The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Life

December 29, 2010

Americans turn to technology to control impulses

(Continued)

Distler, who had previously developed games for the iPhone, based the app on the notion that the safest way to deal with your phone while driving is to remove temptation altogether. His NOTXT runs in the background and, using GPS, automatically restricts texting via a phone's airplane mode when a car reaches 10 mph. It deactivates when it detects the car has stopped.

The app, sold in several other counties as well, hit the BlackBerry market Sept. 3 and has been downloaded about 2,000 times.

Among those downloading the app were three companies with a combined fleet of more than 1,200 trucks. Distler estimates about 48 percent of his sales are parents hoping to curtail the texting habits of young drivers.

"Nobody's really going to just put the phone down and not use it," he said. "The issue is we don't police ourselves."

Another app, Slow Down, alters the tempo of your music, depending on your driving speed, on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Using GPS, the music slows if a preset speed limit is exceeded and stops completely if you're over the limit by more than 10 mph. You can have your tunes back when you slow down.

What about other areas, like overspending?

Enter MasterCard's inControl program, which has one company partner in the United States, Citigroup. You can set a general cap and the bank cuts you off when you've reached your spending limit, or you can preset a monthly amount for specific purchases such as restaurant meals. Like other bank cards, you can also order up spending alerts.

Overthinking, overdrinking, overspending. What's left?

Are you lonely on your runs? Adidas has extended monitoring and data collection technology for its miCoach brand to include a "coaching mode." You can choose from a variety of voices to feed information about form and speed.

Mack thinks a greater awareness of how we consume has produced a growing awareness of the limits of self-control.

"The spotlight has definitely been put on that," she said. "We're increasingly living in this era of mindfulness. Expect more technology coming out that saves us from ourselves."

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