Speed Read This Blog

Speed Read This
Posted by on December 16, 2011

You may notice, hanging off the bottom-right corner of your screen, a little blue tab. When clicked, it opens up a window which you can use to speed-read this page. This is Textcelerator, my project for the past two months. It’s installed on this blog, so you can speed-read your way through any of my posts. It’s also a browser plugin (for Firefox 8+ or Chrome 15+), which will put it on every web page, so you can speed-read your way through other blogs, emails, and so on. (The plugin is free for 30 days, then costs $45.)

You should give Textcelerator a try right now – open it, and click play. If you want to start in the middle, or go back and reread, just click on the text to go there, and click on the window to unpause. Adjust the speed to something comfortable.

Why speed read? Well, look at it this way: reading is the fastest method we have for absorbing information, and we spend lots of time reading. We read for work, for pleasure, and to gain skills. More reading means more knowledge. If the things you read are well chosen, that also means more power. A small improvement in reading speed means getting more of all of these things.

But the improvement from using speed-reading software isn’t small. How big an improvement is it? Actually, I don’t know yet. The next version is going to include a bunch of speed tracking, reading comprehension tests, and so on, to measure how fast people read with it, how long they take to acclimate and how much practice helps. But in the mean time, while we’re waiting for data, I do have an anecdote. After acclimating for about a month, my own reading speed, with Textcelerator, is double my reading speed without it.

So try it out – read the other posts on this blog, or install the plugin and read something else. Firefox version, Chrome version.

6 Comments on Speed Read This Blog

  1. Jason says:

    the chrome plugin 404s

  2. alejo says:

    wow, this is fantastic!
    i will definitively try it out and be more than willing to get it if it proofs to work for me!

    thx

  3. biscuits says:

    You say your speed is doubled with the speed reader, but back to normal without it. Doesn’t that imply that the speed reader has no lasting effect?

    • jimrandomh says:

      I’m pretty sure my unassisted reading speed is faster now than before I started, but I didn’t take good measurements and I can’t go back. This is one of the things I’ll be looking at when there’s a corpus of tests built in: before and after, both assisted and unassisted.

      But unassisted reading is only half the point, anyways. The goal is to read fast, and continuing to use Textcelerator is a pretty good way to do that. Most speed-reading programs position themselves as training tools, that you’re expected to give up on after a while because continuing to use them is onerous. One of my main design goals of Textcelerator was to make it easy to keep using, on the things I’d be reading anyways, without the extra friction that other tools impose when there are lots of links and figures.

  4. thanks for the awesome service. I’ve looked at http://textcelerator.com/ and I love it.

    I’m thinking of including the speed reading box on some pages of my website.

    One problem – On this blog, I dont see the speed reading box :( Im on Chrome for mac

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