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22 July, 2005

So THAT's how it works

There are some things one is expected to just know, without being expressly told, or by discovering through a 'coming of age' rite of passage – learning to shave properly is one.  I haven't used a razor within the last six years or so, but I don't remember there being instructions on the packaging. 

Likewise with mobile phones.  This afternoon, nine months after buying mine, I grasped the concept of predictive text recognition, and learned how to use it.  Thanks for the explanation, J.

As with shaving, once one knows, it becomes second-nature, and one wouldn't think to explain it to others, but that means that those who don't know are left ignorant. That certainly seems to apply to my phone's manual, which informed me that my phone has the capability, but didn't seem to think it necessary to explain the concept of predictive text.

Predictive texting just seemed to generate gibberish, so I'd always impatiently disabled it whenever composing a message, and entered text laboriously, letter-by-letter. In case anyone else is in the same situation, here's the essential point:
Imagine you want to enter the word 'fish'. With predictive texting enabled, press the '3' key (which covers the letters 'd', 'e' and 'f') once. The letter 'e' appears, but don't worry. Press '4' (which covers the letters 'g', 'h' and 'i'). The two-letter word becomes 'eh' – don't worry. Next, '7' ('dip'), then '4' ('fish'!).
If it's unclear what's happening, the phone is matching number combinations to the most likely words; the most probable word resulting from the sequence '3-4-7-4' is 'fish'.
What if one had wanted 'dish'? That's entered using the same number combination, but doesn't appear by default. Simply press the '*' key to scroll through alternative words; 'dish' is the second.

A revelation! Well, it's not that great; I don't really expect to make greater use of texting, but when I do, now it's drastically easier!

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