Predictive text is not my friend

3 03 2012

Predictive text is not my friend.

Somehow, this function which apparently makes “everyone” else’s life easier completely fails me. It is completely unable to predict what I might be saying. Hence I have turned it off. Or more accurately, I got someone to turn it off for me, ‘cos I couldn’t be bothered working out how to do it myself.

Predictive text and its evil cousin, Autocorrect have taken over our world. One of the funniest websites I have seen is Damn you Autocorrect, and if you google “autocorrect”, a number of other similar websites come up. The number of hysterical miscommunications is increasing exponentially!

Of course the question has to be asked, if Autocorrect is based on words you have used before in texting – what on earth were people testing when they did want to use those words? Read a few of the more obscene ones and you’ll see what I mean. (They are not all obscene, but it is fair to say many of the funnier ones are. Count this as your warning and don’t click through if you are easily offended.) So when “Mom” accidentally tells you that she is doing something obscene – well, chances are she has used that word in a text before.

Anyway, this brief thought was prompted by a couple of glasses of wine and an article in our local newspaper about a texting error that brought out the police. Apparently a teenager in the state of Georgia texted his friend to say “gunna be at west hall today”, which his iphone autocorrect changed to “gunman be at west hall today”. The threat was apparently forwarded to police who shut down West Hall Middle and High Schools.

Under the circumstances he is lucky he didn’t get shot.

“Best of…” DYAC is here.



18 09 2011

licensed under creative commons from gothopotam

I have written a bit about my concern about the impact that screens are having on society in general, and children’s brains in particular. And how the all-pervasive training of young brains through screen culture – TV, computers, DS, PSP, Playstation, Wii, X-box, etc – will impact not only the furture of those children through their ability to absorb education, display patience and delay gratification, and their tolerance for novelty and excitement versus their tolerance for boredom and perseverance, but also change the society we live in.

And these concerns, where possible, have been backed up by science.

However, now for a confession.

I suspect I am a screen addict myself.

Now I didn’t grow up with screens to any great extent. I can still remember our first colour TV in Australia – 1976 for the Olympics. I remember getting a Commodore 64, and I remember our school getting a couple of computers which, if you were lucky and in the top maths class, you got to “program” to display a flag made from asterix (I confess I cannot work out the plural of asterix….). I remember in Year 4, being taken to visit a computer at the nearby science and technology park – it took up and entire warehouse full of stacks with tapes whirring on the front, and probably had less capacity than my iphone does.

So my childhood was not saturated with screens. In fact my parents strictly rationed television time to 1/2 an hour a night (but enough on that – I am saving that story for the psychiatrist’s couch).

I do remember working before email. I worked in a pay section briefly and we programmed the computer (which was off-site somewhere) by filling in A4 sheets of paper with Xs in squares. Letters got written in longhand and sent to the typing pool to be typed out. They came back and if there were errors, they had to type the whole thing again. At that rate you were lucky to act on more than a couple of decisions a day. Think of the pace of emails today where I am making 80+ decisions on an average day (albeit some of them trivial).

So my confession is – as the purveyor of the No-Screen Sunday, I am myself a screen addict. Not the DS, Wii or Playstation for me – but I do find TV in the evenings very relaxing and am annoyed if there is nothing on that I want to watch. My computer is usually on if I am home – and my ipad travels with me for those opportune moments to update the blog, check my personal emails etc. Not in work hours of course, but on the weekend and in the evening….. And I am an e-scrabble fiend. Oh yes, and I do love LinkedIn.

So somehow I need to make the effort to set the example for my children about how life off-line is so much more satisfying.

Perhaps after I have finished studying I might have time to do that. There’s always some excuse.

If you like this posting you might also like The effect of Marshmallows on the DS Generation, and Sponge-Bob, Sponge-brain.