Also, there is bug that sometimes causes two words to appear at once. Sometimes they are overlapping vertically which is basically impossible to read. Try reading http://pragdave.me/blog/2014/03/04/time-to-kill-agile/ to see what I mean.
At a guess words with unique clusters of vowels would also stand out say 'Hawaiian'. Or other words like 'cameraman', 'minimum', 'consciousness', 'neuroscience', that all probably have a certain shape or density, even if they are flat.
This regex dictionary may be useful:
Until then slowing down for longer words at least would definitely help. This could at least be an option if the authors aren't convinced its a good idea yet, then A/B test the amount of usage for people who use the option compared with those that don't.
 for example, one could use wiktionary data and try to extract how to properly separate common terms: https://de.wiktionary.org/wiki/Schifffahrt
Edit:  German demo of how that usually looks http://www.tagh.de/demo.php (not affiliated)
(Regardless of whether or not those are properly hyphenated.)
Edit: But this is still very cool.
Repeat that word
Scan back a few words
Quickly see your position in the article
Look at any sidenotes, footnotes, or relevant pictures
Read with flow and not drum like rhythm
Skip large sections of non-relevant material
Personally I would NOT YET read a real book this way, for one reason: I cannot keep a person's name in memory well enough and would mix up roles and who said what. Even though I very rarely read romans (mostly publications) you can imagine how often you hear names in a text. But that's maybe just me, idk.
I guess you would feel embarrassed, if you couldn't like me keep persons names in association with their faces well enough. Example: 100-200 persons you meet every day and you remember 50names at most and that's only because you know them very well. You have to say 'hi' to all the others you just can't remember the name of. Luckily I don't mix up faces that much up anymore. Recently I met a girl whose name I simply couldn't recall although I've seen her 100s of times. Anyway she reminded me that I already have her in my phone-book, so yeah I'll try to keep it memorized.
I think there is a huge value to giving the reader a tradeoff between speed and comprehension, so long as the reader is conscious that they're making a choice and does so appropriately.
I have been practicing for a little under a year with the help of a speed reading app (not Spritz). It was frustrating at first; I won't pretend that I internalized even 50% of what I was reading when I started learning how to speed read. But as my eyes assimilated to reading larger chunks of words at faster speeds, I incrementally increased the speed of the text. Eventually, I was able to increase my reading speed AND understand what I was reading.
I can't attest to the effectiveness of this specific app, since I have never used it. But when you write "its way more fun & time saving to be able to imagine, drift-away in thought and understand what you are reading...", you suggest that one can only understand (and enjoy) what he is reading by reading the way you do.
Am I assuming right that the joke lies in Spritz being a VC funded startup and squirt.io just a weekend hack?
Squirt.io was in stealth mode for 6 years!! </snide>
I was able to read the article I chose in about 85% of the time of the default 400WPM of the bookmarklet (I read the article first with a timer, and then reread with the bookmarklet), which would put me at 470WPM. With Squirt, I was only able to get up to 650WPM before it felt too uncomfortable.
I wonder if people really read one word at a time, especially when they're short words. If people do read more than one word at a time, I think a more intelligent approach might be necessary to really make the experience both comfortable and fast.
They don't. I always thought the whole point of speed reading was to ingest multiple words simultaneously.
These speed reading tools should be extended so that they can show multiple words at once rather than one word at a time. A really ambitious improvement would be to automatically recognize very common phrases and constructions and to make an effort to always show those as single groups.
http://spreeder.com/ allows you to put in multiple words.
However, if the code for this is available for anyone to edit/modify, perhaps anyone wanting that feature could add it.
* Accelerated Reader ATOS
* Automated Readability Index (ARI)
* Coleman-Liau Index
* Dale-Chall Readability Formula
* Flesch-Kincaid readability tests:
* Flesch Reading Ease
* Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level
* Fry Readability Formula
* Gunning-Fog Index
* Lexile Framework for Reading
* Linsear Write
* Raygor Estimate Graph
* SMOG (Simple Measure Of Gobbledygook)
* Spache Readability Formula
UX shows that this is the most digestable way to consume information.
Going vertical should be preferred over going horizontal.
Please please somebody, would you give nilkn's idea an ear?
However, I have dyslexia and I often struggle to follow the line, sometimes I drop out and I have to read a sentence or two again to get in flow state.
I found this method to really improve my reading speed but I am still not sure if want it as my default reading method.
Failed to load resource: net::ERR_FILE_NOT_FOUND file://www.squirt.io/bm/font-awesome.css
Failed to load resource: net::ERR_FILE_NOT_FOUND file://www.squirt.io/bm/squirt.css
62 Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'style' of null squirt.js:10
48 Uncaught TypeError: Cannot read property 'style' of null
as well as the Android / Google Glass companion:
Note to my boss: I'm sorry!
Comprehension was worse than skimming, apparently. I can see this as a thing to flash headlines/latest news to you but anything longer than a sentence or two... not so sure.
Your point about comprehension is super important and often gets overlooked, so I wanted to add my 2 cents.
While the RSVP method seems to being used as a proxy for all things speed reading, it’s really only one part of the picture. RSVP is definitely faster (because eye movements take time) and particularly good for people with learning disabilities like dyslexia (because the tool isolate words), but there are trade-offs.
For one, saccades (the normal eye movements you make while reading) give your mind time to process the information. You need that. Secondly, RSVP tends to lead to repetition blindness, so you can miss repeated words, which changes your understanding. Also, people tend to zone out after a while of staring at one point. All of these aspects underpin overall comprehension and show where RSVP falls short. Where RSVP shines is for short bursts of text (as the article states) and also for learning to read words in groups rather than individually, which is really really useful.
