Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Android smart phone typing spelling and keyboards

This is a post about how to produce documents, with reasonable spelling and few typos, very quickly, using a smart phone and folding pocket keyboard. Useful for the older blinder blogger with big fingers and also useful if you want to be able to write things quickly when you are out and about.  

I was disabled during my childhood and had very little in the way of primary school education, this means that I can’t spell very well at all. Having four children of my own, I have now learnt that spelling seems to mostly to do with neat and consistent handwriting, the brain appears to better at learning the shapes of the words than the order of the letters by rote. My guess is that earlier use of different types of keyboard is going to leave future generations with problems spelling.


 There are various courses and computer programs to help you to learn to touch type, an alternative method is to put coloured stickers on the font edges of the keyboard keys, that correspond with the each finger and to only use the right fingers when typing. This worked for my children and me.

The Android smart phone operating system doesn’t have a conventional spellchecker that highlights or underlines suspect words, spellchecking is achieved by something called predictive text, which works fine for some people but produces gibberish when I attempt to use it.

There are various spellchecking aps available, some work better than others on different smart phones, one that works perfectly well on one make of smart phone will make another crash or freeze. Most of these aps need an internet connection to function, as I only need to spell correctly when I am publishing something, this isn’t an issue, however if you need this facility for text messages it may not function all the time.

Another thing that I find peculiar is that sites like blogger that underline suspect words in the comments submission box, when you are commenting from a conventional computer, don’t do this when you use an android smart phone.  
 The virtual keyboard on my smart phone is about the largest there is, but it still isn’t big enough to touch-type on, there are various folding bluetooth keyboards available on ebay, like the aps, some work on some smart phones but not on others.

Folding keyboard and smart phone won’t fit in the pockets of tight trousers, but will fit in handbag or jacket pockets comfortably.

With my combination of keyboard and phone, once the initial bluetooth pairing has been done, it is only necessary to turn on the folding keyboard, it will then override the virtual keyboard and temporally turn off the predictive text. Predictive text won’t work at all with the folding keyboard, so if you like using this method of spell checking you need to think again. 

I know this sort of thing doesn’t really relate to my usual sort of local blog post, however the logistics of producing blog posts very quickly and from anywhere when I have a few moments to spare, is the reason that you all get the blog to read.

Another point that some readers may wonder about is, are many of the people reading this blog doing so with a smart phone? From what I can make out looking at the various web statistics, of the 20,000 visits to this site in month, about 1,000 were made using a smart phone. This is a bit difficult as I think some of the pads, that don’t also work as phones, may look like a smart phone to the gismos that collect statistics.  

While on the subject of smart phones, just like the bigger computers, you have to sort them out when they slow down, restarting them by turning them right off (holding down the on button until you get the “do you want to shut down button”, shutting the down, then pressing the on button so they come back on again) needs doing about once a week.

With android there is likely to be an app called “Task Manager” exiting all the active apps, these tend to build up and will soon restart after. Going onto the RAM tab and clearing the memory. These are both things that can speed up your phone. 

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