New Blackberry patent could be filed under 'annoying'

New Blackberry patent could be filed under 'annoying'

Summary: Russell Shaw flags a monstrous U.S. patent application by Research in Motion that outlines plans to bring a lot of autoformatting features to the Blackberry.

TOPICS: BlackBerry

Russell Shaw flags a monstrous U.S. patent application by Research in Motion that outlines plans to bring a lot of autoformatting features to the Blackberry.

File this patent under "annoying." While Russell notes RIM's patent is designed to cut back on keystrokes--more like thumb strokes--and auto format certain inputs. It all sounds very Microsoft Word-ish.  

There's a reason I'm writing this post in Notepad--Microsoft Word autoformats everything. Smart quotes? Hate them. Completing sentences? Word stinks. Aside from spell check I'm not sure what Microsoft Word is good for.

Now RIM is going down the same path. A few excerpts compiled by Russell:

  • Another embodiment of the user interface engine is the "autopunctuation" feature of the device. If the user enters one of a number of predefined character sequences, the user interface engine will automatically insert a period (full stop) in the user input field.
  • Another embodiment of the user interface engine is the "intelligent character substitution" feature of the device. In fields designed for certain types of input, the user interface engine will automatically substitute appropriate characters if inappropriate characters are entered.
  • The first embodiment of the autotext engine provides an application service for error correction and phrase substitution.

Those aforementioned items scare the hell out of me. Part of the appeal of emails sent via Blackberry is the brevity and thumbish punctuation--or lack of it. Now RIM is going to make mobile email look more professional by correcting us nonstop.

RIM assures us that "all automatic formatting features of the user interface and autotext engines such as autocapitalization, autopunctuation and phrase substitution may be overridden."

Let's hope there's an easy override included. After all, I could undo all the autoformatting in Microsoft Word too, but I'd prefer to use Notepad, which didn't use all that mumbo jumbo in the first place.

Topic: BlackBerry

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  • features! God forbid!

    I'm going right home tonight and throw out my air-nailer, TV remote, and dishwasher too!
  • Your attitude contributes mainly to inarticulate messages

    The media are full of articles which describe the deterioration of spelling, grammar and punctuation. The opinion in your article indicates that you prefer to make and retain self-created spelling and punctuation errors in your messages, rather than have them corrected for you.

    As a recipient of untold messages or newsletters that are confusing or ambiguous at best, or almost illiterate at worst, I say "More Power to Blackberry" in correcting sloppiness by people who can't be bothered to making themselves understood.
  • Sorry, Larry, but you're off-base here.

    The "annoyances" you cite are [b]not[/b] the reasons why RIM's patent is bad (bad, as in approaching evil). "Annoyances" are a fact of life: That you use Notepad, part of an OS filled with annoyances for [i]every[/i] user, is a testament to your willingness to put up with a myriad annoyances.

    It is RIM's attempt to impinge on everyone's right to exercise common sense in developing software (starting a sentence with a capital letter after a period ends the preceding sentence--how original is that??) that makes this patent a huge threat to everyone--and not just software coders.

    Thumbs down on this one, Larry.
  • I'm on your side, Larry

    I too find MS Word's auto-this and auto-that to be annoying and frustrating. It wouldn't be so bad if the "features" were off by default and I didn't have to spend so much time trying to figure out why "what you see is not what you typed".

    Software that automatically corrects errors does not encourage proper spelling, grammar or punctuation. On the contrary, it makes people lazy and careless, and too reliant on unreliable cyber-crutches. I'll never forget Bill Gates' first demonstration of Word's new spell check feature during the Microsoft Premiere of MS Office, in which he deliberately misspelled "Premiere" and the software incorrectly substituted "premier" -- and nobody even noticed the mistake!

    In a word processor, used to create formal documents, there is at least some justification for it; but in instant messaging, this mere "feature bloat" -- a marketing gimmick, nothing more. I am reminded of calculator ads, which attract attention by touting the total number of functions, even though most users will never even understand 90% of the them, let alone use them effectively.
  • Featureless word processing

    Larry, send me your plain, unfeatured mailbox address. I'll make all your wishes come true by mailing you a pencil and a pad of paper. I'm sure you have a knife to sharpen the pencil, so I won't add a pencil sharpener feature.

    There's one remaining step on your part. Get a stenographer to type your usually thoughtful words and send them to a lithographer so they can be printed.
  • RE: New Blackberry patent could be filed under 'annoying'

    All of the Word features you claim to loathe can be disabled in under 5 seconds.