Why auto Spell Correction is a bad, bad idea

Why auto Spell Correction is a bad, bad idea on a smartphone. Most of the time when we make a spelling mistake on “normal, common” words, the recipient would still be able to make out what we mean, even without the Spelling Correction. However, when we want to use an acronymn, an abbreviation or a foreign word, we do not want the Spell Checker to offer a “correction” and make it without us noticing it. That’s disastrous! If you have ever been caught in an embarrassing or difficult situation because of this, you will know what I mean. Therefore, I make my case for “No Spell Checker” as the default, unlike the present situation where it’s already implemented as the default and very often we don’t even know how to turn it off.

Two cases to illustrate:

1. I typed and sent a URL to a friend by SMS. He kept saying the link doesn’t work. I checked and it worked on my original document. Much later I realised that when I typed the abbreviations GMBO, the not-so-smart-phone kept auto-correcting it to GUMBO. And of course I didn’t realise that at the time.

2. A friend texted me to say that his friend would be calling me. I texted back to ask whether that friend could speak my dialect or English. He replied, “Try hollowness”. Of course, I sent a burst of ???? to him. He then realised that his phone had auto-“corrrected” the dialect “hokkien” to “hollowness”.

I rest my case.






My Travel Advisory!

Boy, do I have some exciting things to share with you!

I am planning my family’s European Holiday for August 2013. I started planning this more than a month ago, so I have the time to experiment and explore various options.

First, the “technical” part….which travel Apps should I use? Here are the (super) apps that I’ve settled on…you can check them out:

1. Tripit

Tripit will automatically (if you allow auto import) consolidate your flight and hotel reservations and prepare the complete itinerary for you, on your PC and on your smartphone. How cool is that?

2. Frommer’s

Frommer’s Travel Tools include currency converter, time translator, tip calculator, flashlight, packing list, postcards and guides. How convenient!

3. MapQuest Travel Blogs

Arguably the best travel blog app for you to record your trip. Don’t trust your memory; record your trip details as you go along.

4. TripAdvisor and Expedia

I use these two in tandem… I use the Expedia map to view the cluster of hotels around the main train station. Then I use TripAdvisor to read the reviews of the hotels to shortlist them. Finally, book through Expedia.

5. TripAdvisorCityGuides and fotopedia

Both give excellent free travel guides for various cities.

6. Frommer’s, Lonely Planet and Rough Guides

Other excellent travel guides but only some samples are free…..mostly chargeable. But check them out.

You can easily find all those Apps by name in your iTunes Store or Google Play. Check them out!

5. For the budget airlines, I look at easyJet, RyanAir and Vueling. Due to time constraint, I am not taking the intercity trains (which can be more expensive than the budget airlines). The cities are London-Venice-Rome-Barcelona-London in 9-days. Of the three, easyJet is the most generous with the hand luggage (bigger size and no weight limit).

8. And a most useful tip…. Do NOT buy in advance your airport transfers (bus); buy only when on board your bus as the flight may be delayed. Duh! Perhaps that’s too obvious.

Here’s wishing you a safe, pleasant, happy Holiday..wherever you may go.

Printing Full-Sized Colour Pages

YouTubeCover2Sometimes an e-guide is so good that you just have to print it to retain a hard copy. Then you see its cover page with a full-page full-colour graphic (or full black page with white wordings) that’s just mocking you to go ahead and print-if-dare and let me suck your ink cartridge dry. At that point you have the following choices:

1. No cover page
2. Just type the title page yourself.
3. Go ahead and print the original cover page and get ready to buy new ink cartridges sooner than later.
4.  Or follow my suggestion below….read on.
What you need:
a. Microsoft’s free (yes, F-R-E-E) excellent tool called “Snipping Tool”. If you don’t know what this is, read about Snipping Tool here.
b. An image editor like the free Paint.NET ( any decent image editor will do ).
c.  Your colour printer of course.
1. Open the e-guide and display its cover page. Enlarge or reduce to display    the full page on screen.
2.  Start the snipping tool. Click new if required.
3.  Select the cover page and save as your Cover.jpg
4.  Open the image editor and display the Cover.jpg
5.  Resize for Print Dimensions, say 2.5 inches width x 3.xxx inches ( maintaining the aspect ratio. Save as Cover2.jpg. Select the YouTubeCover3whole new image and copy ( Control-C ).
6.  In the image editor, open a new blank file with Print Dimensions for A4 paper ( 21cm x 29.7cm). Paste ( Control-V ) the image Cover2.jpg on the blank page and move to suit.
7.  Now print the page and voila! You have a cover page with a reduced image of the original cover that will not drink your ink cartridge dry.

“Old” HP Photosmart 7260

Elsewhere you may have read that I bought a Canon printer after years of using HP printers.

Well, I found some un-used ink cartridges for my old HP Photosmart 7620, so I dusted the printer off and used it to print hardcopies of manuals and eGuides to finish off the ink.

This was fine for a few days (even though the paper-loading was a pain) and managed to print some decent copies of useful eGuides. Then the printer ran into a snag. No matter how I tried, the fault light would not go off. I deleted the driver and mounted the CD (yes, I sill have it) to re-install. What do you know? The CD gave an error message that my OS is not recognised (Vista). It’s supposed to be for up to XP only, that’s how old the printer is. OK, go to HP website to download the driver, and happily the support message says that the driver for Photosmart 7200 series is built-in the Vista OS. Connected the printer to my USB again, and indeed, Windows Vista recognises the printer and installed the driver. I must have done this before years ago, otherwise how did the printer work with my Vista PC in the first place? 

However, it still will not work.  On a hunch, I changed the black ink cartridge….and it worked! I guess it’s my fault for not knowing that the red alert light indicates empty ink cartridge. 

Oh well, I’ll mothball the printer again when the ink is finished.