Saturday, October 30, 2010


I hear that Bunnie's Chumby device is quite popular. It's a small, portable computer that can report on preprogrammed feeds of information, so you can always know what's on twitter, or in the news, or how your favorite stock is doing. While you're on the subway. Or at the dentist's. Or at work. (Warning: Do actual work while at work. Checking twitter or whatever all day will get you fired.) It's portable, and can get its Internet connection from any wireless connection, which are more and more common these days.
There are some times when you might want the information, but looking at it is a bad idea. Like, while you're driving. Taking your eyes off the road for even a second is a terrible idea, even if your stocks are tanking, your best friend is having a tempest-like breakup, or the news announced that we're now at war with the entire rest of the earth. As important as these things may be, they're not more important than not colliding with another car at 100KPH.
So, I propose either an addition to the chumby, or a separate device, that connects to a bluetooth receiver in your ear and reads out, in the best synthesized voice that it can manage, a summary of events as they are brought to the device's attention. It would be no more distracting than a radio, which are standard in cars and haven't proven too severe a distraction. It wouldn't be very harsh on the device's CPU, either, due to big advances in speech synthesis. It will sound like a droning robot, which would probably get very old, very fast.
Bonus points if speech transcription software is running at the same time, so you could verbally address the thing. Even if to say, "Computer, shut up." Operating the thing while not being distracted is paramount.

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