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Profile of bootweasel
I'm thinking of putting together a CD-ROM to help myself learn how to pencil read.

The basic idea is that the CD gives the option of seeing video of any single digit written by one of a bunch of people. The user can choose which digit to watch, or guess the identity of one at random.

Each number would have at least ten video clips of it being written.

There would also be a selection of three digit numbers to guess, in order for the user to determine their progress.

Obviously it wouldn't be intended as a replacement for practice under performance pressure, but it would be a learning aid for those unable to find a willing volunteer to help them learn (as well as hopefully providing a bit of variation in writing styles).

I might also include ESP symbols and possibly even chalk on slate versions to allow sound reading, however I think the alphabet would be too much work, both in the production and the learning.

As I said, it's only an idea and it would be primarilly for me, but if there's any interest I could produce a number of copies at a reasonable charge. What do you think? Has it already been done? Is it a dumb idea or a good way to master an underused skill? Any ideas to make the CD better? A UK source on the right type of pencil would help me out too.

Thanks in advance
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milton keynes, england
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Profile of sludge
What a neat idea, especially if you could have multiple people on it. How about just having some specific words too? e.g. star signs or a selection of famous peoples names. If you need any help from an experienced multimedia developer (free of charge) let me know.
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Profile of bootweasel
I've got the development covered, but thanks for the offer. There's an effect in thirteen steps where you write a three digit number, then the spectator writes one, you turn them around and they match (pencil reading and NW). That's just too direct to miss out on.

I don't want to make mountains of work for myself, but if there's an effect where PW could push it into the miracle catergory, with star signs or famous names, then I'd consider incorporating them. I'm just unsure about how much impact would be gained, for the amount of effort you'd have to put in to master it.

I also like the idea of using PW once, then switching to a thought transmitter or SUC, having effectively already 'proved' that they are unrequired for the effect to work.
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Profile of BonzoTheClown

The problem is this is that it does not provide very good practice as you'll soon know the order and which contains which digit.

It is far better to have a piece of software that plays random clips for you to try and indentify without providing you with any external clues which your memory might rely on. I have suggested such a thing before elsewhere as many people ask "how can I practice pencil reading"

Marc Climens
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Inner circle
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Profile of Paul
I think he had that covered Marc, he did say;
"The user can choose which digit to watch, or guess the identity of one at random. Each number would have at least ten video clips of it being written."

Bootweaswel, I think you have come up with a good practice aid for yourself to give yourself a head start. Marketable? I don't think there would be a big demand but I'm sure there would be some interest. If you were going to do that, you may as well go the whole way and include alphabet letters too!

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Profile of bootweasel
What I really need is David Blaine to use it in a TV special, then I could charge £40 a CD and sit in a bathtub of money, laughing and rubbing my hands in a sinister way.

Like I said, it's not an idea to make money. I just thought that people in the magic community might be able to benefit from it's existance. If there was any interest and I decide to produce it, I'd send off CDs for about £5, to cover postage, the CD and my time.

If I made it into a website (which did cross my mind), it would be public domain, which I'm not prepared to do for obvious reasons.

The clips would be shown randomly (the sequence would change each time), which is why it would need to be a CD ROM and not a Video CD, or video cassette. I also want the option of repeatedly watching a particular number and perhaps a test mode where it shows a clip and you have to click on the coresponding number, then after twenty clips it rates your score.
Richard Osterlind
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Profile of Richard Osterlind
This sounds like a very interesting idea. You would need to have a number of people writing, of course, to cover different styles. With the magnitude of pens and pencils available today, this would also have to be a consideration. I could never decide what kind of pen, ink refill, gel pen, big lead pencil, thin lead, etc. works best for this kind of work.

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Liverpool, UK
75 Posts

Profile of c_lamby2k
I think that's a brilliant idea!
I could sure use some practise with pencil reading.

its one of those skills that is very valuable to learn, I'm sure that there would be quite a lot of people who would like to purchase one of the CDs

good luck with it!
mental mal fortune
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Profile of mental mal fortune
I'm sure you've thought of this already, but don't forget to include sound. This is a big help when pencil reading, especially if you have the right paper/ pen combination.


Another thought, why not include other items being drawn. Common geometric shapes springs to mind.

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Profile of bootweasel
Thanks for all your advice.
I'll include video of the esp symbols, and if I can source pencils similar to those Corinda suggests in the thirteen steps, I'll send one with the CD.
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Profile of owenscott
I am always looking for an extra edge. I am so generic still, that I need all the help I can get. Now you plan to make this for yourself but, if you allowed "friends :wink;;wink;;nudge::nudge: "us here at the caf'e" to get a copy for like 10 bucks there prolly would be several hundred dollars comming your way. Which would pay you for your time (pennies an hour I am sure but it helps).
Greg Owen
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Profile of Greg Owen
This sounds like a wonderful idea. Richard makes a good point about various pens/pencils - of course, we can provide these to ensure good sight of the top of the pen/pencil and good sound, if we are using that Smile

And for your own work, consider the 'crutch' of limiting the choice of what is written to something that is short or long to write. Then the time taken to write gives a substantial clue. See T.A. Waters MM&M for more on this.

- Greg Owen
Author of The Alpha Stack ebook - the balanced memorized stack
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