Smart phones are not perfect

May 02, 2018

There's no doubt smartphones are smart, but there's room for improvement.

I’m starting to wonder just how smart smartphones really are.

Sure, we can make calls from them, write text messages, browse the internet, and apps have made it easy to stay in touch with friends via Facebook, What’sApp, or to check our bank balance or the weather forecast.

You can even ask Siri to help you out with certain tasks; for example, if you cannot be bothered searching for a contact.

So, it is fair to say things have come a long way since I was in my early teenage years and was using a Nokia 3315.

The most exciting thing about that model, which just about everyone seemed to have in those days, was that you could play Snake on it.

These days, many people have an iPhone or an Android device that can do just about everything that they want it to.

But there are some exceptions.

I have an iPhone and it does pretty much all that I need it to do, but sometimes not everything works as it could, or should.

Take auto-correct.

Often I’m writing a word like were and intend it to be written that way, yet it’s changed automatically to we’re.

The same goes for well, when I’m intending it to be written like that. It is auto-corrected to we’ll. I go back and try again, yet it’s changed again. I have to go back three times and change it before it accepts well as the word I want.

Words intended to be written as plurals are also sometimes frustratingly auto-corrected to add an apostrophe before the s.

It’s little wonder many people don’t know where to correctly place or omit apostrophes, when their ‘‘smart’’ phone is telling them they belong almost everywhere they really shouldn’t.

There’s other inexplicable things, too, such as an ‘‘a’’ in the middle of a sentence being auto-corrected to a capital ‘‘S’’.

Then there was a lower-case ‘‘fault’’ auto-corrected to an upper-case ‘‘Gault’’. I have never used the word Gault in a text message and had to Google the definition to find out that it’s a type of clay or clay-based soil.

So, auto-correct has a bit to answer for and the less attentive can easily get caught out if they do not proof-read the text message before hitting the send button.

A Google search of embarrassing auto-correct fails triggers a bonanza of such cases where people have not checked before sending.

There’s no doubt smartphones are smart, but they’re definitely not perfect.

Cameron Whiteley is editor at The News.

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