GrammarBlog

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

I predict a pint

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My new mobile phone is really irritating me at the moment.

It isn’t causing me to itch uncontrollably or anything like that; it’s just generally leaving my nut more done in than a pistachio that has been cracked open by a battering ram, rolled over by a tank, and then fallen underneath the backside of that fat lass from ‘Birds of a Feather’. Who keeps shuffling. And she’s sat on concrete.

When you go online to sign up for a new mobile - would you actually go in a shop called ‘Phones 4U’ rather than buy online? If so, step away from the blog - a number of handset credentials (I’m going to sell them that phrase) are listed.

For instance there might be ‘standby: 14.5 days’, ‘talk: 9.0 hours’ or ‘flash with Schneider-Kreuznach lens’, which I had previously thought to be a tactical instruction given to Luftwaffe pilots in 1942. What it doesn’t mention, though, is anything about predictive text.

Predictive text on most phones now runs along the T9 system. T9, the much less interesting older brother (or ‘the Paul Ross’, if you like) of K9 the dog is basically easy to use.

However, the ‘words’ the newest version predicts have left me quite incensed, incandescent even with enough rage to contemplate turning to the dark side of single-key entering.

For instance, when I wanted to enter the word ‘or’, the first option was for the ‘word’ ‘ms’. ‘MS?’ thought I. ‘Manuscript?’ ‘Marks and Spencer?’ ‘Microsoft?’

No, that little ‘ms’ was the shrieking bastard-child version of what, if I didn’t take affirmative action, would mutate quite hideously into ‘msg’. ‘MSG’, which apparently now, in this context, means ‘message’. I scrolled down, found ‘or’ and pressed ‘enter’.

Afterwards, I felt a bit like Superman must when he is flying out of a burning building, Lois in his arms and a further explosion going off as he climbs into the sky.

Then, when I tried to type ‘just’, the first option, gallingly, hatefully, was ‘l8r’. Don’t these people know who I am?

Connected to this, the dictionary that T9 runs from is basically inept. In fact, completely inept. It is a demonstration of advanced ineptitude. In every text message I write, I have to spell and store at least one new word.

In my quieter moments, I now enter words that I think I might use in the future. Last month, I keyed-in some swearwords, which can be dangerous; my 'Cunt Betty' still hasn’t spoken to me in a week.

What I want is a predictive text system built for people who don’t partake in the systematic rape of the language - a predictive text system for grammar myrmidons everywhere.

I want it to have the words ‘Ebbsfleet’, ‘turpitude’ and ‘mulct’.

I want it to know when I wish to use an apostrophe instead of making me navigate my cursor over a cabal of chunk-faced, sick-yellow and frankly creepy looking ‘smilies’ to make a selection.

In short, I want it to make my heart sing as only an invention like that really could; over to you Dr Emmett ‘Doc’ Brown - you’ve done nothing since you built that time machine, you lazy, white-haired crazy-piece with a dog.

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15 Comments:
Blogger Gez said...

Another dualing ’80s reference on GrammarBlog? Great Scott!

14 November 2007 at 16:22  
Blogger Cennydd said...

Without being too much of an irritating fanboy, the iPhone is substantially better in this regard than other phones using T9. Yet to encounter any brain-numbing 'txt' abbreviations, and it has the courtesy to apostrophise and capitalise with glee.

Its vocabulary is also impressive - so much so that it even comes pre-loaded with profanities, which are of course the first things anyone enters into a new phone's dictionary.

14 November 2007 at 17:34  
Blogger Cennydd said...

Oh, and it has 'turpitude'. And 'mulct'.

14 November 2007 at 17:36  
Blogger Dan said...

Wow. That makes me quite happy. Tell me Doc Brown invented it. Tell me tell me.

14 November 2007 at 18:08  
Blogger Gez said...

I believe it was Steve "Doc Brown" Jobs and friends.

14 November 2007 at 18:12  
Blogger pauldwaite said...

I don’t mind being an irritating fanboy. Two words: iPhone.

14 November 2007 at 18:59  
Anonymous Andrew said...

"Louis in his arms" must count as one of the best typos ever...

14 November 2007 at 22:38  
Blogger Dan said...

I went with the, er, English spelling. Cough.

15 November 2007 at 09:28  
Blogger Paddy said...

I think when anyone buys a new phone there should be a compulsory menu at the first switch-on asking: 'Would you like your prose to be (A) fully-formed and correct, or (B) indecipherable, fragmented and downright offensive'. Anyone who selects (B) finds their phone immediately turns itself off and is locked forever.

15 November 2007 at 12:29  
Blogger Gez said...

Can the phone also explode, taking a couple of fingers with it?

15 November 2007 at 12:41  
Blogger Dan said...

Battle Royale III: Digits

Tag-line: "Just don't phone home"

15 November 2007 at 13:37  
Anonymous Anon E. Mouse said...

It still says Louis in my RSS reader ;)

16 November 2007 at 11:11  
Blogger Dan said...

I don't know what an RSS reader is, but it sounds like someone who can predict someone's future via their backside.

16 November 2007 at 12:55  
Blogger Gez said...

"I don't know what an RSS reader is." It's a good job you're pretty.

16 November 2007 at 13:15  
Blogger Dave said...

[Two words: iPhone]

does the "i" prefixed to every new product on the market actually count as a word?

22 November 2007 at 13:19  

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