As an update to an earlier post about listening faster I have been using MySpeed for about 6 weeks now. It hooks into Flash player and gives you a little desktop control that lets you speed up any Flash video from 0.5x (slow down) to 5x.
I've had a couple of instances where it has failed -- it tells you when it's active and occasionally I'll be watching a YouTube video and it will say "No Flash Video Playing ..." But for the most part it works as advertised and I would recommend it.
I now watch most video at a minimum of 1.3x. MySpeed has hot keys so you can quickly dial the speed up or down in 0.1x increments. With practice I'm starting to understand speech at a faster pace so sometimes I'll ramp it up to 2x.
Most YouTube videos are much more amusing if you watch them at 1.3x or faster.
TED talks feature some of the world's slowest presentations. You can watch most TED talks at 2x, often 3x. I understand they are trying to convey big ideas but once you start watching video at your preferred pace you start to realise just how much time is being wasted for the sake of dramatic effect (and clarity; I'll note that both speakers & audience are not native English speakers).
A nifty side effect for those of us who don't want to run an ad blocker: you can use this to fast forward all Flash video ads.
I was a bit dubious about MySpeed when I first discovered it via Google. It looks like such a spam site. So this post is mostly for the benefit of others like me who may have hesitated to try a Flash hook from such a random looking site.