I do use spell-check while writing and editing simply because it came with the software on my computer, and it does pick up on misspelled words. (By the way, according to Wikipedia, spell-check first became available on mainframe computers in the late 1970s. A group of six linguists from Georgetown University developed the first spell-check system for the IBM corporation at that time.) Even though it can"™t distinguish between homophones (they"™re, their, and there, for example), and doesn"™t recognize common grammatical spelling errors, at least it provides a slight improvement in ones written word when used judiciously.
But this auto-correct thing has me baffled.
Where does it come up with these often hilarious substitutions of what "˜it"™ thinks you want to type? Is there a mini-me in that electronic box who can mysteriously read my mind, knowing what I want to say almost before I do?
Here"™s an example of a text I sent the other day to a friend of mine. Keep in mind that I have rather long fingernails (my one area of vanity) and the touch screen on my phone is definitely not conducive to spelling properly at the best of times.
After I hit "œsend" here"™s what showed up on my screen:
"œSorry I couldn"™t join I guys but my accountant I"™d fur here around one"¦ bummer."
Why in heaven"™s name would I"™d be "œfurring" anyone let alone my wonderful accountant is anybody"™s guess. (And yes, furring is an actual word. One definition is "œfurring strips are long thin strips of wood or metal used to make backing surfaces to support the finished surfaces in a room", and another one involves an <ahem> sexual practice which I"™m not going to go into here at all!) I"™m guessing that "œI guys" is the new pluralized version of "œus" or perhaps a new urban rap phrase, as in "œI guys be wise downtown and round da block"¦ we rock" but hey, it"™s a SmartPhone, so it obviously knows the English language better than I do.
Sigh"¦ I guess I truly am now a part of a generation where communication with others involved talking to someone via that black rotary-dial phone which was wall-mounted in the kitchen of my family homestead, sitting down on a sofa and having an honest to God conversation with the person next to you, face to face, or putting pen to paper and <gasp> writing a letter that you actually had to put in an envelope, lick and place a stamp on the upper right-hand corner, then walk to the local post office to have it sent out to the intended recipient.
By the way, what I REALLY typed in (honestly) was:
"œSorry I couldn"™t join you guys but my accountant is to be here around one"¦ bummer."
It"™s official. My phone is now smarter than I am.