Thursday, 15 November 2012

Sorry, you what?


Predictive text, commonly known as auto-correct can either be a blessing or a disadvantage, depending on how accustomed you are to new technology. For those of you who are beyond the 40 to 45 age bracket, predictive text is this phenomenon which allows a mobile phone user to input the first few letters of a word with a view to sending a text, then the in-built technology does the rest. For example if I wanted to text: ‘Hello, how are you?’ all I have to do is key in the first few letters of each word and voilĂ , the sentence is formed. Then all I have to do is press ‘send.’ Furthermore, it can autocorrect perhaps the most common mistake – hte instantly becomes ‘the’ which is really handy. Just like the computer does when you're writing a novel.

We’ve come a long way since the typewriter and the correction fluid, and now we’re in an era of instant messaging, e-mails, and Skype. And there’s no doubt, predictive text messaging can be beneficial, as long as you re-read what you’ve keyed in, or rather, what the iphone has instantly thrown up for you. This also applies to novel writing, and often the Word package can predict how the story is going to end.

One evening I got a text message from the Hubby.

‘I’ve bought a big schnauzer,’ he’d texted.

Oh good grief, I thought. What will the Naught Kitty do? She’ll hardly befriend a big dog, seeing as she’s the most spoiled cat in the town and refuses to share her house with us, never mind some other creature. I instantly saw bloodied battle scenes, tense stand-offs and fights over food.

Ping. The phone bleeped again.

‘Sorry, sorry. I meant a bottle of Schloer.’

‘Phew, oh, ok. I’m just coming back in a Porsche,’ I texted.

I knew we had some shopping to do that evening. It was approaching Christmas and a visit to the Disney Store was on the agenda. So I keyed in:

‘I think we need to go to the divorce.’

‘You’re what?’ he texted back. ‘WHY…WHY….WHY…????,’ he texted.

‘Why not?’ I asked. ‘We should do it for Little One. She deserves this as she’s been good. Don’t you think?’

‘No.’

‘Hey, what’s up?’ I texted after a few minutes.

I had of course meant to key this in but the message instead ended up as…
‘Heidi, what’s up?’

‘Who’s Heidi?’ he texted back.

‘Dunno,’ I replied.

And the result was mass confusion.

So that was it. When I pulled up in the Little Black Car, the hubby asked where the Porsche was and who did he think was going to pay for it. He also grilled me over the impending divorce.

‘What on earth are you on about?’ I asked.

This auto-correct malarkey can be quite interesting and I wonder how far technology will go in the future to assist us with novel writing. I envisage an implant type device which will enable the words to flow onto the page as they spring to mind....

*And the texts of course were sent while the vehicle was stationary with the handbrake on.

3 comments:

Derek said...

Methinks predictive texting would be a great plot device for a comedy! I love skype, but texting leaves me cold. It took ages before I realised that GFY meant Good For You and not something rude. (Go...F...)

Gillian McDade said...

Really...? I didn't know that!

Debs Riccio said...

ha ha - for AGES I had a boss who used to put LOL at the end of EVERY email he sent (not text, I know but still...) thinking it stood for 'lots of love' until he sent a commiseratory/sympathy missive and had to be told gently that he'd just said how sad he was for somebody's loss and then 'laughed out loud'. Oh dear :(