

  1. How to make people like you and network
  2. How to speed read ( and the power of audio books
  3. How to set goals and manage time
  4. How to read a financial statement
  5. How to negotiate, read contracts and not get taken advantage of
  6. How to save and invest
  7. How to be sucessful in life
  8. How to spread an idea and basic marketing


Filed under feedback, personal, productivity, Uncategorized

Social Media for business

I just got back from this mornings seminars at the IncentiveWorks conference and had the opportunity to hear Phil Barrett speak about Social Media and how it has evolved and how it will progress over the next 10 years. Interesting stuff. (He used a different type of video by commoncraft)

It was also amazing to see just how easy it is for small business to harness the power of web 2.0 and use it to promote their product or service.Take Facebook


, for example. 75% it’s users check their account daily with the average visit time of 29.8 minutes. That is ludicrous compared to every other website in the world. Think about how this can help small business.  


Videoblogging,  RSS, feed aggregator, social bookmarking, and the social media release  were amongst the other topics discussed. This truly is a time where your business can be everywhere all at once, but it is tedious and time consuming. My question is should Marketers tap into every form of social media possible, or should they select a few to go after? 


Filed under technology, web 2.0

New Release of Spreed:News Goes Live

It has been about a month since the launch of Spreed:News and we have had some fantastic feedback from our community. Today we released a new version of Spreed:News to the public. The new version has a number of feature updates including:

  • The ability to post articles to twitter
  • The ability to rate an article
  • 10 articles per news sources, instead of just 5
  • A major update to our feed library (i.e. more news sources)
  • And an updated algorithm

This new algorithm is the most exciting development for us. As we continue to grow, the changes to the algorithm will keep expanding to help increase reading efficiency and comprehension. The most recent update to the algorithm introduces: 

  •  New grammar rules
  •  A method for evaluating each sentence with multiple cluster breakdowns. The best cluster is then chosen based on the most uniform cluster length
  • Better recoginition of proper nouns.

We will be constantly updating the application over the next few weeks and will provide a post here on our blog to let everyone know of the developments. We will also be releasing an application for the iTunes App store very shortly and will be rolling back the curtains on another product from Spred Inc. that will be launching in September.

Please feel free to contact us at if you have any suggestions, comments or feedback. We are also actively looking for people to demo our new products, so feel free to contact us if you woud like a sneak peak at some of the products in our lab.

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Filed under launch, mobile, Spreed

Social Media Sites … is it too much?

I came across an interesting article last night written by a blogger I have never read before. Her name is Kelly Livesay and she made a very interesting call to action. In her post she declares that she is sick of all the different social networking sites out there; facebook, myspace, twitter, social networks for dogs, cats, you name it and there’s a network. The reason I found this intriguing is because I woke up this morning to find Renee’s post documenting even more social networking sites. Kelly suggests that we should just ditch all of them and keep only a blog and a twitter account. The blog will contain all your links, videos, etc and each time you post something you notify all your friends on twitter. I am not sure where I stand on this one and I want to open up the dialog to see what everyone else thinks. I personally think there are way too many social networks and I am sick of signing up for new services. However, I do not know if I would ditch everything for simply a blog and a twitter account (hell most my friends don’t even know what twitter is). An even simpler alternative would be to ditch everything for just Facebook and use it as a hub for all my information and sharing (which is what I already do, until recently). Facebook is essentially twitter built on top of a blog (at its most basic level). So what does everyone else think? Is this social networking craze getting too niche or do they actually add value? What do you think?


Filed under technology, web 2.0