Please talk faster

I find myself ingesting more and more information in the form of audio and video. This is rather unfortunate since neither well suited for this purpose. The primary purpose of audio recordings are to fill the long silences that otherwise occur while moving from one point to another in a vehicle. The primary purpose of video recordings is to fill the time between when the kids go to bed and when I go to bed with something that does not require much thought. Notice how neither purpose is related to conveying information.

I suppose there probably are some type of information which are best pervade using audio or video (music springs to mind). However, the information density in the average podcast/screencast/videoblog/ videotaped presentation is shockingly low.

For example, I just spend 35 minutes listening to quite interesting podcast of Jon Udell interviewing Beth Kanter. I learned a couple of things and it spurred some interesting ideas. However, neither of them talk very fast, and I kept wondering if I could both meaningfully surf the web and listen. I could not. Which means that they just made me spend 35 minutes to gain what would have been about 10-15 minutes worth of information if only it had be presented in a less voluminous medium. This kind of waste should be embarrassing.

I don’t think there is any way around the fact that I will continue to ingest more video and audio recordings. People seems to have an ever increasing preference for producing information in those mediums. My only hope is prostrate myself at the feet of the god of all web multimedia and plead for the ability to play flash content at speeds faster than normal. If it did pitch correction like the Amazing Slow Downer that would be cool but I would rather have people sound like chipmunks rather than miss all that information completely because I just cannot stand that most people talk so slowly.

5 thoughts on “Please talk faster

  1. Here’s what I do (this works especially well with audio):

    1. Download the video/audio source to my computer.
    2. Play the video/audio using a desktop application.
    3. Use the controls in the application to speed up the video/audio. For example, Window Media Player has a “Fast” button that plays the audio at 1.4x the normal playback speed…although I usually use 1.3x.

    It would be great if playback speed was included in the many, many, web playback widgets out there so that we would not need to download first.

  2. Hi,

    I can totally understand the urge to surf while listening. And, if the truth be told, I listened to the interview while watching tv! I’ve adjusting to rapid attention shifting ..

    Thanks for posting about the interview.

    What did you learn that you found most useful?

  3. I too seem to grab more and more information from audio and video sources. Sites like infoq also convey information from conferences and stuff more and more using video.

    Without giving it deeper thought, my experience have been the same as yours. I feel it takes a loooong time to finish a video, as compared to the scanning of a webpage. Maybe I then congest it better, I don’t know.

    Often, I hear googles video casts from their tech talks. But they are sooo long (like 1 hour each), that I have trouble getting one finished in an evening and still having time for my wife :-)

Comments are closed.