All Dressed Up

While walking through the Walmart parking lot today, a car drove by me. A man was driving, a woman was in the passenger seat putting on makeup. I had just finished my shopping and I was on my way to put my stuff in my car. As it turned out, they parked close to where my car was.

By the time I got to my car and started putting my things away, the woman was still fixing her makeup. I can understand someone doing this briefly in a moving car, but by the time I was locking up my car and starting to head back into Walmart to eat at McD’s, she was just finishing. They had parked and she was still putting on makeup when I figured she would be done. How much work did she need to put in, exactly?

She and her husband started walking just ahead of me so I got at look at how they were dressed. The man was wearing Dockers and a button down short-sleeve shirt with dress shoes. She was wearing a nice sleeveless blouse, a knee-length skirt and high-heels. Fancy attire, considering where they were going. Which could’ve been either Walmart or McD’s, I didn’t know at this point. Needless to say, wherever they were going didn’t have a dress code.

I stopped to go to the washroom, then went and put in my order at McD’s. So I sit down and who do I see sitting nearby? The Fancy Pants couple.

I also saw two girls wearing fancy dresses sitting elsewhere. They looked like teenagers and considering the time of year, I figured they were wearing grad dresses. Maybe they were on their way to grad or from it, I had no idea which.

I thought to myself, “Wow, everyone’s all dressed up to go to McD’s today.”

Because, you know, everyone cares what you look like at McDonald’s.

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You (Auto)Complete Me

Note: since I first published this post, I have changed the title. This used to be called “Adventures With Autocorrect”. This is the same post, just with a different title and bigger pictures.

First of all, I should start off by posing a question:

Is the thing that we always refer to as “autocorrect” actually the right term for it? Correcting something means fixing a mistake; when we’re typing something out and haven’t finished, we haven’t made a mistake yet. Often the mistake is made for us, thereby contradicting the term.

Personally, I like to refer to it as “autocomplete” as it’s not correcting our words after we’ve typed them, it’s offering options to complete them for us. Often it’s suggesting everything except the word we’re actually looking for, but that’s a whole other can of worms.

On my phone, it’s not called “autocorrect,” instead it’s referred to as the term in the picture below:

Screenshot_2015-04-21-19-23-24

Predictive text. That’s a more accurate description of what it actually does; it tries to predict what we’re going to type and it gives suggestions to speed things along. It’s also sometimes referred to as “text replacement”.

We have all experienced the frustration of trying to type something out, only to have the word replaced with something completely different from what we intended. Normally, I don’t have any problems like that on my phone, but I did run into it recently.

I needed to take my cat to the vet, so I was trying to save the vet’s contact info on my phone. The name of the place is Kitimat Veterinary Hospital. I typed in the name and as I was doing so, I looked at the different words that the predictive text was offering. It looked like this:

Screenshot_2015-04-21-19-31-04

It was suggesting I replace “Kitimat” with “Litigation” or “Kiribati”, among other words that aren’t even close. How it came up with either of those is beyond me. Orginally, I was able to type “Kitimat” without any problems, but when I tried to enter it for another contact, it slipped in “Litigation” without me noticing it. Later, I went looking for a contact starting with “Kitimat” and couldn’t find it. I found it further down, where the first word was “Litigation”, which is not what I typed. How rude.

“Kitimat” is a problematic word as it’s never recognized as a proper name. It’s either victim of autocompletion or it gets underlined in that jagged red line of death in word processing software. It can’t be replaced, though. It is the name of my home town, not a court action or a group of islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Another odd suggestion came up when I was trying to save the number for my dentist. His name is Dr. Gottschling and the autocomplete came up with “Gotta cling.” Yeah, I’m going to make an appointment with Dr. Gotta Cling, I’ll get right on that.

Anyway, I changed the settings on my phone so that it still offers suggestions, but it doesn’t automatically insert them. I can chose to use one of the suggestions, I can choose not to.

Most of the time, I’ll be choosing not to.

If You Build It

Last week, I read *this* article and was amazed.

It’s about a blind Liberian man named Wesseh Freeman. To raise money, he built a guitar out of an old oil can, taught himself how to play it, then started playing it on the street.

People took interest, one person shot some video and uploaded it.

Upon first glance, the oil can guitar might not look all that impressive, but considering that he’s blind and couldn’t see what he was doing, I thought he did an outstanding job. All of the elements of a guitar are there; it works.

After reading about this and seeing a video of him singing and playing his homemade guitar, I felt inspired. If he can do it, why can’t I?

I started jotting down ideas for guitars that I could build and while I was doing that, I thought back to a guitar concept that I came up with a couple of years back. It was based on a Northwest Coast Native design that I made and the concept image I put together looked like this:

Beaver Shield Guitar Left Side View

Originally, it was just a fanciful dream and I envisioned having someone else build the guitar for me. I never really expected it to happen, it would just be nice. But now I’m thinking, why don’t I try building it myself?

So that’s what I’m going to try and do. Except, instead of building it out of wood, I’ll construct it out of copper. Maybe I’ll stick on a pre-made guitar neck, maybe I’ll make it acoustic, maybe I’ll make it electric, maybe I’ll make a bass version, who knows?

I have so many ideas for guitars that I could build, the thing is to find materials. Building a guitar out of copper might be too advanced for a beginner so maybe I’ll start small, get the process down, then expand from there.

Getting back to Wesseh Freeman: after his videos were posted online, someone bought a brand new guitar for him. That’s a very generous gesture, though it’s a right-handed guitar and Wesseh plays left-handed (that’s something I identify with, I play left-handed too). Regardless, he plays his new guitar well and loves it.

Hearing about this truly inspired me. I have a dream, and I will build it.