OS X Service for memorizing verbatim text

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Lately I’ve been somewhat into memorizing some of my favorite quotations from books. The most effective method I’ve found for doing so has been converting each word of whatever text I’m trying to memorize to just the first letter, and trying to reconstruct the passage from that. Here’s the theory behind why this is helpful:

This is the crucial concept of any type of memorization. The act of reading something you want to memorize fires different connections than the act of recalling. This means that simply reading a particular piece of text over and over again is going to be the long road to memorization. You need to let your brain practice recalling the data so it can strengthen the same pathways that will fire when you need to remember the information later on. You can’t practice recalling until the information is at least partially contained in your short term memory.
How to Memorize Verbatim Text

So, say I want to memorize this passage from Pawn in Frankincense by Dorothy Dunnett:

The woman sitting there, straight and still on the bright velvet cushions, was not young; nor was she less than beautiful. The black hair, loose and shining, and deep, fell back over her shoulder and forward down to her waist; her chin was high above the pure line of her neck, which you could have held in one hand. Her eyebrows were black, and arched in pride, or surprise, or over some deep, long-held thought; and below the black, silky lashes, the wide eyes were packed full of straw.

Here’s what it gets converted to:

T w s t, s a s o t b v c, w n y; n w s l t b. T b h, l a s, a d, f b o h s a f d t h w; h c w h a t p l o h n, w y c h h i o h. H e w b, a a i p, o s, o o s d, l-h t; a b t b, s l, t w e w p f o s.

The website that describes this method provides a helpful JavaScript tool for performing this conversion, but before too long I was finding copying text into the box on the website a little unwieldy. So, I grabbed the relevant regular expression from the JavaScript code (str.replace(/(w)w*/g,”$1″)) and turned it into an OS X Service, a transformation that, luckily for me, Snow Leopard has made very easy. All the service does is grab some text, run a simple sed replace command (sed ‘s/([a-zA-Z0-9])[a-zA-Z0-9]*/1/g’), and output it.

In case this tool I’ve created could be at all useful to anyone else, I figured I might as well upload it.  To install it, just put it in either /Library/Services or ~/Library/Services.

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