Real life

In the future we will all speak a new language called Predictive Text

All the words we once knew will be replaced by those our smartphones suggest

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

30 May 2015

9:00 AM

Andy the tech guy looked delighted when I told him I had done the stupidest thing ever. He is one of those whizz kids who hungers for interestingly impossible technological problems. The more obscure the devastation I have wrought to a gadget the better he likes it. He was very excited when I blew the brains out of my laptop by opening 27 windows, then slamming the lid down without closing any of them. On that occasion, he ran a programme called a ‘Defraggler’, which I think must be like a defibrillator for laptops. He licked his lips as I sat down in front of him with the smashed BlackBerry.

‘This is hideously ruined, even by my standards,’ I said, placing the apparently dead phone in front of him.

Not only had I dropped it on the stone floor and smashed it, I explained, I then locked myself out of it and out of the spare BlackBerry I keep in a drawer, by attempting to swap over the Sim card in a botched rescue operation. Since then I had been panicking non-stop about the likelihood of my not being able to get hold of another phone with buttons. Acres of my Facebook page had been given over to friends telling me to calm down on the basis of a) how easy it was to use a touchscreen and b) how easy it was to get hold of a new BlackBerry, which cheered me not at all because I know full well that these new BlackBerrys — when one tracks them down — are enormous, oblong things that make texting about as convenient as if one were trying to do it on a tombstone. Or indeed an iPhone.

I had not even been able to ring Andy at first because his number was only in my old Blackberry Sim, or so I thought. Eventually, I worked out that the number was also on the hard drive and by then I had just enough juice in it to get the number out before the phone went blank. I then texted him from my iPhone, using, if you please, the voice texting function that everyone on Facebook was extolling me to try because it was so ‘easy’. And so Andy received a text informing him that ‘My black Marie’s broken!’ — and agreed to meet me at his place of work.

Incidentally, having been forced to use the dreaded iPhone for a few days, with its ludicrous voice texting and fascistic automatic spellchecker, I am of the view that in the future we will all speak a new language called Predictive Text. We will forget all sorts of words we once knew before the iPhone started changing them, and soon the only way of communicating will be with the words our smartphones suggest.

I’m not saying this is necessarily going to be a bad thing, given the standard of English spoken by young people, who can’t even say a simple three letter word like ‘ask’ without getting it arse about tit and pronouncing it ‘acks’. Perhaps it will be a blessed relief when the next generation loses the power of speech entirely in favour of their iPhones speaking for them. At which point, Apple will officially run the world, and good luck to them. They’re welcome to it.

‘If you’ve done what I think you’ve done,’ said Andy, prising the back off the phone, ‘then it won’t actually take that long for me to reset it by…’ And he started making technological white noise. So I shut my eyes and prayed. When I opened them a few seconds later, the BlackBerry was lighting up. Wonder of wonders, it lived!

‘What on earth did you do?’

Andy yawned: ‘You’d put the Sim card in upside down.’ He was already tapping his keyboard and looking at something on the computer screen in front of him.

Outside, as I got into the car, something else occurred to me. When the phone had been down, it had refused to charge. I reached for the end of the phone charger that was plugged into the cigarette lighter and put it into the BlackBerry. Still nothing. Aha!

I was about to go back in to give Andy the exciting news, when I noticed that the charger lead was all tangled up in another lead …I pulled and pulled, and it led to …the car tyre inflator machine, hidden under the back seat. And it was this that was plugged in, not the phone charger.

So, to recap, and by way of apology to all those who have had to listen to me whingeing for a week: the BlackBerry wasn’t broken. I had put the Sim card in the wrong way up and tried to charge it with a Halford’s car tyre inflator. Sorry, and all that.

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Show comments
  • Ahobz

    One of the best.

  • That was a great read Melissa, it really made my day, thank you!. By the way Vodafone are selling the updated version of the keyboard phone. It is really useful, I got one as a spare for work travel. Oh, and I don’t work for any phone company 🙂

  • Kyle Cowan


  • Charles Mann

    To keep the pretentious text changer away from sonorous Scunthorpe or unrehearsed hoarseness of voice simply switch it off from in front or behind.