Sunday, March 28, 2010

Lazy Writing

I recently read an article on the that asked a few authors for their personal dos and don’ts of writing.  All of the tips were great and hearing them from some of authors that I really respect made it home even more.  You have probably noticed that I am not a very good writer and any guidance, especially from the masters, is useful.

The one tip that struck me most was from Geoff Dyer.  He recommends, “If you use a computer, constantly refine and expand your autocorrect settings. The only reason I stay loyal to my piece-of-shit computer is that I have invested so much ingenuity into building one of the great auto­correct files in literary history. Perfectly formed and spelt words emerge from a few brief keystrokes: “Niet" becomes "Nietzsche", "phoy" becomes  ­"photography" and so on. ­Genius!”

Autocorrect is a wonderful feature.  Ever since it started showing up in office applications, I have loved it.  I left “office” in lower case because I am assuming that Microsoft Office isn’t the only software out there doing this.

I cannot count the number of times when autocorrect has stepped in and changed “teh” to “the” and “recieved” to “received”.  The main reason is because it is transparent and doesn’t require your input.  It does it automatically, hence the name “autocorrect.” 

It’s not that I do not know how to spell these words, it is that I am “teh suk” at typing.  My mind is usually not in-sync with my fingers, especially when the left hand has to type 2 or more characters in succession, followed by something from the right, or vice versa.  Like the word “spirit”, regardless of how many times I have to type this word and how much conscious thought I put behind typing it, it always comes out “sprit.”  My fingers have to go left, right, right, left, right, left, but what they really want to do it always go left, right, left… 

Knowing that I have this issue, I created an entry in the auto-correct dictionary to always change “sprit” to “spirit.”  I just have to bite the bullet anytime I really want to write the word “sprit.”  I don’t think I have ever intentionally need to write the word sprit before and when I do have to type it, it is part of bowsprit and exempt from the autocorrect.

It has not ever occurred to me to use autocorrect as a means to increase productivity.  I am all for increased productivity.  I have experimented with Quick Parts in Outlook, but they take some time to set up and I have found they are only really useful with large pieces of text, not individual words. 

Here are some useful autocorrect shortcuts and their translations:

  • srvr – server
  • srvc – service
  • wbst – website
  • eml – email
  • appl – application
  • proj – project
  • mchn – machine
  • db – database
  • produ – production
  • uat – the monkeys banging on the keyboard phase. As in “the project is in uat
  • pos – good application. As in “this is a pos.”
  • stb – experience prolonged downtime. As in “the server stb
  • brb – Nap time! WOOT!
  • lol – That’s a great idea, we will work on that
  • wtf – Brilliant, I was just thinking the same thing
  • omfg – I recommend that you be taken out back, blind-folded and then shot
  • ass – user
  • dh - customer

Let me know in the comments if you have any other suggestions.

I would really like to use the autocorrect feature to the fullest, but I am running into some issues.  Microsoft Word, Outlook and Excel have the autocorrect feature, but Microsoft Office Communicator doesn’t.  You know what I mean if you have ever been on the receiving end of one of IMs.  The cool thing about Word, Outlook and Excel is that they share the same dictionary.  Windows Live Writer (which I am using to write this post) doesn’t (which is instrumental in writing this post because of all of the intentional misspellings).  InfoPath doesn’t.  Gmail doesn’t.  I just have to be aware of where I am whenever I write something.  If you get an IM from me and it reads “no, the wbst did not stb.  it must be something the ass is doing wrong”, just remember that it really means “no the website is not experiencing prolonged downtime.  it must be something the user is doing wrong.”


  1. Added a few more today.

    maint - maintenance
    proc - process
    rpt - report
    douchebag - valued business partner

  2. Texter with the English language autocorrect library is awesome: