We're not sure what's more disheartening, the fact that Brianna Hendrickson, a 13-year-old from Brooklyn, New York text messages her friends and family 7,000 times a month, or that doing so prepared her to win this year's LG U.S. National Texting Championship and bring home $50,000 for her efforts.
Either way, little Miss Hendrickson has a good jump on her college tuition after beating out 500,000 other texters who participated in the challenge. During the final battle, Hendrickson triumphed over two other teens and a 48-year-old woman from Chicago by being the first to accurately type, "Old McDonald had a farm, Ei, ei, oh! And on this farm he had a champ. W/a txtr here, and BFF there. Here a text, there a text, erywhere a text-text!"
"I was really nervous when I saw the final phrase and worried my fingers wouldn't be fast enough," Hendrickson said. "Hearing my name announced was amazing and shocking all at the same time."
Hendrickson is now eligible to compete in the LG Text for Good Challenge, in which she could double her cash price, plus another $50,000 for a charity of her choosing.
Listen, we're not looking to spark a debate over marijuana, so let's not get sidetracked in the comments section. But no matter where you stand on the issue, we can all probably agree that texting your local sheriff looking to score a bag of weed is a dumb idea.
"Hey Dawg, do you have a $20 I can buy right now?," a teen from Helena, MT sent out in a text message.
In his haste to get high, the teen texted the above message to the wrong number, and out of all the wrong numbers he could have sent that message too, it ended up going to Sheriff Leo Dutton, who initially thought it was a joke.
"I'm thinking, 'Hey this is odd,'" Dutton said. "I was looking around to see if there was someone outside my window playing a prank."
There wasn't, so Dutton enlisted the help of the Missouri River Drug Task Force and set up a sting to catch the teen. It worked, with Dutton getting the parents involved. No citation was issued.
The moral of the story? Double check those digits before texting.
Call it a blatant stereotype if you will, but there's no way adult texters come close to text messaging teenage girls who send and receive thousands of texts every month. But that doesn't mean grownups are left living in the cell phone Stone Age, either. According to Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, 72 percent of adult cell phone owners now partake in texting.
That still trails teens in general (male or female), of which 87 percent of those who carry a mobile phone keep in contact with friends and family through text messaging. And we don't even want to know how the comparison breaks down when looking at the total number of messages whisked through the airwaves, though Pew Research revealed this stat anyway. On average, your teenage son or daughter (or YOU, as the case may be) send some 50 text messages every day, compared to the "typical 10 text messages" adults send and receive on a daily basis.
But let's forget about the quantity -- teens are always going to 'win' that one. What's interesting is the steady rise in the number of adults warming up to text messages. In December 2007, a little more than half -- 58 percent -- of adult cell phone owners participated in texting, and that number jumped to 65 percent in September 2009.
"It may be that folks have been pushed by pricing into unlimited texting plans, which has the effect of encouraging people with those plans to text more, because they no longer think of the cost, and then text more often," said Amanda Lenhart, Pew senior research specialist.
As it turns out, you're correct in cussing text-happy teens who get behind the wheel and pay equal parts attention to driving and texting, but save a few obscenities for adults, too. According to a new study by The Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project, grownups are just as likely to fire off a text while cruising down the road as teenagers are.
The research shows that some 47 percent of adults who text admit to doing so while driving. Compare that to a Pew study last year in which 34 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds said they send and receive texts while behind the wheel. After factoring in that not everyone owns a cell phone, the report said that 27 percent of of U.S. adults are guilty of texting while driving, compared to 26 percent of 16- and 17-year olds.
What's more, adults are more likely to yap at each other on their cell phones while driving, the study shows. That number comes out to 75 percent, compared to 52 percent of teenagers, or when using the same fuzzy math as before, 61 percent and 43 percent, respectively.
Alright, Android phone owners. This one's for you, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about and/or don't actually own an Android-based phone, you can steer clear this week. Otherwise... get ready to be rocked.
A clever little Firefox add-on called Send to Phone is an amazing resource for those of you that use Android-based phones. Here's why: One of the more frustrating things one does as a phone owner is getting information--like a Web URL, a friend's email address, or a note to thyself--from your PC to your mobile device. Short of emailing it to yourself (or, worse, texting it to yourself), you really don't have a great way to convey information that you've found on the Interwebs to your phone.
