NEW Option Arrow Feature

Voice Card  -  Volume 5  -  John Card Number 10  -  Fri, Mar 10, 1989 12:46 AM

This is a response to volume 5, Paul Card Number 5 ("Voice Card Navigation")...

Paul's comments about voice card navigation have inspired several exciting new features that may help reduce everyone's reading time.

First a brief aside: Paul mentioned that the two ways to return to the last card after reading one of my replys: hitting the down arrow, or returning to the index, would only work if my cards come at the end of the stack. Actually, both of these methods work regardless of positioning, but in any case the Harvest process always places my cards at the end of the stack.

As some of you are probably aware, holding down the option key while hitting the forward or previous arrow buttons will automatically scan through the stack until a previously unread card is found. Paul has hit upon what I regard as the most efficient strategy for attacking a voice volume: After reading all the hello cards (using the handy arrows to jump directly from card to card), he starts at the beginning and works his way through left to right, always holding down the option key so as to skip cards he has already encountered.

As he reports, a minor annoyance is that after reading each one of my replies he has to find his way back to the original card. It's easy to just hit the down arrow, but it's also easy to forget to hit the down arrow.

I have therefore changed the option arrow feature in two ways. First, I have created a system that works like a caps lock key. When you option click either arrow, the initials "SR" appear inside both arrows to indicate that you are now in the optional "Speed Reading" mode. To return to normal operation, just option click either one of the arrows a second time. This way you don't have to keep your thumb on the option key all night. (TRY IT NOW - toggle back and forth by option clicking on one of the two arrows).

When in "Speed Reading" mode, the arrows work much as they did before, moving directly forward or backward until they find an unread card. But if ever you should jump out of the normal left-to-right path, by hitting a reply button or a pointing hand button, or by using the FIND command to leap directly to a distant card, the arrow button will "remember" where you were when you jumped off course. If you then push either arrow button while still in SR mode, it will "notice" that you've jumped out of place, and instead of moving to the next card, it will hop back to where you were. You can then push it again to continue on your way.

Thus a typical session might go something like this. After reading the hello cards you move to the very first voice card and, holding down the option key, you click on the forward arrow. The card does not change, but both the left and right arrows display the SR signature.

Now you click the arrow again (without touching the keyboard) and you move to the next card. Both arrows are still in SR mode. You read and click, read and click, moving to, say, Holly Card Number 3.

At this point you see a cheshire cat in the first reply box and you give it a push. You now find yourself in John Card Number 12. After giving this card your full attention, you click the forward arrow and find yourself NOT in John Card Number 13, but back at Holly Card Number 3. Click again to move to Holly Card 4, then 5, etc.

Thus once you are in speed reading mode, you have only to read and click, read and click, and you will move in the straightest possible line through the stack. When all the cards are read you will want to turn off speed reading mode by option clicking either arrow. (This is done automatically when you return to the index card after all cards are read.) Incidentally, if ever HyperCard starts rampaging out of control through a long thicket of previously read cards, and you want it to STOP, just hit -period; this always stops HyperCard in its tracks.

The thing that makes this feature truly powerful, is that it works even when you travel back to previous volumes (except vols 0-3 in which this feature was not installed). Thus in the midst of volume 10 you could use the FIND command to jump back to volume 4 and you would find the arrows still in SR mode. Just tap one of them to return to your starting place in volume 10!

After deviating from the straight and narrow speed reading path, the next time you click an SR arrow you will hop back to the point of deviation. Sometimes this is not what you want. In some cases you may want to start a brand new straight line path. If so, simply option click once to exit SR mode, and again to re-enter it. This, in effect, "clears the memory." You can then proceed in a straight line from your current location.

Speed Reading mode is not available to cards inside the transit stack. If you have just created a new card and wish to return to your place in the current volume, all is not lost: you can still option click the bent return arrow to pop directly back. See Vol 5 John 17.

The only problem now, as Paul points out, is remembering how to trigger speed reading mode. I am not yet ready to re-release the Voice Card Help Manual, but see the next card for a partial solution.