What do you do if you miss the latest episode of The Apprentice and don’t want your friends to spoil Sir Alan’s latest round of P45-laden wailings before you get a chance to catch up on iPlayer? You can swear them to silence and avoid large public gatherings, but there’s still your Twitter feed to worry about. Of course, you could sign off the social networking site for a while, but that’s hardly a solution for the digitally addicted.
Enter 18-year-old high-school student Jennie Lamere, from Nashua, New Hampshire. She likes building robots for fun, hiking and, most recently, entering hackathon competitions. That doesn’t mean she’s trying to crash the power-grid or bring down the government – despite their name, hackathons aren’t really about that sort of thing. Instead she’s designed Twivo, a clever Google Chrome bolt-on which allows you to block key words on your Twitter feed, so that you can enjoy your favourite shows without plot spoilers ruining the fun. It won her a prize at a major coding competition in Boston last month.
Is there really a need for a hi-tech solution to this minor entertainment problem, though? The BBC always managed by getting a stuffy newsreader to tell you to look away from the screen to avoid the footie scores before Match of the Day on Saturday night. Don’t we just need to exercise a little self-restraint instead?