The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

19 March 2008

Hope for the older generation

There but for the grace of God, yadda, yadda, yadda:

Today another wonderful technological advancement by the parental units has occurred: my father actually responded to a text message! I am not sure that this achievement will be as understood or appreciated by my readers as it should be, so I will explain my excitement at this. I once sent my father a text message on his phone (because he has been paying for a text messaging package on that phone for some time now) and it went unnoticed for almost six months. The only reason he noticed it was because he accidentally replied to it with a blank message. I know it was a reply because I was using the same cell phone that I had been using when I sent the message and it was lined up right below the one previous message I had sent to him months earlier. So, I called him to ask what he had meant to send in the text message and after I had explained text messaging to him — explained that he had replied to one that I had sent him a very long time ago, he said he didn't know that I had sent him one and he didn't know that he had sent one OR more importantly how to repeat the procedure to try again.

Been there, failed to reply to that. I remember coming to the conclusion that predictive-text entry was simply beyond my comprehension, and dropped the issue on poor Trini, who was actually able to explain things in a more efficient manner than the Nokia manual, which appeared to have been translated from Finnish to English by a native speaker of Urdu.

But last night I sent him a text message while talking to him from my iPhone. He was able to see that he had a message while I was available and we chatted about it a bit, but I didn't try explaining the process of how to go about sending text messaging (I have found it works best to just take these things one step at a time). But today, my father replied to the text message I had sent him yesterday (while on the phone with him)!! Not only that — he was able to then respond to my quick text response to him. We had a text conversation — it was amazing!

This is not, incidentally, the situation described by Mark Twain: "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be 21, I was astonished at how much the old man had learned in seven years." On the other hand, I seldom pass up an opportunity to work in a Mark Twain quote, no matter how inappropriate. And besides, Twain, I believe, would have figured out text messages; heck, he poured money into an automated printing-press gizmo, and God knows he'd have no issues with contemporary txtspk.

Posted at 4:27 PM to PEBKAC

I remember coming to the conclusion that predictive-text entry was simply beyond my comprehension

I refuse to use it. On our phones -- the current ones and the previous models -- we had the option of not using that option, and our sanity (what remains of it) has been very grateful.

Posted by: McGehee at 7:58 PM on 19 March 2008

Huh. I've never text messaged and I don't feel an urge to. Text-speak peeves me since I prefer complete words and sentences--so there might not be any luddite-ness on my part.

But then again, I did ask my Mom to send me postcards from the Other Side of the World rather than e-mail.

Posted by: sya at 10:33 AM on 20 March 2008

Heh. Some say my aversion to text-speak means I'm "tech-averse." No, it just means I don't try to cram a 300-word monologue into a 240-character text message.

Posted by: McGehee at 10:41 AM on 20 March 2008

My aversion to text-speak is because it appears too Jethro-ish. IMO, anyone that uses it -might- have managed to "gradjeeate" from the sixth grade.

I do use the predictive text on my phone, all words are spelled out and correctly with all punctuation as well.

Posted by: unimpressed at 3:43 PM on 20 March 2008