Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Gobbledegook

Wherever you are, whatever else you're half doing while reading this, stop; just take a moment to marvel at the huge splendid capacity of your brain. Not feeling too bright today?... Well, look on the bright side, compared to the virtual brain cell of the predictive text on your mobile phone, you're incredible!

Nice entertainingly frustrated piece on this in the recent Grauniad article linked below. The writer describes the bizarre non-words the predictive text on his phone suggests whenever he tries to type anything in: like, 'undu' for 'tofu' and 'flaunaue' for 'flatmate'. It borders on the surreal. The gobbledygook made me give up predictive texting a long time ago.

On the one hand, this issue of language and technology bugs me. It bugs me because it's not the mobile phone's fault that it's so dumb. It means there is dumb programming inside, based on some weird take on how language works. Looking for a career? Well, hey, there's one for you. On the other hand, I secretly like it that I'm cleverer than my phone...

So, check it out, and post the weirdest - true - bits of predictive texting you've come across.

Technobile

11 Comments:

At 11:28 pm, Anonymous Rusty said...

Did you see Stephen Fry's appearance on Friday Night with Jonathon Ross some weeks ago? On it he mentioned how kids/teenagers are starting to use "book" to mean "cool", because as you try to type "cool" using predictive text -- 2665 -- the first result is... yes, "book", and people are too lazy to press the extra key to change to the next 2665-entry. So we now have people going around saying things like "that is so book!" I find that quite fascinating. :)

 
At 12:07 am, Blogger E-Julie said...

Nah, missed that, but that's really interesting! What's 2665 mean?

 
At 12:30 am, Anonymous Rusty said...

Oops. 2665 is the series of numbers that you have to press on the keypad to make "book" when using predictive text. I suppose I should've written it as 2-6-6-5 or something.

 
At 3:55 am, Blogger Aulina Chan said...

I worked in predictive texts for mobile phones like about 8 years ago when I was almost fresh out of college. THE CULPRIT IS DEFINITELY FROM PROGRAMMING!!! What can I say. Very few people have both the techie side and the lingo side fully developed, which is why lingo-tech always turns out to be much of a disaster.

 
At 12:46 pm, Anonymous COBC - Jayga said...

Well, we only actually use 2,000 pieces of data which may sound a lot, but considering we process 400 billion it's a diminuative proportion of our brain's real power. Shame really, I could be englightening Chas if I opened up the other part of my brain. :(

 
At 12:46 pm, Anonymous COBC - Jayga said...

That's pieces of data per second, by the way. Sorry for the double post.

 
At 4:59 pm, Anonymous Rusty said...

I've just this minute remembered two more amusing pieces of predictive text. Try to type out "Cardiff" and the first result is "Barehed", and try "Swansea" and you get "Swampea". I wonder what the Welsh nation makes of that? :)

 
At 10:45 am, Blogger suze said...

don't ppl say "foot" instead of "dont" now - since foot comes up as the first option on the same keys?

 
At 7:57 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The obvious abbreviation of my name is generally 'Rach', but given how that ought to be pronounced, I have taken to calling myself 'Rache', my only issue with this is that when typed into my mobile, it comes out with 'Rabid' - clearly not my name...

 
At 1:20 pm, Blogger neB said...

Wonderful! Blogged.

http://bethemedia.livejournal.com/

Best Wishes

 
At 1:29 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another book one: when you type 'kiss', the first thing that comes up is 'lips'.

And my all-time favourite was when I got the message: "Bit late - there's an enormous steve in the toilets"

(Try Steve in your phone if you can't figure it out)

 

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