WordStreamer aka MiniMuncher is a speed reading tool.
Intro: The theory and the why
WordStreamer (aka MiniMuncher) is a speed reading tool that I put together over the weekend. It works on the principle that our brains only process text when our eyes are not moving. WordStreamer simply streams a text file one word at a time, at a rate specified by you. Since your eyes are not traveling from word to word, this allows you to read at a faster rate in no time by simply pressing up to increase the rate at which the words are displayed.
I got the idea from a British company that has a desktop program called BookMuncher that they are charging money for. I had planned to download and try out there app because I heard some pretty great success stories on the public radio and they had said "It's a free download". But.. it was free to download and $9.99 to try. I also noted they were going to release a mobile version, but it looked as if they planned to lock it down via the mobile service provider market(i.e. pay AT&T to download, pay AT&T for book). So basically I had to see what the fuss was about.
The goal of this release
The goal of release 0.7.5 is to get some testers for the new streaming control i made for this version.
1. Lots of font customizations (color,size,style,alignment,max width per line).
2. Text from the surrounding area is displayed when paused.
3. Delays can be triggered from line breaks, word length, or punctuation.
4. Average words added to 'About' screen(total isn't yet saved across app exits).
5. The install directory has changed from "WordStreamer" to "WordStreamerPPC" (so you'll need to uninstall the old one manually).
The main goal of release 0.5.7 was for me to find out if this kind of thing works. So Far.. It does. After a short period you'll soon find yourself reading at pretty fast rate with ease. The only complaint I've seen online is a person saying there eyes hurt from focusing on one spot for a while without blinking.. Please people, press pause and blink
I went the quickest route for this early release and just did some form magic to make things work, since a large goal of this is to gauge user want. If the desire is there, i'll put in some time and do all of the drawing manually to better handle text wrapping and speed.
How To Use
The current target platform is Win CE 5.0 Pocket PC (compact framework 2.0).
You can jump right in when you start up WordStreamer by choosing 'Make Demo File' from the menu or choosing a file via the 'Choose File Option', then hitting 'Go' or Enter to start the process.
- Up, NumPad2, 2: Increase the speed the text is streamed.
- Down, NumPad8, 8: Decrease the speed the text is streamed.
- Left, NumPad4, 4: Lower the Font Size.
- Right, NumPad6, 5: Raise the font size.
- Enter/Return, NumPad5, touch screen, 6: Start/Stop streaming text.
Quirks or Issues
- The settings page tab order is all out of whack, Ill correct for next release.
- The Status bar per second and per minute timers always reflect values as if only 1 word is displaying at a time (The averages on the about screen reflect the correct totals though).
- The settings screen is not dynamically drawn(meaning a scroll bar has to be used) I'll be addressing this in 1.0.
- Only .txt files are currently supported.
- If your having issues with characters such as umlauts try using utf-8 encoding. Thanks Boops.
- [0.5.7]I've currently only tested the Smartphone version on an emulators. Testers are needed.
Future Thoughts (Feel Free to add your own)
- I've got some nifty document navigation thoughts for the future.
- What about an RSS reader or a tool for importing web page body text? If we can ever get some help with getting the AutoHotKey for CE compiler going there will be some great great things coming.
- I know i know the settings page is ugly. im probably going to do a tab view to get rid of the scrolling.
- Fullscreen view?
- .rtf/.doc support - if time or available libraries permit.
I find it easier to read at higher rates if i increase the font size a bit and hold the phone back from my face a couple feet (like in my lap or out in front like a book).
On npr people were reporting comfortably reading at rates of 200-400+ words a minute within 5 minutes of starting!
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