Send to Phone fixes that issue in two ways, and they're both detailed after the jump!
I'm an avid fan of (and former talking head on) Maximum PC's weekly podcast. But sometimes, that's just not enough audio tech news for my liking. I'm not a fan of other podcasts; that would be cheating. But I am a huge proponent of Firefox add-ons, and I've found one that satiates my need to hear my news instead of read it-surely you'll be able to find a better use for this interesting add-on, I would hope.
The extension in question is called Text to Voice and, as the name (so often) implies, it allows you to conjure up a Stephen Hawking kind of narrator to read whatever it is you find in your Firefox Web browser. Using this add-on couldn't be any easier, seriously. I'll show you just how it works after the jump!
Do we really need a study to tell us that teenagers like to send each other text messages? Apparently yes, because not only are teens into texting, but it's their go-to method of communication, says ChaCha, a text messaging question and answer service.
ChaCha polled nearly 1,500 teens and young adult users asking them: "What's your favorite way to communicate?" Here's how the answers stacked up.
Mobile Text: 67.53 percent
Other: 11.24 percent
Mobile Call/Voice: 9.22 percent
Facebook: 8.84 percent
Instant Message: 2.88 percent
Email: 0.29 percent
The highest percentage answer for "Other" was "In Person," so we do take some solace knowing that it was at least the second most preferred method of communication, but who are we kidding here, calling it a distant second would like be describing Godzilla as a lizard.
On a related note, teens and young adults said they'd miss their mobile phone the most if it was taken away (60.69 percent), followed by their PC (17.75 percent), radio (11 percent), and television (10.56 percent).
"Teens rely on their mobile devices as their primary medium, and they ask ChaCha over a million questions each day providing insights on their brand attitudes and actions," says Scott Jones, CEO of ChaCha."
A few months ago Google launched an Android App called Google Goggles that could recognize real life objects and text. It was an interesting demonstration of technology, but its usefulness was suspect. With the most recent update however, Goggles got a whole lot more interesting. The ability to translate text is now available from within the Goggles app. The feature is based on the translation engine Google showed off earlier this year at Mobile World Congress.
By simply snapping a picture the app will offer the user the option of translate the languages of English, French, Italian, German and Spanish. Google is working to improve the character recognition engine, and also to build in support for languages that use non-latin characters. Goggles is available on Android phones running version 1.6 or later. So those of you on Sense UI or MotoBLUR phones with 1.5 are, yet again, left out.
We're certainly excited about the possibilities this opens up for those who travel. Let us know if you've given it a shot and how it works.
If you browse a lot of text on the Web--and who doesn't, given one's typical commuting habits and/or easy access to 3G USB dongles--then you probably find yourself scrolling over huge pages of copy without any real way to make notes on what it is that you're reading. This might not be the biggest deal for the casual surfer, but there's always a time when it would be nice to just have some way to mark an especially pertinent passage for use later.
You can save pages via bookmarks, but you can't really do much with the information contained within these pages unless you copy and paste it over to your word processing app of choice and go to town. A Firefox add-on looks to change this up a bit, and it delivers a very simple feature that's surprisingly omitted from, well, every browser there is.
Apple news site AppleInsider.com uncovered an interesting filing from Steve Jobs and the gang that dates back to November of last year, but apparently has gone unnoticed until now.
According to the paperwork, Apple is working on a way for iPhone users to transmit data, like text messages, over voice channels, somewhat similar to Nextel's walktie-talkie mode. As it stands now, sending a text messages relies on a wireless carrier's backend server.
"With the rapid deployment, proliferation, and technical advancement of mobile personal communication devices, such as cell phones, a user of these devices is presented with any number of ways to communication with another user," Apple wrote in the filing. "For example, a user can send a text message using, for example, Short Message Service-Point to Point (SMS-PP) protocol as defined in GSM recommendation 03.40 where messages are sent via a store-and forward mechanism to a Short Message Service Center (SMSC), which will attempt to send the message to the recipient and possibly retry if the user is not reachable at a given moment. Therefore, SMS-PP requires the use of a backend server to provide the necessary support for transmission of data between sender and receiver."
What Apple's proposing is a system where data is transferred back and forth by way of a voice channel only, bypassing the backend server altogether. It gets a little geeky from there, all of which you can read right here.