My Fat Fingers

I make a lot of mistakes while typing, but I really hate posting/texting/tweeting stuff with typos. I am the guy who retweets my own thoughts with the hashtag #nowTypoFree. Unfortunately, I also send people strings of text messages like:

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There are entire websites devoted to iPhone typos during text-message conversations. I think some of them are staged for effect, but I can believe that some really happened. My wife recently asked me if I look before I send text messages. I do, but somewhere along the line, Apple introduced a different type of spell-breaking to the capabilities of my iPhone. I can type “I am going to stand a ball on Mt Maddie” meaning that I’m going to put one of the dog’s soccer balls on the pile of snow in our yard. I guess my phone doesn’t think those words make sense in the context of the same sentence, so it changes “stand a” to “Satan”, ‘cuz that makes way more sense. When I typed them, “stand” and “a” were correct but the phone reached back over the word “ball” and changed them. Fortunately, I caught that one.

There are lots of blog entries out there describing ways to prevent this type of “correction” and / or ways to work around this problem. There are also a few that explain the conspiracy theory about Apple and Satan, but as one person commented on one blog:

there is no good reason to change a correctly spelled word. If I misused it, it’s my fault.”

One of the things that would help me, is a different keyboard. If I could enlarge some keys, shrink others and add a few missing ones, I would be very happy. Before I show you my design, let me share a few of my common mistakes:

“All” becomes “a” as in “he took all the beer” becomes “he took a the beer” which makes me sound like I’ve had too many beers. The key sequence that causes this is A, L, backspace.

“Besutiful” becomes “be dutiful” – It started when I misspelled beautiful but why would you change “my wife is beautiful” to “my wife is be dutiful” – Think about that.

“S” for “D” or “D” for “S'” is another common error I make. So finishes becomes finished as in “I hope he finished the task tomorrow” Yeah, I look like an idiot.

Historically, my most common error, regardless of device or keyboard involves substituting the letter “B” for the space bar. I remember when I was learning to program and we had to create IBM Card decks where every space mattered. Literally. If a line of code required a space in position 5, it was one space not two or three. We used to imageuse a lower-case “b” with a slash drawn through it to represent exactly one space in our notes. I think the reason we chose that combination is the number of times programmers hit “b” when they mean to hit the spacebar.

The kind of typo that scares me is when my phone makes these errors in ways that might get me into trouble. I recently wanted to text that “I am watching the pregame show” and it was turned into “I am watching the pregnant show.”

One scary typo I make a lot, and one that is going to eventually get me into serious trouble with female friends and family is when I type “thong” when I mean “thing” – someday, that is not going to end well for me.

My favorite typos occur after my phone has remembered previous misspelled words that I haven’t corrected and suggests or substitutes them for different versions of the same error. For instance, instead of typing “What,” I typed “Wsht” which my phone changes to “Whst” – Thanks.

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A recent “correction” popped up as I was trying to comment on a blog that I follow. The blog is devoted to descriptions and pictures of daylilies. Apparently, my iPhone doesn’t know what a daylily is, or how to make it plural because it changed the word to “dillydallies.” Now that’s a commonly used word in 21st century America.

In order to help me avoid actual errors and the precursors to inappropriate-substitution errors, I would like to be able to change my keyboard from the one shown on the left to the one shown on the right.

Notice that in addition to resizing the problem children, I have also added arrow keys. This is the one thing I don’t understand about Apple, they don’t seem to think people make mistakes. My Mac, as far as I know, has a Delete key that acts like a Backspace, but no actual Backspace key. I need to be able to correct errors in both directions. The iPhone has never had arrow keys (which would help me immensely). I think that the keyboard I’ve designed would solve almost all of my problems, except the times when I am so far off the mark on spelling a word that spell check doesn’t even offer me a choice.

55 thoughts on “My Fat Fingers

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  1. You are so funny! I love your new/improved spacebar. Autocorrect is the absolute worst. How does it even know what I am trying to say with some of its ‘suggestions’? Honestly, sometimes I am just going too fast and hit SEND. Then I cringe. Your examples are funny, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m guilty of hitting the send button too early, and I really should not type anything without my reading glasses on! I’ve hit the “f” instead of the “d” key a time or two and sent out some embarrassing texts! I’m all in for a better arranged keyboard!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was listening to a report about a keyboard app that learns the way you type. In theory, it would know that you miss the ‘f’ key to the left and count part of the ‘d’ as ‘f’.

      Of course, that would mess up anyone else using your device.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I think Autocorrect is awesome in theory and horrendous in practice. I’ve had some super interesting texts because of Autocorrect. Predictive text is absolutely hysterical. I almost sent a text reading: Thank you for all the yummy lavender thongs. So truffle. I live you.

    No. So much no. My SIL gave me lavender things, because she’s thoughtful and I love her.

    My husband lives me hunches. Heh. Who am I, Quasimodo?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha.I’m glad to see others do the thing/thong deal because I might need evidence when my wife sees a text saying “I am so glad you brought those thongs up at the meeting today…” We’re all going to get in trouble some day.. And, unlike lots of people I see on WordPress, I will never sign off with “hugs” because the next key over is a “j” and… sigh – Thanks for keeping the humor alive here.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ha! I have fat fingers too, but my real problem is with voice recognition texting. I say the weirdest things to my friends and almost swore at my boss one time (my phone knows the F word, which I did NOT say btw).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I have trouble with my smart phone key board as well because the keys are so small. It takes me forever sometimes to type my message. But at least I have a backspace feature that erases the letters. My husband uses a little pen gadget to hit the keys.

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        1. I have a stylus for my iPad (it’s what I use to draw the “professional” illustrations I use in my blog) but it’s pretty large, about the size of a regular pen. I’d lose that for sure and it wasn’t cheap. I might try the little one my wife uses on the phone. Thanks!

          Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m sure many of us will relate with your post. As always a great mix between funny and practical.
    I don’t think anything that happens when you type is only due to your “fat” fingers. Mine aren’t and I get into similar situations. Like you I hate it when my phone changes what I want to write, assuming what I want to write, when in fact I want to write something totally different. On top of that I type in French, too, so I switch between the two languages and my phone also assumes lots of things. Then I also mix the two languages in the same message, for style effects. Hey, it’s my right to use my two favorite languages! But my phone doesn’t find this amusing nor interesting, so I also get lots of weird suggestions. Like Amazon suggests books, like Google knowns where we are, our phones want us to write certain words. Freaky!
    Love this post, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I never even considered multiple languages. Oh my that must be very hard. Do you have to switch keyboards (are their special French characters)? Thank you so much for your support Evelyne.

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      1. I have to switch keyboard, using the symbol shaped as earth or a balloon.
        The letters on the French and English keyboards are placed differently so it can be a little confusing. We call the French display AZERTY because of the first letters on the keyboard that read AZERTY. Typing on the French keyboard allows the accents, unless my phone decides otherwise…😊

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  7. I’ll look ignore your thong faux pas since you know this fasionista favors mens briefs😆
    I had to turn off autocorrrect after an extrememly embarrassing serious comment, to a newly discovered blogger, in which it changed my ‘elderly’ to ‘ebola’ . Of course I didn’t catch it. Even with auto correct turned of there are way many jugs, jigs and hogs !!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG – I am not talking about underwear:) I got comments about buying “pants”. I usually need autocorrect but WP has broken it for the iPhone. I’m going to pay special attention to your comments now :)

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    1. Sometimes, I like the asynchronous nature of text messages. I can respond, but not just this second. Also good for those quick feel-good messages like when our daughter will shoot us a quick “I’m home” after driving home from our house at night. Of course, we also accept “I’m a gnome” – thanks for the comments Sandi.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, Dan, you really are funny!! I am trying to train my microphone right now versus typing. What a joke that is! And the auto spelling irks me …. Really? IT knows what I am saying? Love your idea of a new keyboard as well. I laughed all the way through this post. LOL Love, Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As an aside, when I worked as a trader in the City of London, fat finger meant that you had pushed the wrong button and gave the order to a different broker. That caused fun when you wanted to the order off as you went into what you thought was the broker, only to find out he didn’t know what you were talking about! Then, while you were sorting that out, the other one gave you an execution. Great fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As soon as I read your first comment I wondered if you were going to realize that you had made a mistake. I love that you too are compelled to correct them. Sending a trade to the wrong broker is (I’m guessing) worse than most typos. Maybe not worse than the ones involving “thongs” and “jugs” but pretty bad.

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  10. I think iPhones should let people make mistakes. Typos can be read and understood. But changing the whole word severely alters meaning and can land a person into trouble. Like the “pregame” and “pregnant”. I used to look at other people’s typos in order to determine how the errors occurred. For instance, if a person types R instead of T or E then the error is understandable. Most people I saw had problems with close letters on the keyboard, like G and H, A and S, O and P, etc–although recently I received an email with J in place of W. Now that was a real error! Myself it’s B and N to date. I keep typing one in place of the other. And I’ve been wondering whether it’s deliberate. I mean, when I need B, my fingers press N, and vice versa. It happens every time and now I wonder if some part of me is aware of the gimmick and happy about it. It even made remember a movie I watched once where hands were rebelling against their owners. So that if, say, you want to go somewhere but your hands don’t want to go with you, they can hold tightly to the door handle or stair rails, or just pinch your face until you bleed. It was a crazy movie and I saw Stephen King’s name in it at the beginning. I’ve been thinking that my fingers might one day rebel against me, and I will type the strangest things ever. Although I think it’d be cool if my fingers wrote a story by themselves. Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Peter. I’m almost afraid to think what your fingers might have to say if they were left on their own. Your stories are pretty scary when your brain is actively involved. I totally understand the B/N thing, I wish those keys were farther apart.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Oh dear me, I’ve made so many mistakes of recent that I’ve lost count! That auto correct can be so frustrating. Just this evening, it took me three tries to send out a complete message. I kept hitting the send button too early. The first part of the text ended with. “Y” which means “and” in Spanish . My friend had a big laugh because she thought I was into some Spanglish! I must say I like your design on the keyboard.

    Lol@ at thong for thing😄😄

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment Elaine. I’m glad we can laugh about our typos. I do have a bunch of texts that are two and three deep because I hit send too soon. My wife actually suggested that change, because ‘send’ on the iPhone is where the backspace key is on a regular keyboard.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I used to have an iPhone at work. It changed my maiden name to a word that has only 2 letters in common, not even in the same order. It made NO SENSE at all. But I loved it, because it caused me to refer to my family as “the madness family”.

    Earlier today my android was sure that instead of dating “jerks” I had been dating Jerusalem.

    I don’t even bother to correct the changes on my shopping list. I figure I’ll know what it is when I get there. I currently have “caramel machinations yogurt”, and “dog teats” on my list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I first started using a smartphone, it was Windows Mobile. As I would start to type my name, it would always suggest “Danger” and as I would start to type my wife’s name, it would always suggest “Murder” – I always wondered if it knew something I didn’t :)

      Dating Jerusalem might be a comment you can use as code. I have a draft of a blog post about that topic. I’m going to add your comment to that draft. I’ll give you credit if I ever get that finished. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lots of people who have iPhones don’t use most of the features. The technology you use should be the technology that helps you do the things you want to do. My wife reminds me of that fact on a regular basis. I work in this world, but I can’t get her to join me.

      Liked by 1 person

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