All posts in “reading”

Save up to $30 on the all-new (waterproof!) Kindle Paperwhite on Amazon

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The Paperwhite is now waterproof, has 32 GB storage, and is $30 off.
The Paperwhite is now waterproof, has 32 GB storage, and is $30 off.

Image: amazon

Winter break must-haves: Hot chocolate (Baileys optional), a ridiculously big blanket, and books.

Whether you’re reading because it’s your passion, because that one professor assigned a holiday reading list, or simply to get away from your extended family as they feud about politics, endless amounts of books are going to be necessary. And lucky for you, the brand-new Kindle Paperwhite is up to $30 off at Amazon today.

Image: amazon

The all-new Kindle Paperwhite could be your BFF this holiday season (or the ultimate gift for someone on your list): Just released in November 2018, it’s 10% thinner and 10% lighter than the previous generation, has a backlit 300 ppi glare-free display, runs on a battery that lasts weeks, and is now completely waterproof. (Um, hello bath time reading marathons!)

Possibly the most impressive change to the new Paperwhite are its storage options. While you can still choose the classic 8 GB model and pay less, you can now also opt for a massive 32 GB and ensure that you’ll never run out of room to house all of the books, magazines, comics, and more that you may find. And with all the download options that LTE connectivity and a Kindle Unlimited subscription offer, you’re probably gonna need it.

Start your customizing: Save $30 on the 8 GB and get it for $99.99 (regularly $129.99) or $30 on the 32 GB and get it for $119.99 (regularly $149.99). 

If you’re really in the spirit of splurging, the Paperwhite Essentials Bundle is also up for grabs with a $60 discount today (!!!), rolling in at just $159.97. This handy combo includes the actual Paperwhite device with 32 GB storage and Wi-Fi special offers, a leather cover (available in five colors), and a power adapter. That’s saving money and saving time by not having to place three separate orders.

Pocket’s reading app won’t sound so robotic now

Last year, Mozilla made its first acquisition by snatching up Pocket, the Instapaper competitor that helps you save longer articles for later reading. Today, this popular reading app is getting a major update that gives its app a visual makeover, including a new dark mode, and most importantly, a better way to listen to the content you’ve saved.

Pocket had added a text-to-speech feature several years ago, so you could listen to an audio version of your saved articles, instead of reading them. Instapaper today offers a similar option.

But these text-to-speech engines often sound robotic and mangle words, leading to a poor listening experience. They’ll work in a pinch when you really need to catch up with some reading, and can’t sit down to do it. But they’re definitely not ideal.

Today, Pocket is addressing this problem with the launch of a new listening feature that will allow for a more human-sounding voice. On iOS and Android, the listen feature will be powered by Amazon Polly, Mozilla says.

First introduced at Amazon’s re:Invent developer event in November 2016, Polly uses machine learning technologies to deliver more life-like speech. Polly also understands words in context. For example, it knows that the word “live” would be pronounced differently based on its usage. (E.g. “I live in Seattle” vs. “Live from New York.”) The technology has evolved since to support speech marks, a timbre effect, and dynamic range compression, among other things.

To take advantage of the updated “Listen” feature, users just tap the new icon in the top-left corner of the Pocket mobile app to start playing their articles. It’s like your own personalized podcast, Mozilla notes.

In addition, the app has been given a redesign that gives it a clean, less cluttered look-and-feel, and introduces a new app-wide dark mode and sephia themes, for those who want a different sort of reading experience.

The redesign includes updated typography and fonts, focused on making long reads more comfortable, as well.

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“At Mozilla, we love the web. Sometimes we want to surf, and the Firefox team has been working on ways to surf like an absolute champ with features like Firefox Advance,” said Mark Mayo, Chief Product Officer at Firefox, in a statement about the launch. “Sometimes, though, we want to settle down and read or listen to a few great pages. That’s where Pocket shines, and the new Pocket makes it even easier to enjoy the best of the web when you’re on the go in your own focused and uncluttered space,” he said.

The updated version of Pocket is live on the web, iOS and Android, as of today.

This speed reading tool helps you breeze through text and is on sale for under $30

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Improve your digital reading skills.
Improve your digital reading skills.

Image: Pexels

Thanks to the Internet, a lot of us are now drowning in a giant sea of words. It’s likely that you have a million tabs open on your browser with articles you swear you will read and an inbox brimming with unopened emails. It’s also possible that your e-book queue is already accumulating virtual dust because you haven’t touched it in so long. It’s not entirely your fault, though. All these reading materials — with their chunks of black and white paragraphs — aren’t exactly what you would call enticing, even if the headlines or titles seem promising.

The simple solution: BeeLine Reader.

