Mondays. Why? And Other Musings. Also Links.

I got up early, and had plenty of time to get ready and get to work. I got here ten minutes early, in fact - where I discovered that I was actually supposed to open this morning, and was, technically, twenty minutes late.

I hate Mondays.

I did actually get all the usual opening procedures done in ten minutes, leaving me breathless and frazzled by the time the doors opened and patrons came in. And I'm sure that's how my day will continue. Fun times!

I still don't have a mouse, but I'm writing a post, anyway, because this is important, guys.

There's this app that promises to help you increase your reading speed. Here's what the site has to say:

Reading is inherently time consuming because your eyes have to move from word to word and line to line. Traditional reading also consumes huge amounts of physical space on a page or screen, which limits reading effectiveness on small displays. Scrolling, pinching, and resizing a reading area doesn’t fix the problem and only frustrates people. Now, with compact text streaming from Spritz, content can be streamed one word at a time, without forcing your eyes to spend time moving around the page. Spritz makes streaming your content easy and more comfortable, especially on small displays. Our “Redicle” technology enhances readability even more by using horizontal lines and hash marks to direct your eyes to the red letter in each word, so you can focus on the content that interests you. Best of all, Spritz’s patent-pending technology can integrate into photos, maps, videos, and websites to promote more effective communication.

You got that? Basically, Spritz claims "traditional reading" - mind you, that's for print or digital works; we're just talking general structure of the material, here - sucks. There's too many words all squished together, and you have to move your eyes. Spritz is going to fix that by showing you one word at a time, and making the most important letter red (while pointing it our further with "horizontal lines and hash marks") so you don't have to move your eyes. In this way, or so goes the claim as MUCH! HYPED! on news sites and social media, you can read SUPERFAST! (If you haven't seen it plastered on Facebook yet, you will. Oh - you will.) (Caveat: Unless you don't do FB.)

Let's say that this is a new idea, one that works. Neither claim is actually true, apparently. But, just for the sake of argument, let's pretend.

Why in the world would you want to read faster? Here's a list of my concerns:


  • Can you really enjoy the content when you're reading that fast? Whether it's a fantasy novel, a nonfiction exploration of scientific principles, a news article, or Cracked - I find pleasure in reading. I sometimes pause to savor a particularly beautiful word or appreciate a nice turn of phrase. Would you speed-eat a great steak? Or down a glass of honeywine as quickly as possible? Not if you're a decent human being. Well, then, why would you rush through your reading?
  • But - fine. Let's say you have to read something, and it's not well-written. I've read a few books like that for class. You just want to get through them, as quickly as possible. But even with books like this, you can't just speed through it - you have to comprehend and retain what you read, and that often means slowing down, rather than speeding up, and sometimes going back and re-reading words, sentences, or sections. And there is, of course, the question of the physicality of reading - people seem to process what they read as though it were a physical thing, and the page itself (or, in the case of ebooks, the illusion of the page) is a prop of sorts that the brain uses to understand what is read. How well does someone comprehend something read one flashed word at a time? 
  • How well would you trust someone who read this way consistently? Do we want doctors, mechanics, or food prep workers speed-reading through their books? I don't; I want them all to linger over their learning. 
  • Lastly, how lazy do you seriously have to be to complain about moving your eyes across the page??
So, yeah, I'm not a big fan of Spritz. I think I'll just keep reading slowly, thanks.






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