Technology can solve many problems (and yes, it causes some too). Occasionally, it provides an answer to a common pain. RunPee is an application for smartphones that solves a very modern problem: how to avoid missing any of the good parts of the movie you’re watching when that fishbowl-sized soft drink interrupts.
Once you’ve selected your movie, RunPee will give you a number of “peetimes” (there are usually two or three in a movie), usually with a recommendation on which of them is best. Sometimes they’ll be marked as “emergency,” which means you won’t necessarily miss anything crucial, but you might miss a good scene or bit of dialog. Other peetimes are selected because the content can be considered highly disturbing (scenes of torture or animal cruelty, for example), and an upcoming update will designate these peetimes with a special icon.
The app includes a timer that will give a quick vibration alert for each peetime, letting you keep your smartphone in a pocket where it will not disturb the movie. (The app is designed to be very dark, so it is not that bad even when you do look at the screen.) Each peetime has a bit of dialog to prompt users exactly when to head for the restroom. The image below shows a bit of the screen from Ready Player One. The prompt tells us that the peetime is four minutes long, and tapping on it would bring up a rundown of what happens during that time—you will not miss out on anything.
Another feature of RunPee (and a favorite of my family) is that it tells you if there are any scenes during or after the credits. You won’t need to sit through them if there is nothing more to see.
There are also links to outside resources that any good movie application would have, including Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB pages, so you can check reviews and the cast list. An interesting feature that may be included in an upcoming release of RunPee is pre-populated social media posts that include all the official hashtags and handles for the movie that you are watching.
I have been a fan of RunPee for many years and use it with every trip to the movies; it is an example of a simple solution that technology has provided for a common problem. The RunPee app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
Do you have an application or other piece of technology that is not necessarily well-known but you would rather not live without? I would love to hear from you in the comments. Perhaps your suggestion will be featured in a future installment of “Tech You Didn’t Know You Needed.”