Wednesday, April 27, 2011

So long, predictive text

On my new phone (Nokia N8 – the camera is amazing, 12 megapixels!) I write text messages with a qwerty touchscreen, and it suddenly occurred to me that I might never use the predictive text number-pad method again.

I liked predictive text a great deal. First, it worked against yoof ‘txt-speak’, which was supposed to be about to wreck the language (Shakespeare rendered as '2b or nt 2b' etc) and instead encouraged you to write in proper full English words which you had to know how to spell. Second, it facilitated amusing mistakes, especially for people’s names. 'Anna' always came out as 'Bomb', for instance.

But now that the seemingly-indestructible qwerty has already rendered it obsolete, it may be that my generation will be the first and last to have mastered the skill (older people were generally terrified of its interfering ways; younger people will not need it).

To preserve its memory for posterity, therefore, I have composed this short poem.

So long, predictive text

So long, predictive text,
Ingenious but short-lived tool.
You’re gone, and whatever comes next
is unlikely to be as book.


David said...

Rarely does a poet so truly capture the soul of his subject.

worm said...

don't worry - the iphone4 has a querty keyboard but still uses predictive text, often with very randonm and amusing consequences

Brit said...

Qwerty AND predictive? How does that work? Isn't the point of predictive that it chose from the 3possible letters for you, whereas the point of qwerty is that there's only one letter per key?

(btw - what a joy it is typing the word 'qwerty').

worm said...

brit - apparently the iphone system is called autocorrect and basically it's computer brain looks at words you've written with the qwerty and tries to correct them if it thinks they're wrong. There's whole websites about it:

Banished To A Pompous Land said...

12 megapixels on your camera/phone Brit?

My first digital, paid for by my generous employer in, I think, 2001 was an Olympus Camedia. It cost about 700 quid and it had an awe inspiring 0.75 megapixels. Actually it was pretty good for close-ups but not so good for landscapes. As I recall small villages could be lost between pixels.

Brit said...

I know, it's ridiculous, isn't it? The video is astonishing too. It's like TV!

Hey Skipper said...

Because typing on the iPhone is more significantly more cumbersome than on anything like a reasonable size keyboard, it uses predictive text so you don't have to finish typing the word.

But wait, there's more! It also auto-corrects using, counter intuitively, a random word generator for the task.