Saturday, June 13, 2015

Check drunken e-mailing

Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes over the last couple of weeks trolling technology blogs or cocktail lounges has probably heard about Mail Goggles, a new feature on Google's G mail program that is intended to help stamp out a scourage that few knew existed: drunken e-mailing. the experimental program requires any user who enables the function to perform five simple maths problem in 60 seconds before sending e-mails between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. on weekends. That time-frame apparently corresponds to the gap between cocktail No.1 and cocktail No.4, when tapping out an e-mail message can seem like the equivalent of bungee jumping without a cord. Mail Goggles is not the first case of a technology developed to keep people from endangering themselves or others with the machinery of daily life after they have had a few. For years, judges have ordered drunken-driving offenders to install computerized breath-analyzers linked to their car's ignition system to prevent them from starting the vehicle when intoxicated. But as the first sobriety checkpoint on what used to be called the information superhighway, the Mail Goggles program raises a larger question: In an age when so much of routine communication is accomplished with our fingertips are we becoming so-tethered to our keyboards that we need the technological equivalent of trigger locks on firearms? In interview with people who confessed to imbibing and typing at the same time, sometimes with regrettable consequences, the answer seems to be yes.

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