Clueless spell checker leaves me joyless, pointless rant ensues.

2010-11-22 14:49

I am listless without Shinies, but they cost money; since I am at some risk of being penniless, and thence homeless, if I get every pointless Shiny Thing I encounter, I have imposed limits on the limitless and constrained myself to getting New Shinies only when I have found boundless income, such as an extra writing project. In fact, doubtless related to this, I recently sold some peerless writing. While there is some doubt as to whether it is the Perfect Shiny, I have nevertheless acquired an iPad.

For the most part, it is a painless device to use, which nonetheless imposes the occasional careless constraint on usage. I refer of course to the thoughtless imposition of a “spell checker” on all written text. This has a purposeless limitation to which I have been guilelessly alluding for some time, to wit, it does not understand the ceaseless construction of new words in English, by writers dauntless and fearless.

It came to pass that I wished to “write a review” of a particular game I’d been playing on the iPad (and on the iPhone), this game being a nigh-flawless implementation of the rules of a board game similar to the classic Risk. This game had an interesting option buried in its settings menu; the option of a method of play in which dice were not used. Sadly, the clueless iPad refuses to accept the word used consistently by countless game developers and players to describe a game which does not use dice. Rather, if you type that word and follow it with a space or other punctuation, the feckless machine immediately splits it into two words. You cannot prevent this, except by typing the word, not typing the punctuation, waiting for the suggestion menu to come up, then clicking on the little “x”. (And if you were using the keyboard, this purposeless interruption takes rather more time than you would have wished.) Even then, the heedless gizmo procedes to underline a perfectly legitimate word with red, in the hopes that in some formless future, you will choose to acquiesce to its churlish demands.

You might think you could simply turn off the useless misfeature, but the cause is hopeless; there is no option, there is only a badly broken misfeature which cannot be disabled for love nor rubles.

Rumor has it that a future release allows you to turn the misfeature off. I await, breathless.

(… And whaddya know, within hours the new release was out. That’s service! Too bad they still can’t figure out how to use arrow keys in a spreadsheet program.)

Peter Seebach