As a tech nerd one of the great joys of the Internet is that it's made sharing of information both quicker and easier. Presentations from conferences are frequently available online, for free, in both audio/video and slide formats.
Viewing slides standalone often means missing out on key explanations but watching a one hour video is a pretty big time commitment and talks often progress at a glacial pace. I guess with a broad audience the presenter should speak at a pace that's generally comfortable, particularly for non-native speakers, and it's also tricky to speak quickly and clearly on your feet!
In recent months several top-notch online courses have appeared for topics such as Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. One of the awesome features in their video lectures is the ability to choose to playback at 1.2x or 1.5x normal speed. It makes the lectures much more enjoyable because at that speed your brain is fully engaged. At normal speaking speed I get bored and I end up trying to multi-task and missing key bits of the speech.
QCon (who publish many fantastic talks) make MP3 audio and slides available so today I experimented with speeding up the MP3 playback on "What Techniques Can Design Researchers Learn from Insurance Claims Investigation?". Using VLC one can speed up playback in 0.1x increments. Starting at a comfortable 1.2x I ended up at 1.7x -- slow enough to be intelligible, yet fast enough to keep me brain fully occupied.
It's a bit cumbersome to download MP3s to speed up playback so I'm looking for an easy to use tool that could speed up any audio/video within a browser ... please leave a comment if you know of one.
If you've ever watched a visually impaired person use a computer you'll know that the screen readers they use are turned up to incredible speeds that seem unintelligible to unpractised listeners. It gives you some idea as to what the brain is capable of.