They are odd ducks at Apple. They proclaim revolutions, yet they are curiously controlling.
They want to be cool, yet they are curiously ubiquitous.
At times, one just wishes the company could be a little more consistent and a little more, well, liberal.
It is well known that the majority of humanity uses curse words. Not necessarily in public, but I suspect even nuns and bishops sometimes offer a little f-ing and blinding.
Yet every time I try to text a curse word on my iPhone 4, teacher interjects to tell me it is verboten.
I understand that curse words do get starred-out in many public media (as they do here). There are oddities. I can write the word "piss" here, but in most English publications that word would not be de rigueur.
I only bought this iPhone because, having been a lifelong husband to Nokia, I realized the Finns just didn't want to sell me another phone.
So I have come to appreciate my iPhone for what it is -- a very colorful and pleasant companion. However, every time I try to text someone with the true meaning of my inner feelings, the iPhone slaps my bottom.
I confess to sometimes using the f-word in writing. This is merely for colloquial emphasis for those closest to my bosom. However, the word s*** has become a fairly innocuous expression of woe or exclamation. It is no more fierce than the word "crap" and just as descriptive.
Yet my iPhone insists that what I really want to say is "shut" or "shot."
My iPhone is not a dimwit. It seems to grasp and memorize names and phrases I use repeatedly. These may not have any significance to anyone beyond those who know me intimately.
"Ziel" for example -- Or "Shirl" or "Aziza" or "Lopsy."
These are my personal code words. Yet this little machine knows immediately what I'm intending to type and goes there before I do.
It intends to be personal, you see. It knows that texting is a personal form of communication and it wants to help me in expressing my intimate thoughts. It wants to show that it knows me, that it's not some cold-hearted piece of metal.
Yet somehow, it doesn't know s***.
Or does it?
Tonight, I received a text from a very close friend. There had been certain frustrations to my day, so when she asked how I was, I instinctively typed "S***."
This was immediately translated by Apple's AutoCorrect as "Shot."
Regular readers will know that I am not some technological marvel, so I have no idea how my iPhone's innards decide between "shot" and "shut."
Still, I was so frustrated at yet again having to correct it manually that I decided to keep typing. I just kept typing the word "s***" over and over again.
Here is what my iPhone printed: "Shot s*** shut shot s*** s*** shot s*** shot shot shot shot shot s***."
That was merely the first part, because I kept on typing the same four letters as Windsor, my favorite barperson, looked upon me in search of the missing marbles.
My iPhone got into such a state that it allowed "s***" around every fourth or fifth word -- though it became so frustrated that the last four words were all "shot shot shot shot", as if it just couldn't take it any more.
I know it isn't just iOS that perpetrates this schoolmarmish nonsense. My colleague Lori Grunin laments that her Android phone delights in texting people about how she finds so certain things "ducking annoying."
But Apple, you do so love leading the way with your magic revolutions. So please could you announce that the-- or whatever it will be called -- will allow us all to text s***.
I do so feel that this would represent a remarkable level of progress.