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21C Literacies  - 
 
Technology: What makes a justifiable use case?

Spritz is a very interesting application. Although I agree that it does have some very useful uses - especially on limited-screen personal mobile devices such as Pebble or other SmartWatches, its application to speed up conventional reading may be less than appropriate, even when effective. And undoubtedly, it is not the only technology that may bring unintentional consequences with it in the process of bringing out some benefit.

How Spritz works
Conventional reading: When reading, only around 20% of your time is spent processing content. The remaining 80% is spent physically moving your eyes from word to word...

Spritz does two things differently: it lines up the optimal recognition point of words, and flashes words to the reader according to the rhythm of reading, which includes natural pauses.

Why should there be concern?
Chronic health problems are emerging at an unprecedented rate. This is quite likely linked to the emergence of digital technologies and the resulting transformation on our daily habits. For example: too much desk work leads to back problems, chronic pain, and bad typing posture leads to carpal tunnel syndrome. Eye fatigue is a known condition, where eye muscles become strained and certain muscles 'stiffen up', just as you may have one index finger noticably stiffer than the other due to overuse of your touchscreen smartphone. As eyes are one of the most sensitive organs we have, I'm not certain that stiff eyes and tunnel-vision syndrome are worth the tradeoff for faster reading.

My point, though, is not that eye fatigue is going to come onto the list of health issues to watch out for. My point is that novel technology - regardless of the benefits it brings - may likely have some negative side effects, and these side effects are usually not listed in the marketing prospect. And as community, we have an ethical responsibility to think these things through, and lay open the consequences in a transparent manner to allow everyone to make informed decisions on the expected tradeoffs when jumping onto any one bandwagon.

Finally, for the record: I think Spritz is a great application, and I think it is worth taking a look at. Even if it is not the perfect tool for healthily reading large texts, it is great for occasional, urgent reads such as an SMS, a voice-to-text answering machine recording, and triaging mails or messages on your watch or in Glass. It will be exciting to see how their application market unfolds as personal computing devices become smaller and ubiquotous!

/via +Gideon Rosenblatt 
Why Spritz Works: It's All About the Alignment of Words. By Maik Maurer & Jamie Locke February 16, 2014. To understand Spritz, you must understand Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP). RSVP is a common speed-reading technique used today. However, RSVP was originally developed for ...
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Mani Saint-Victor's profile photoSophie Wrobel's profile photoJohn Kellden's profile photoFrank Gainsford's profile photo
7 comments
 
+John Kellden Are you positioning that traditional ink-on-paper and our digital facsimiles are satisfising on an traditional acceptable solution?

I would love to put together a #Spritzinc testing and development system using our Emotiv EEG headset.

I can see <suppress pun> so many attributes of the reading process to evaluate and optimize while measuring EEG activity. While the demos of Spritz allow the user to change words per minute, I would love to have a look at all of the things that traditional ink-on-paper cannot provide, such as:

1) Dynamically adjust the font size of letters within words to optimize recognition
2) Dynamically adjust the color/intensity of words as they are displayed (fade in/fade out/over lap)
3) Doppler Shift words (add a blue hue as words appear, add a red hue as words recede) similar to how our brain deals with shifted sounds
4) Dynamically adjust display time for longer, more difficult words

All of these things can be adjusted and evaluated with electronic displays. It is my understanding that Reading is a Serial process (much like hearing...lots of frequencies, but only one note at a time). Imagine "listening" to an vinyl record by pointing your ears at the groves while a thin sound wave it aimed at a specific spot and reflected back to your ears... 1:1 analogy with how we use light to read ink-on-paper.

Scanning our eyes across the page allows us to convert the parallel information presented by ink-on-paper to the serial word stream processed by our visual system.

I wrote about the opportunity costs of legacies a while back. I still think it is applicable today.

http://blog.williamlweaver.com/2009/02/ctri-shift-in-paradigm.html
 
+William L. Weaver any which affordances which helps us make (micro)decisions is a good thing in my book. If packaged, they also make for relatively complex artifacts, yet simple enough to begin with.

We've only just scratched the surface (pardon the pun) what can be achieved by better understanding digital. 

One of the possible outcomes here - if we become more (digitally) literate, we might be able to move beyond, eg the pithy quotes on pretty pictures level, a genre almost turning into a content marketing default.

Granted, I see this from a semiotics lens, where images are "text" as well.
 
I've been playing with this a bit http://goo.gl/fBSqnV
It seems to be by different people with the same foundation.

I'm not sure +Sophie Wrobel was meaning other than physical side effects of its use - but those were the concerns I've had while using it. While I'm able to absorb the information more rapidly, I'm slightly concerned that doing so is going to compromise my data filtering - making me more likely to accept what I read as truth.
 
There's a simple quantitative proxy metrics we can use towards beginning scoping and optimizing:
For those of us with smartphones (an increasingly common way to connect with the web) two apps are to few, and a thousand apps are too many.

The better our heuristics and our metaheuristivs, the more apps can be of use to:

1. Access information
2. Share our stories
3. Anneal meaning (various levels, eg Maslow and other models)
4. Augment our literacies
5. Coevolve our presence, our identity, our achievements.

The fifth level and identity constructs - relates to what I've been talking about recently with +Mani Scienide 
 
+Grizwald Grim true, I was referring in first line to the physical side effects. But you raise a very valid point - visual presentation has a lot to do with how we process information as fact or fiction. I wonder when enough thought and experimentation will take place to produce an "RSVP Marketing for Dummies" book?
 
+Sophie Wrobel that's the pivotal quality - why and how we process information.

Love your suggested title. Riffing further:

"Instant Google+ Fame and Fortune through Storytelling"

Ping +Thomas Morffew 
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