I used to pride myself on my handwriting skills in school. (Okay, let's call it neatness.) I noticed over time as I started using computers and smartphones more, that not only my handwriting deteriorated but I've had to be extra careful when signing cheques, lest they bounce. I have cured that somewhat. A fountain pen-collecting friend told me to get a fountain pen. That slowed down my scratching. My handwriting improved.
No wonder in my younger school days, when ballpoint pens were just invented (gosh ... my age is showing), my school disallowed them. Laundry shops are licking their lips at the return of ink stains. Now where's my quill pen?
From sign language to SIRI, man has evolved in his communication skills, written or otherwise, but, as seen in the example above, sometimes to the detriment of skills once learnt. It is possible that future smartphones will no longer be able to make or receive phone calls.
These future devices will probably be called smarttypewriters or smartpeckers.
Take a look at today's teenagers and even the slightly older adults like yours truly. They consume tonnes of data via whatsapp, Facebook, etcetera, on their smarttypewriters or smartpeckers, and hardly use these mis-named devices for actually making phone calls. Once upon a time, we were told to engage brain before mouth. Many keyboard warriors nowadays engage brain before fingers.
Talking of typewriters (carbon paper, stuck levers, paper whiteners, etc) the sounds it made when typing, when moving on to the next line, etc were so intoxicating that no less a man than Tom Hanks created Hanx Writer, an iOS app does the whole typewriter thing.
My question: who's going to invent the iOS ballpoint-- you know, the one that doesn't flow so smooth and purposely leaks once in a while? Hmm.
The other communication skill one learnt was when most of us were using Nokia and Motorola phones, etc and that was the T9 keyboard. You could feel your way through a correspondence. That was so useful. You could use one thumb to send off secret messages under a table with nary a glance. You were Leonardo DiCaprio. Now with smartphone keyboards, you got to be glued to your screen. Does anyone still know how to T9 through an email?
Remember movies where all forms of communication were down (you know, the usual Hollywood post-nuclear apocalyptic disaster catastrophe movie?), the heroes relied on Morse code to save the day. Morse code people would have loved the T9.
"Do you know T9?" I'm sure that's a question Hollywood spies are asked. Maybe the T9 will be the Morse code of the future.
Having said all that, our newly-mastered two-thumb typing skills are getting truncated yet again. The culprit? predictive spelling.
We don't even have to finish typing a single word. Apple's predictive spelling even corrects the previous bits we typed. Talk about putting words in one's mouth.
I just wish it came in different politically-correct options though. Sometimes I just need to type *%*€%¥# ...
Editor's note: I'm pretty that by *%*€%¥#, George probably meant something naughty!
Tune in for more of Grumpy George's Pithy Shorts column.