author, books, fun, reading, Science, science news, spritz, Stephanie Beavers, writer
So I ran across THIS article. As always, IFLS does an amazing job of breaking down and explaining things, although really, this one isn’t too complicated.
Basically, there’s this new thing called Spritz. Basically, the people who made Spritz want to revolutionize reading.
Polonius: What do you read, my lord?
Hamlet: Words, words, words.
When I saw IFLS’s title, “Read a Novel in 90 Minutes With a Smartphone App,” I was skeptical. How was an app going to make people read faster? Well… I’m somewhat convinced.
I already read faster than the statistical average (I don’t know how much faster), so when I tried the first “level,” it actually felt frustratingly slow to me. But then it picked up speed, and then some more, until I had to go back a “level” and repeat it a couple times before moving ahead. This thing has potential.
I strongly urge you to check this Spritz thing out. (Link is to their homepage, which has a demo.)
However, I did run into two problems. One: blinking.
The Doctor: “Don’t Blink. Blink and you’re dead. Don’t turn your back. Don’t look away. And don’t blink. Good Luck.”
If you get distracted, get something in your eye, or blink too slowly, you can miss a LOT in a very short period of time. What will they do about this? Use the camera to track where your eye is looking and pause if it looks away? (That’s kinda creepy, but okay.)
Problem two: Lag.
My internet happened to be kinda iffy when I went to their page, and even slight lag was making me miss whole words, often multiples in a row. So processing speed would be a BIG deal for this app.
Regardless, it’s fascinating stuff with potential. I hope they get what they need to fund and develop this app to all it can be.
So, what do you think? Would you try this for something novel-length? Do you think this app has a future? Let me know in the comments!
I don’t know if you got my tweet that we tried this in my class. I think the settings were too low and it was like reading staccato notes or listening to someone speak in monotone. I upped the app to 500 wpm and that was better… then 550 (yikes)… and then blinking happened. I’m a pretty fast reader (I think), though this article (http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/marthagilltech/100012708/does-an-app-called-spritz-really-triple-your-reading-speed/) explains how fast readers don’t always comprehend what they read, which is true for me sometimes. I find I can easily find overall themes and subtle messages of books, but rush reading too much for me to remember small details.
Stephanie Beavers said:
I missed your Tweet, so I’m glad you commented here!
I hear you on the rushing and missing stuff front, but it’s easy enough to scan back if you realize you’ve missed something (another drawback of Spritz, I guess.) I find it interesting that Spritz claims reading comprehension goes up despite increased reading speed. I’ll check out that article!
I realize that my username doesn’t say “Sarika” haha. So, yeah, this is just Sarika commenting! The theme of information overload is a recurring one in my classes. I had to lead a seminar group last week on how to “manage tools”… and Spritz was brought up during that lecture. Anyway! I find it interesting how technology seems to be pushing us to be faster about everything. As you said, the app doesn’t really let you go back to reread things like traditional text does. I don’t think people will want to give up the option of simply taking their eyes off the words and looking around the room or out the window… or stopping at the end of an exciting chapter to process what just happened… or re-reading really profound lines… The app makes reading efficient rather than leisurely. I feel like society keeps pushing us to be more efficient. As a result, we’re rushing through things all the time. We accept whatever information that’s fed to us and are more likely to believe it because there is less time to reflect. Anyway, that was my argument last week. It’s not entirely original, but there you go :P
Stephanie Beavers said:
Haha, hi Sarika!
You know, I find myself agreeing with you. Part of me wishes I had more time to read, or could somehow fit more books into less time, but honestly, your point is valid. I can’t remember the last time I savored a book.