June 2004 Archives

Speed-texter beats world record

Beeb news fails to fully understand the pointless of it all.

From the BBC:

A British mobile phone network engineer has become the world’s fastest texter.

James Trusler, 30, from Shoreham, West Sussex, beat his previous world text messaging record by nearly a minute on Australian TV to claim the prize.

He had to type: “The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human.”

James Trusler typed the message - requiring 160 taps - in 67 seconds.

Now, it’s pretty impressive that a guy who already holds the world record can manage to get almost twice as fast within a year. And if the Beeb had actually done any basic research, it’s even more impressive: if you actually go to the guy’s website you realise that the man does not use predictive text. (‘A true “Texter” does not use predictive text,’ he says.) So rather than pressing one key roughly every 2.4 seconds, he would have needed, by my calculations, 326 taps - which is a far more considerable 4.8 taps per second.

Unfortunately, that also puts this world record firmly in the category of piano smashing: the sort of record that is interesting now, but has no long-term significance. No data entry method that requires five keystrokes to enter the word the, and four for just the letter S, will last for long, and that’s why we have predictive text.

But then, Mr Trusler isn’t particularly in the business of really understanding technology, or for that matter making life easier for anyone:

“I’m also that person who drives you mad on the train. I don’t catch a train that often, but when I do I’m often referred to as the person who is generating termite noises from the keypad of my phone while I’m sending text messages. At least I put the phone on silent in the movies ;-)”

You’ve got to wonder about a man who claims not to be a complete asshole because he’s texting his mates in the middle of a film.


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