For years in the eighties I’d been using Apple products after Education Queensland conducted not a brief fling, but a semi-enduring relationship with the platform.
I was thrown in at the Microsoft deep end in 1992 when I was reefed out of my school and thrown into a regional manager’s job. By this time the dalliance with Apple Inc was over, and the agency had been churched well and truly by Uncle Bill and his offsiders.
With this new job went an assumption that I was entirely familiar with all the MS applications (Word, Excel, Access etc). I was nothing of the kind – I didn’t have a clue.
It was panic stations for a while. I was so desperate at one point that I lashed out and bought a piece of software called “Dragon Dictate” or something similar. I harboured the vain hope that I could sit in front of my PC and chat to it, and it would earnestly put my gems of wisdom down on paper.
After I sneezed in front of it the first time I booted it up, and the damn thing printed “Tuesday” I woke to the realisation that it was not the magic solution.
To cut a long story short, many hours and many swear-jars full later, I arrived at the point where I could produce a document (letter or spreadsheet) in sufficient time and with sufficient accuracy to be useful. I simply learned by my mistakes.
Email and file creation and retrieval were pretty straightforward, once I got past the weirdness of leaving hard copies of everything I created. The logic of duplicating the electronic data with paper copies still eludes me, but they still do it.
The job I do these days doesn’t involve an office or a work station, and that’s the way I like it.
My tools of trade now are a laptop, an iPhone and an iPad.
The last two are Apple products, of course, and apart from being wonderful money-spinners for the aforesaid Bill G and his mates, are very useful and intuitive. I seemed to have no problem, even in my looming dotage, to master their idiosyncrasies.
With the exception of the predictive text features, that is.
My iPhone has a real problem with the Aussie vernacular.
I tried to text my daughter to ask her if she’d like to share a cuppa.
“Cuppa” became “chops” so she waited for me at the butchers.
My bride had no idea when she received a text reading “tucks”. I thought I had written “tucker?” You would have thought she could have figured that out. It was lunch time, after all.
Our Optometrist is called “Chas Sankey”. An effort to send a message about meeting my bride there morphed into international travel. “Chad”, is, I believe, somewhere in Africa.
I told my son I was gunna meet him at the shopping mall. It became “gunny” and he became confused. When I replied that his comprehension skills were pissweak; that became “possess”, by which time he began to believe that I indeed had been, or was suffering from galloping dementia.
One favourite family insult is to call someone a “myall”. It loses its impact (and its meaning) when that becomes “Lysol”. The phone doesn’t know about “utes” – it calls them “its”. Not surprising, I guess, considering it was an Australian company that invented that particular automotive genre.
Even stock phrases we use like “I bin bizzee” are corrupted. That one changes to “Is bin buzz”. You can excuse Apple for that. Most people have trouble with our family patois.
Proper Aussie names also confuse it. You get “cunning” for Cunnamulla, and “sift” for Augathella. That last one is from left field somewhere.
There probably is a way of disabling predictive text, but I haven’t yet discovered it.