The Anti-Texting App Of The Future Punishes The Weak-Fingered

Jack Baruth
by Jack Baruth
the anti texting app of the future punishes the weak fingered

According to what one of my son’s classmates’ mothers told me recently, texting and driving claims up to 3.2 million lives every years in the United States. Now, there’s talk of an app that could stop the highways from becoming rivers of blood.

While there are all sorts of ways to theoretically prevent people from doing the text-and-drive thing, mostly based on using the GPS bundled with most modern phones to measure speed, one group of researchers has come up with a better idea. Scientific American reports that

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are studying how software on a cell phone could analyze keystrokes to determine when that phone’s user is distracted while composing and sending text messages…

After evaluating the sensitivity of the keystroke entropy indicator against the number of keystrokes recorded, the researchers found they could accurately and relatively quickly identify when a test subject had been both texting and operating the simulator. They found normal texting took on more rhythmic patterns.

Oh yes, I think a lot of us have sent that special someone a text composed in a rhythmic pattern. Let’s make sure we keep the airwaves open for those, even if they are composed while driving.

On the face of it, this seems to be the most sensible idea yet, since it addresses the disease — distraction — and not the symptom — a phone in the vicinity of an automobile. There are two downsides, however. The first one is that it actually punishes people for taking a moment to check the road ahead. If you just put your head down and focus on your text, your phone will work right up to the point where you hit that stopped schoolbus.

The other, more dire difficulty is that it encourages people — and by “people” here I mean women under the age of 40 — to put even less thought into what they text. I mean, just taking a moment to reconsider one’s word choice can set the thing off. You all know what I mean right?

Your humble author: So, I was thinking about you the other day. The forceful softness of your lips. The way your laugh resonates like a cathedral bell, forged in an ancient cellar by a monk with perfect pitch. The muscular, equine curve of your perfectly formed hips.

Woman who in actual life is a perfectly literate and reasonable executive: lol thats hot so r u comin over 2 c me or wat

Your humble author If this is Prince responding to this text, I just want to express my sentiment that you completely phoned-in “Graffiti Bridge”.

Could it get worse? Let’s hope the nice people at PNNL get too distracted by something else to finish this project.

Join the conversation
2 of 61 comments
  • Love2drive Love2drive on Aug 27, 2012

    No one has mentioned the most disconcerting part of this post - Jack has apparently reproduced...

  • Ciddyguy Ciddyguy on Aug 27, 2012

    I get why texting is the source of the debate, right now on distracted driving However, we've had distracted driving for decades, in one form or another, but they, I don't think have been as prevalent as they are now with things like smart phones with texting features, Pandora likes/dislikes and the other similar apps that vie for attention amongst users. Yes, I have Pandora capability with my new HU, but don't use it. I have a smart phone, but I choose to concentrate on my driving, so I bought an aftermarket head unit that has hands free speakerphone Bluetooth functionality, and a USB port that can play my most oft played CD's via a thumb drive so I don't have to fumble for CD's like in the past (not that I'm getting rid of CD's, just that in the car, it's nice not to have to fumble for them while driving solo as I rarely listen to the radio for long periods, and play my mix CD's almost exclusively) I don't mind using the occasional CD, but having my most listened to ones on a thumbdrive makes things so much easier to use while driving. And it's nice to punch up a button, either on the face plate, or on the steering wheel (of which My car lacks), which ever is available to initiate the voice commands to initiate a call, or to answer the call. When I do so, the music automatically mutes/pauses as the call is answered or initiated and the other end of the call comes through my car speakers, loud and clear and I can then concentrate on my driving while I chat, usually to discuss a change in route or something like that, but not to just chat for the sake of chatting as I don't feel the need to call everyone throughout the day and I don't text all that often, but it does come in handy though. A case in point, I was heading to the Washington Coast to good family friend's beach cabin, and it was taking me MUCH longer than planned to get there due to rush hour traffic, so I received a quick text from my best friend who was already there, which I briefly read, telling me to call the cabin, so I punched up the phone button to initiate the voice commands, told the phone, which was nestled in my cup holder, plugged into the car charger to call the cabin as it was in my phone book, and it did so, and I was able to chat without handling the phone. A change in route was discussed, and I bypassed the town of McCleary Washington to make up time by heading almost back to Olympia on US 101, and get turned around at Mud Bay to head west towards Aberdeen/Hoquiam, and ST 109 to the cabin as they all were 4 lane, divided highways with higher speed limits. Took all of 5 hours to get there, when it should've taken no more than 3.5-4 hrs. And I was able to concentrate on my driving, which I felt to be important. Sadly so many don't see it that way.

  • MRF 95 T-Bird Back when the Corolla consisted of a wide range of body styles. This wagon, both four door and two door sedans, a shooting brake like three door hatch as well as a sports coupe hatchback. All of which were on the popular cars on the road where I resided.
  • Wjtinfwb Jeez... I've got 3 Ford's and have been a defender due to my overall good experiences but this is getting hard to defend. Thinking the product durability testing that used to take months to rack up 100k miles or more is being replaced with computer simulations that just aren't causing these real-world issues to pop up. More time at the proving ground please...
  • Wjtinfwb Looks like Mazda put more effort into sprucing up a moribund product than Chevy did with the soon to be euthanized '24 Camaro.
  • Wjtinfwb I've seen worse on the highways around Atlanta, usually with a refrigerator or washer wedged into the trunk and secured with recycled twine...
  • Wjtinfwb Surprising EB Flex hasn't weighed in yet on it being the subject of a recall...