Saturday, March 21, 2009

T9Word

I once read a piece by Bill Bryson complaining about spell check (it was from a while ago, I admit) and how it kept not recognizing the perfectly legitimate words he would type in. I'm sure that things were different when he wrote the piece, but by the time I read it, it just seemed comical - who can get irate at spell check? Certainly it sometimes doesn't recognize proper nouns, or gives you truly comical suggestions for replacements, and I'm sure it was worse in its early stages, but what of it? It's just not a big enough deal to get upset about - certainly too much to write an article about. If you don't like the suggestions, just ignore them.

Yet I find myself in a similar situation these days because of my cell phone. Unlike those of you with iPhones and Blackberries and what have you, I still am using a LG Chocolate, and that means I'm stuck with a program called T9Word. I'll explain - since Chocolates don't have a keyboard, I have to type on the keypad. There are two option for typing: one is typing each word letter by letter by scrolling through the options on each number. For example, to type "can," I go to the "2," which has "ABC" written under it, and would hit the "2" three times until it got to the "c," pause until it moved to the next letter, then hit the "2" again to get "a," then hit the "6" twice to get "n." However, if I use T9Word function, I can just hit the "2" twice and then "6" once, and my phone will guess that I actually need the word "can," since that's the most likely option for those numbers. If I actually need "ban," or "cam," I just hit the "next" button until it comes up.

Now, this is a handy program, and it sometimes makes texting faster than it would be on a full Qwerty keyboard, but - sometimes it does not. Occasionally you come to a word that it simply cannot recognize, and in order to fix it, you have to delete everything you've typed, go to the menu, switch from "T9Word" to "Abc," re-type the word, re-enter the menu, switch back to T9Word, and keep going. It's a little frustrating, especially if you're in a hurry.

What's worse is when you have a word you know it should recognize and yet it does not. For example, today I was trying to type Maundy Thursday, and instead of "Maundy," all it would give me was "oatmex," a word that gives me zero results on Google. It won't recognize my friend Shawn's name, instead giving me "Shawo," which seems to be a unpopular Chinese name. And instead of "Chipotle," it always gives me "Aggrotle," a word that only comes us on the internet in posts where people say "hey, I tried to type 'Chipotle' onto my phone and it came up 'aggrotle!'"

While you can eventually train your phone to recognize certain word, it always gives its options first, so no matter how many times I type "Shawn," it's still gonna try to get me to take "Shawo."

Of course, sometimes it can be funny. I texted a friend the other day to say "Hey, we're going to lunch. Want to come?" But instead of "Want to come?" it came out "Want to bond?" and I sent it without noticing. Never heard back.

Additionally, the program seems to want you to be a better person. Typing any profanity into the program gives no results, and it refuses to recognize certain insults if it considers it too hurtful, instead choosing to make up words as less painful options. "Slut," for example, only turns up "plut," "asshole" is "assimle," and "motherf***ing" is "motheretailing," which sounds like it should be something even though it's not.

Anytime I get a good T9 result, I'll try to remember to post it. They're always fun.

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3 Comments:

At March 22, 2009 8:27 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Ben, only you would want to text someone using words like "Mandy Thursday". Was that for work or just an everyday random convo?

"Hey, wassup?" "nm, u?" "i cant wait 2 go 2 Maundy Thursday service this wk!"

 
At March 23, 2009 1:34 AM, Blogger Wyman said...

You'd be amazed how much of my life revolves around Maundy Thursday.

 
At March 23, 2009 7:49 PM, Anonymous Sarah said...

I laughed out loud. Before the days of my awesome iPhone, I relied on T9 text all the time, and changing the category from T9 to ABC to abc to 123, then back to T9 was a constant frustration.

 

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