Yup, you read that right. I do. But before everybody flips out, let me explain.
I normally wouldn't use a blog to hawk a product. I recently discovered an amazing application for my BlackBerry that could save lives. It is called Drivesafe.ly.
Drivesafe.ly reads your text messages and emails aloud. It does a great job, too. I've tried to mess with it by typing in words that might throw a machine for a loop (my maiden name, for example), and overall it is very, very good at getting them correct.
You can get a simple version of this software for free. For $14, you can get a more advanced version that has more options. Both the free and paid versions allow the user to set auto-responders (away messages) for your texts, emails, both, or one or the other. That way you can let your impatient friends and family know that you can't reply at the moment, but that you heard their message. Or, you can shut that off and make them wait. It's up to you.
It comes in handy for things other than just driving. Have you ever been eagerly expecting a reply, and something arrives while you are elbow deep in fixing dinner? You wash up, set things aside, lose your momentum, and excitedly grab your device. But as you open the message, you realize sadly that it is a forwarded email from a relative of kittens wearing hats, instructing you to in turn send it to ten friends or everybody that you care about will lose their right thumbs in a gardening accident.
I do see it's downsides though, too. If you have somebody who likes to send gossipy, snarky, or profanity filled messages, you had better be good at remembering to disable the program when necessary. I could easily see this leading to hurt feelings.
But overall, this really is a really nice program. Sure, the best alternative would be for us to all slow down, and not exist with such an immediate mentality. But, that is where we are, and it is only going to get worse. A program like Drivesafe.ly is a perfect fit for the person that is attached to technology. There is no reason to be reading your text messages while driving when programs like this exist. You can keep your eyes on the road AND keep updated at the same time without killing yourself and others.
Drivesafe.ly is available for BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, and Windows Mobile phones. Soon they will have one that will recognize your voice to send replies. You can go to http://www.drivesafe.ly to get it yourself if you are interested. It really is worth it.