Speed Reading, Smartphone Style!

US-based Tech company start-up, Spritz, is claiming to have developed an app that will allow future smartphone users to read an entire novel in 80 minutes. They’ve been working hard on the app, also called Spritz, which will allow upcoming Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphones and the Gear2 watch to benefit from this technology. It’s speed reading, app style!

Spritz

While speed reading is nothing new, the people at Spritz have “reinvented the way people read by eliminating the obstacles associated with traditional reading on mobile devices”.  While we are all used to a swiping action to move from page to page or screen to screen, Spritz freezes the action into one spot so the eye can focus and read the important parts of the words.  They have a fantastic demonstration on THIS page, and you can change the speed of the information to anything you like. I tried it at 250 words per minute, and it seemed fairly easy to follow the sentences.  The really great thing about this app?  It allows more time for harder words, although you won’t even realize it. The inventors of the app warn that at 400 words per minute, your comprehension will not be very strong, as it takes the brain a little time to process more difficult words.

Of course, there is some skepticism about how well this app will work for people, and the general warning that it’s better not to speed read at all for the best absorption of information. But if you’re trying to work more reading into your life, having a way to get through a book anywhere from 80 minutes to 2.5 hours would make that possible. Of course, this means you’ll have to have the technology to use it, also, so take that into consideration if you’re hoping to try this new app out.

You can read more information about the Spritz app right here. Happy reading!

 

Published in: on March 18, 2014 at 3:43 am  Leave a Comment  
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Are You Ready for a Book Apocalypse?

bookapocalypse

Much has been said recently about the idea that print books will become obsolete in the near future. While many people have embraced “new” ways of reading (ebooks, audiobooks etc.), a lot of people are reluctant to give up print books altogether. But what happens if the world changes and a total print apocalypse happens?  Would you be ready???

What is a Print Apocalypse?

The complete destruction/removal of any printed matter on a worldwide scale.

How Quickly Would it Happen?

A total annihilation of books would probably take some time, especially when you consider the number of books in libraries, schools, stores etc. Once the print apocalypse begins, however, it would mean nothing new would make it to printed form.  I don’t think we have to worry quite yet, but there may come a time in the future where everything will become digital.

Can I Stop It?

Probably not. Ebooks are here. Digital media is not going away. As much as we love the smell of books, the weight of a good book, and the joy of opening a cover and beginning to read, digital books/newspapers/information will allow us to carry more, have updates by the second and let us read the latest thriller within seconds of its release. This is a good thing. Really.

How Can I Prepare?

Right now, most of us are comfortable reading headlines and articles on the internet. Some people have graduated to reading books online or on a device. And there is a growing number of people who have stopped darkening the doors of libraries and bookstores altogether, preferring to read only on a tablet or e-reader.

If you don’t regularly read the headlines or articles online, that might be the place to start. Find you favourite newspaper online and read it on your computer for a week. Or subscribe to you favourite magazine on your tablet. Most mags and newspapers are interactive now, which means you can download recipes, shop directly for whatever you see on the pages and email the author of an article you enjoyed, right from your computer or device.

Your next step would be to learn how to download ebooks, either from an online store, or free from your library. Once you begin, it might not be your sole form of choice, but you’ll probably discover it’s much nicer to bring along a tablet that weighs 10oz when you travel, rather than a suitcase full of books.

What If I Can’t Do It?

New technology can be difficult at first. Understand that, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Young people are GREAT resources for helping with devices and technological issues. So grab a kid, or check out the “help” section of most web pages. Embrace technology. You won’t be left behind in when the Print Apocalypse happens!

Published in: on October 7, 2013 at 1:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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Technology for everyone!

I was browsing the library catalog today, and glanced at the “hot sites”  list at the bottom of the page. I’m not sure how these links are found, or if they’re based upon Google searches or sites that just interest the people at Sirsi who develop and maintain the library catalogs, but they are always interesting! Today, they were featuring the Free Technology Academy, which is a site devoted to providing good educational tools to allow anyone access to study technology. 

So what exactly is the site all about? It’s a joint initiative from several educational institutions in a variety of countries that believes all people everywhere, should have access to courses that allow them to study and learn current technology.  Great idea! Not only does this initiative aim to educate people who might not have the means to study technology courses (from different operating systems to web development), but it also gives access to people who just want to learn in their spare time.  And it’s free.  How much better can you get?

