I know—the title of this post sounds kind of like it’s about a giant bug zapper. I have been totally amazed at how much buzz this little idea called Zap Reader has generated. We are just in the 4th day after the public launch of the Zap Reader Beta and it has already been listed at LifeHacker, Digg, made the Del.icio.us most popular list, received two Honors at YouTube, has been mentioned in dozens of blogs and news sites around the world (I wish could mention them all), and I could continue going on and on…
It is so incredibly humbling to realize that this one little idea has touched so many people in such a positive way. I must admit though, that I’ve spent far too much time over the last few days reading what everyone else is saying about it when I should have been coding new features and enhancements. I guess that I can only compare it to relaxing on the front porch after a hard days work and listening to the mosquitos being zapped by a bug zapper. If you aren’t one of us North Carolina rednecks, you probably didn’t get that last joke. Trust me. It’s funny.
Perhaps the single most wonderful thing to me is the community that is growing in the Zap Reader Forum. People are sharing ideas and concepts and I’m making new friends along the way.
I really do appreciate everything that everyone around the globe has expressed about this project. You are what is making Zap Reader great!
A couple months ago I realized the incredible amount of stuff that I had to read. I’m not an incredibly fast reader but I’ve read a book or two on speed reading. I knew that there was some speed reading software available but it all had to be installed on a particualr computer. I use a number of different computers, browsers, and operating systems, so these options didn’t work for me. I decided to write my own web based speed reading program with the features that I wanted. With that, Zap Reader was born. After sharing it with some friends, I was encouraged to make it public.
It’s really rough at this point, but I hope to make it better as I get input from the users and find out what you really want the program to do. As I’ve worked on getting it to a point where I could share it with other people, I’ve developed a business model for it, so it is a commercial venture, even though it is free to use. As of the launch, here is the text from the home page:
ZAP Reader is a web based speed reading program that will change the way you read on your computer. Current beta testers report reading twice as much in half the time—that’s a 400% increase in reading speed, without any loss in comprehension! There is nothing to install, it works with most popular browsers, and it’s totally free!
Reader – If you have some text that you want to read fast, copy it onto your computer’s clipboard, click this link, and follow the instructions to Zap read that text.
Settings – By default, Zap Reader allows you to read at 300 words per minute, one word at a time. Use the settings feature to configure Zap Reader with your own preferences.
Tools – Zap Reader is designed to be easy to integrate with other programs. Find out about browser bookmarklets, program ad-ins, and other integration tools here.
Blog – To keep up with the latest news about Zap Reader, read the Zap Reader Blog. Even better, subscribe to the RSS feed.
Forum – Want to submit a bug report, request an enhancement, or just talk to other Zap Reader users?
I’ll be posting a tutorial here later, but I think that everything is fairly intuitive, so go ahead and give it a try. Then visit the forums, or post a comment here on the blog, and let me know what you think!
According to the IEMobile Team blog, the next version of Internet Explorer Mobile for Windows Mobile will have a different user-agent string. Read their blog entry for details.
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