Category Archives: General

Spreed Has Quietly Been Making Some Major Changes

In November of 2008,  Anthony (our CEO), Suhail (our CTO) and I had the privilege to attend the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. This was my first chance to experience San Francisco.

Just a little personal background: I am a young guy and have been a techie my entire life; pretty much ever since I can remember, so going to the “tech mecca” was big for me. San Fran didn’t let me down. It was everything I thought it would be and more. 

During the Summit we had the chance to attend seminars ranging in topics life environmental sustainability, econonmic responsibility, emerging technologies and most importantly, to us, the mobile revolution.

People have been talking about mobile for a long time and we have always known it was going to be big. It’s been touted as THE platform. A way for advertisers to connect with users in a far more intelligent way. The problem was that the technology and interest of the people just wasn’t there.

The Web 2.0 Summit presenters and attendees, however, seemed to suggest that the technology (i.e. 3G, the iPhone, the Bold) is now where it needs to be and that the market is ready to adopt it. 3G networks are rolling out all over North America and the iPhone and Bold is becoming a common staple of ever day society. We realized it was time to commit to the mobile revolution.

I had the opportunity to chat with mobile expert, Raven Zachary, who made me realize the opportunity in providing mobile services to businesses.

As a team we decided it was time to truly define our business model and It is no surprise, given the excitement at the conference, that we chose to focus our model on mobile – and the iPhone in particular. 

We left San Fran more inspired than ever.

As of today Spreed will be focusing on providing fully branded mobile applications for content providers. We will use our expertise in mobile reading technology to provide publishers with the best of breed mobile solutions.

But we wont just stop at reading technologies. We want to replicate the newspaper experience on a mobile device. We want to eliminate the need for paper based news. More importantly, we want to find ways for newspapers and other content providers to engage their readers and build revenue they never thought possible. 

That being said we will unfortunately have less time to focus on projects like Spreed:News. We appreciate all the feedback we’ve received so far and will continue to fund our R&D lab and develop new reading technologies. We apologize in advance if we do not respond to your feedback as fast as we have in the past.But at this current time, our prime focus will be on pushing content to mobile devices with a clear eye to helping the publishers monetize that content. Such is the reality of 2009 – and from a technology point of view, the timing couldn’t be better. improve the system. 

This is a very exciting time for Spreed and we appreciate all the support we’ve received and continue to receive. I look forward to connecting with everyone in the near future. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me if you have any questions about Spreed’s model or Spreed:News. I am always available via twitter @ http://www.twitter.com/spreed or less frequently via our facebook fan page @ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Spreed/51827975076

I look forward to hearing from you all

Best regards

Dave Coleman (@DaveColeman)

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Filed under General, internet, launch, mobile, Spreed, technology

Spreed:News on the Apple Web App Site

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.

Spreed:News

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.

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Houston, We're Live!

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 dave@spreedinc.com , 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

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Oops! Corrections, Corrections…

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.


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The Wheels are Turning

It has been a while since the last time we posted on our blog, but don’t let that fool you. The wheels are turning here at the Spreed Headquarters as we get very close to the launch of our first commercial product, Spreed News. I won’t go into too much detail about the product right now as we want to leave a bit of a surprise for our launch. However, what I can tell you all is that Spreed mobile will be a better way of reading your news on the go. Reading your news on a mobile device can be a tricky task at times. Current solutions often overwhelm the reader with too much text and involve constant interaction that makes it hard to get through your news quickly while you are out and about. Spreed mobile has tackled this problem with our innovative news reader which deals the last mile of content consumption; the actual reading of the text. We are very excited to be developing this application for the iPhone and will be releasing the product into the wild in the next couple of weeks. Until then stay tuned!

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A Response to: Faster is Smarter?

The wording of Anthony’s title as an interrogative suggests an openness to the debate on the topic of speed reading. This is good news because there will be lots of differing views. However, at this time, instead of discussing the complexities of reading efficiencies and rate of reading text I want to turn attention to a more pragmatic value- add for Spreed technology.

For more than a quarter century I have been preoccupied with how to make the learning environment in higher education more accessible to students with great diversity in learning styles. And I have witnessed how technology has changed the learning landscape in universities. For example, within the past ten years students were encouraged to use laptop computers for taking notes in classrooms. Just in the past couple of years at least one American university (Duke) was handing out iPods for all freshman students. Courses were then made available as podcasts which students could download to their devices. Also within the past few years MIT has been busy trying to put all their course material online and available at no cost to the public. Perhaps more astonishingly, Google has embarked on a Project to digitize millions of university books to eventually be available online.

Given these recent developments, it is clear that technology is essential to what Jerome Brunner, the famous psychologist from Harvard described in 1966 as the Process of Education. New technologies and evolving soft ware applications have become imperative to students successfully participating in higher education. Spreed is just such an application which in my estimation has the potential to enable students to meet the challenge of rapidly perusing voluminous online or electronic material. “Smart” students are already looking for ways to expeditiously cover the enormous amount of electronic text. It is my view that students will readily opt for Spreed, that is reading faster, and as part of this process will decide for themselves what is an acceptable level of comprehension.

Posted by David Leitch

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Faster is Smarter?

Faster is Smarter. That’s the claim we make right beneath our logo and I certainly didn’t expect it to be a contentious one. Well, not passionately contentious. But since sending out the Spreed:News demo Beta site to friends and family, no feedback has been more consistent than the comment on this slogan. Surely we had it wrong. How could “faster” be “smarter”? It’s counterintuitive.

Counterintuitive, indeed. That’s the problem. Many of us were taught to read in similar ways and environments and it shouldn’t be a surprise that most of us read at very similar rates. Those of us who read at average speed (and there’s a big percentage of us lumped together) have very similar tendencies – we sub-vocalize too much, we get caught up on unfamiliar names and we are convinced that the only way to improve our comprehension is to slow down.

Do you remember the kids that always seemed to finish their readings or their exams first? I don’t think there’s a lot of evidence that those people were any smarter than us. But they had figured out how to comprehend written information quickly. One of my wife’s best friends was taught to read at the age of 3 by her 6 year old brother (whom I’ve always thought was a genius). When she was in grade 3 she told her classmate (my wife) not to worry about reading every word because you will eventually figure everything out. An eight year old child taught a not-so-simple reading principle in one short sentence. And, not so coincidentally, my wife is now a very rapid reader.

Faster is Smarter is no absolute. It isn’t always a good idea to increase one’s reading speed. If you’re already reading at 500wpm efficiencies may have to be found elsewhere. But why should it be such a surprise that our brains only kick into top gear once pushed a bit? As we’ve referenced before, a scientist has demonstrated that comprehension increases when reading speed increases over 300wpm and explains that the slower reading speeds results in lost information retention. Essentially, the brain doesn’t work efficiently at the slower rates.

Late last year we ran a test with some grade 12 students in Toronto. Half of them read Document A conventionally, and Document B via Spreed at 300wpm. The other half did the opposite. While 300wpm was approximately a 70% increase in reading speed, the result was that students had a 7% increase in comprehension.

Our work is only just starting at Spreed, but our goal is to continue to improve the product, convince the world that computer-assisted reading can be extremely valuable, and get people to believe that when it comes to reading, faster can be smarter.

Posted by Anthony Novac

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