But back to my original point, speed reading isn’t just RSVP. It’s a collection of techniques that together help you read more effectively. Honestly, it probably shouldn’t be called “speed reading” at all - it’s what naturally strong readers already do. You solve for speed, comprehension and retention.
You start with the mechanics (learning to read words in groups, strengthening eye muscles, improving concentration etc) so that you aren’t getting hung up on bad habits, and then assess how well you understand and remember content. In fact, when you learn to read in this way, you don’t even need the tools like RSVP and moving highlighters. Yes, they are useful training wheels, but you’ll already read that way anyway. You also won’t be tied to one service or medium.
Believe me, I find the hyped-up, late-night infomercial, eat-cake-get-thin approach really off-putting too, in fact it’s one of the reasons I made Acceleread in the first place, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.
i'm also using Foxit pdf-to-text feature to upload my pdf ebooks on pastebin and use this to read them.
If you even open this up on github i'll be glad to contribute some features :D
Hoping the open source fairy sprinkles some dust on this one.
Maybe using an n-gram model to predict how probable the next word is, could pass high probability phrases at a faster rate, while slowing down for "harder" words
(That sounds like a cool idea, hit me up if you're game for hacking on something like that)
What's fascinating is that in the entropy/information-theoretic sense, instead of using wpm, one could aim for "constant" information rate of reading (as in bits/token). That's really cool as a concept. I don't know if it would work, obviously.
I'd definitely be up to for hacking this up, but currently a bit too busy. Will ping you at some point though!
Also, Spree doesn't walk to an element's parent, which usually keeps it from getting into JS and ads, while still reading all of, say, a news article.
On another tack, quite a lovely site.
Any reason you cap WPM at 666, and always default to 400wpm? I want to go fasterrrr :)
edit: I made my branch do this, are you interested in contributions?
One note: when I drag the bookmarklet from the Install page to my toolbar, then try to use it on a page on my http://localhost/ (a dev site, for ex.), it (a) does what I expected it to do, but then (b) forwards me to http://localhost/install.html when it is finished. When I browse an actual domain-based site, it gives me the nice "You just read..." message at the end. It would be nice if both local and remote sites had the same experience.
I think that perhaps a line-by-line reader would be appropriate, rather than word per word.
The reason why I won't be using this service is simply because it makes the eye lazier. My eyes are already lazy enough because I am in front of the computer 12+ hours a day, so my eyes muscles need movement. Staring at one point for long time can also cause side effects like losing the sense of space and time. Staring at one point is often used as hypnotizing during different kind of therapies.
I love reading but, particularly online, I'll often need to read something which contains a lot of information I need but isn't written in a style I particularly enjoy reading. For these, I can see the benefit of tools like this.
when reading this paragraph:
"The WEIRD mind also appears to be unique in terms of how it comes to understand and interact with the natural world. Studies show that Western urban children grow up so closed off in man-made environments that their brains never form a deep or complex connection to the natural world. While studying children from the U.S., researchers have suggested a developmental timeline for what is called “folkbiological reasoning.” These studies posit that it is not until children are around 7 years old that they stop projecting human qualities onto animals and begin to understand that humans are one animal among many. Compared to Yucatec Maya communities in Mexico, however, Western urban children appear to be developmentally delayed in this regard. Children who grow up constantly interacting with the natural world are much less likely to anthropomorphize other living things into late childhood."
it seems to stop displaying words directly after the U.S., string. I had to restart it after that.
Another note: words that contain hyphens or em dashes are not tokenized so you get huge words that are impossible to read at speed.
Quite frankly this is a pretty lazy implementation. It doesn't even slow down for long words, and the highlighted letter is too far to the left most of the time. But the snazzy .io page and sleek interface probably will do way more for the tool's popularity than actually improving features, so kudos to the Author for the smart marketing.
I'm rooting for the open source versions.
One issue: numbers with points get split up, which is very confusing. E.g. 16.4 becomes 16. and then 4.
Another issue: It sometimes starts reading out script code, e.g. here. http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamtanner/2014/03/05/amazons-wa...
One feature request: Keyboard shortcuts to pause and maybe to step back or "zoom" out to see the whole last/current sentence before continuing.
Also I found it hard to follow sentences between brackets for some reason.
Squirt has a cool UI and works across browsers, but I like Spreed's ability to see progress as I read and the keyboard shortcuts. Looking forward to seeing this tech pop up more and more and evolve!
You should modify your apache/iis config to account for this. I'd much rather type "squirt.io" in my browser address bar than "www.squirt.io".
But kudos to you for a wonderful product. This will replace the JS I've been using for the same purpose.
But I won't really be able to dig in until after this weekend. Feel free to contribute, PR, list requests, etc.
-blink detection (using a webcam or forward facing camera?) to pause while your eyes are closed?
-hold-to-pause or hold-to-spritz button, and show context (+- a few lines) when not spritz-ing?
-point of focus slides slowly across the screen, to exercise those extraocular muscles
I tried it on http://blog.eventjoy.com/post/79387694078/how-we-restarted-o... but it choked/stopped once it came across the first linked.
With a red marker, like here to mark a single fixed position on screen that the marquee text slides through to guide the eye.
This method would allow processing of local words for context rather than flashing single words.
This is a nice demo, but not a finished product.
I think this probably has more to do with Reddit than you or your blog.
From Chrome Dev Tools:
"..was loaded over HTTPS, but ran insecure content from 'http://www.squirt.io/bm/squirt.js': this content should also be loaded over HTTPS."
Please be of more thoughtful in your creative endeavors. If you are able to produce something like this, you might as well be capable of creating better original ideas.
More important, who are you to complain about what other people are making?