Designed to provide an optimal reading experience, this speed reading browser extension breathes new life into passages of text by infusing eye-guiding color gradients in each line to assist you in breezing through them quickly and easily. This makes the text easier on the eyes and allows you to follow each line and snap to the next again and again. It reduces line transition errors, so you’ll never find yourself skipping over a row of text or reading the same line twice. When you use this handy tool, you’ll be reading so much faster that you won’t even realize that you’re already done reading a piece, a book chapter, or your manager’s lengthy email with 100% comprehension.

Want proof of its efficacy? It has already been adopted by the California Public Library System and lauded by Stanford, Dell, and The Tech Museum of Innovation. Yeah, BeeLine Reader has been recognized by the big guys.

Turbocharge your reading ability for the rest of eternity with a lifetime subscription to BeeLine Reader. Normally $220, you can get it today for only $29.99.

The NYT adds a personalized ‘news feed’ to its iOS app

The New York Times announced on Friday how it’s adding its own take on Facebook-style News Feed to its mobile app. Yes, literally a news feed. The publication says it will now allow its iOS app users to customize their reading experience through a new feature called “Your Feed,” which consists only of those channels readers choose to follow. Some of those channels will pull stories from existing New York Times sections and columns, like Modern Love, while others, like Gender & Society, At War, Pop Culture, and more will pull news from across the paper’s sections. And others will include commentary from reporters and editors, and will feature worthy reads from outside The Times.

This additional context will only be found in this personalized Your Feed section, and is something the publication says is an experiment in terms of bringing another layer of insight to the news and stories. On the technical side, the commentary itself is actually pulled from The Times’ Slack, through the use of a bot built by backend engineer Brandon Hopkins. It basically turns Slack into the CMS for publishing these short posts to the Your Feed section of the app.

The design team equates the Your Feed reading experience to the way people tend to peruse a printed newspaper. Beyond reading the front page news, people will often pull out the sections they want to read, and then thumb through them – coming across other stories they want to read. And different readers will gravitate towards different sections and articles.

It says the idea for the feed came from its user research, where it found that many people wanted a separate place from the home page to follow a customized feed of content.

With The NYT outputting around 160 articles per day, it’s very difficult to be a comprehensive reader of the paper in its entirety, of course. But the app already allowed users to poke around in its many sections by tapping through its navigation. With the addition of a personalized feed – as on Facebook and on other social apps – there’s always the danger that people will begin to box themselves into their own news bubble. If the app’s users start skipping the front page and other key sections to hop into this own custom feed, they could potentially miss important news.

Hopefully, readers will choose to use the new Your Feed feature as something that’s additive to their overall news reading experience, and not as a stand-in for actually reading the paper itself.

Additionally, The NYT says the sections will be curated by its editors to ensure there’s a diverse selection of stories available. (Thankfully – news curation left up to A.I. and algorithms has proven time and again to be a disaster. So much so that Facebook finally gave up, and ditched its Trending news section altogether.) Plus, by having a human-programmed section, the editors can ensure not to overwhelm readers with stories.

To use the new feature, readers in the iOS app will be able to pick from one of 24 channels they want to follow – an idea that’s not too unlike the way users follow accounts on social apps like Twitter or Instagram. To then read through this section, there will now be a new space in the iOS app labeled Your Feed.

Going forward, The NYT says it will tweak the experience further by adjusting the channel selection, offering more ways to follow channels, and rolling out other features, while responding to user feedback and behavior to inform its design choices. It will also experiment with different versions of saving stories, notifications, and ways to better manage your interests in the app.

The feature is rolling out to The NYT iOS app for the time being.

Learn to read faster and improve your memory for just $9

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Just $9 for lifetime access
Just $9 for lifetime access

Image: Pexels

You know how they say people only use 10% of their brain? Yeah, it turns out, that’s total bullshit

We absolutely use most of our brain, almost all of the time. And there’s no magic key that unlocks an unused, possibly telekinetic reserve of mental power. There is, however, a set of techniques that can help you use your brain power faster and more effectively. It’s called the Become a SuperLearner: Speed Reading & Memory course, and while it won’t help you levitate objects with your mind, it can elevate the way you learn, work, and play.

This revised and expanded edition of the original SuperLearner course takes students on a journey through the human brain, with over 62 lectures and five hours of content. You’ll start by learning about cognitive functions; getting the neurological lay of the land. Then you’ll learn how to leverage your brain’s natural inclinations in order to memorize more information, and retain it for longer. Building off of that, you’ll discover the keys to speed reading—not just skimming but actually comprehending the content and committing it to memory. Together, these new skills allow you to tear through your reading list, hone your rate of recall, and even learn new languages with ease.

Can this training turn you into a genius? That’s yet to be seen, but it’s certainly a smart move to buy lifetime access today— SuperLearner is now only $9 after a massive discount off the original $144.99 price.