There are instructional videos and print access to the various courses, and while it is constantly expanding, there seems to be a great deal of available programs already.  The people who run the site ask for donations (because really, even though it’s all free, these people are putting in their time and energy to keep the site going), so if you feel the content is worth it, you may donate something to their cause.

This is a great idea that we’re probably going to see more of as the web expands. We have access to so much out there now that it almost seems “silly” to pay for things when you can get them for free. Of course, nothing will take the place of an actual teacher or school, but this concept is evolving.

Would you take a free course to learn more about technology?

Published in: on December 8, 2011 at 9:00 am  Leave a Comment  
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Ebooks, audiobooks and technology at the library

My sister-in-law works at a library in Northern Alberta and while she was visiting recently, we were talking about our libraries and how things are done in both places.  One common issue we noticed is that while technology at the library is a great step forward…..there has to be a learning curve as well as expectations from the public. Not only is staff expected to know everything about new technologies that are being used withing the library (such as eBooks, audiobooks and Ancestry.ca), but many patrons also seem to expect us to be able to teach them as well, and it isn’t always possible.

When we started with audiobooks and eBooks here at our library, we all received a small virtual training session.  Yes, virtual….meaning we participated in a webinar online.  No hands on training, no devices to try.  We were given the basics and had to go from there. Now, we were lucky enough that some of us had iPods and eBook readers so we could experiment at home.  But not everyone has one, so while the staff was trained, a few have never used these devices before.  You can see how tricky this might be.  It would be like someone learning how to drive by watching a video and then being expected to teach others in an actual car. (Okay, maybe not as lethal, but you get the picture.) So you can see  how tricky this is for us.

Secondly, we’re finding that many people who want to download eBooks and Audiobooks are not well versed on their computers and certainly have no experience using these devices, which makes the experience frustrating for all of us. While we can hopefully help someone figure out how to eventually get the books onto their systems (everyone has different settings and devices), we can’t always spend as much time as they need and we can’t do it repeatedly. That means a little experimentation at home is required. Go to our help pages on this blog when first setting up. Visit the help pages on the OverDrive website to see if you can solve the problem that way.  Or ask someone (grab just about any young person you know…they’ll probably do it in three seconds!) to help you in your own environment. And write it down.  I can’t stress that enough….if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing…..write it down, step by step, when someone shows you.  That’ll make a big difference.

As for Ancestry.ca, not all of us know every in and out of the site (not everyone has done genealogy research).  While most of us can help you figure out how to print off that great photo or census, the site is limited by what it can do.  We might be able to make the photo larger, but not necessarily clearer, and while you’d love to have all the data from the link included, sometimes it will just print the photo and that’s all. It’s not our fault if they change the website on occasion. We didn’t do anything to make them change things, so getting frustrated with the staff won’t help. Again, take your time, learn how to work the computer and write things down so that you can do it again next time. We don’t always have the time to spend with someone if we’re really busy.

We want this to be a fun and useful for all involved because eBooks and Audiobooks  and Ancestry are a wonderful addition to the library. But keep in mind that some of the work has to be done on your end, too. Know a much as you can about your computer and your device before bringing it in (taking it out of the box at the library isn’t going to help either of us). Prepare to get frustrated, but trust us that it gets easier. And while we encourage you to come in with questions, give it a try before you walk in with all your equipment. And please don’t get upset with us if we can’t figure it out in three seconds. Remember….this is new to us, too.

Isn’t technology wonderful?

We have a computer in the library strictly for children to use.  It has only educational software on it….games, learning applications and stories.  Almost everyday, we’ll see at least one child hop on and start playing a game, whether their feet can even touch the ground or not.  It boggles our minds that children as young as two can play the games (at least, some of them).  Most of them know how to turn on the machine, they know how to work a mouse and the other day, we watched one child who could barely see over the top of the desk, proceed to drag and deposit all of the icons on the desktop into new positions.

So, what would kids today think of technology that WE grew up on?  Children in a Quebec school were given random objects, often cutting edge technology at one point in the last 40 years, and asked what they thought the items were. The results are hilarious!


Published in: on January 13, 2011 at 10:08 am  Leave a Comment  
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