Monday, October 29, 2012


The headline in this morning's paper:


I’ve been using this new dictation program for a while now, and it can be pretty good – –  usually!

But there are times when I run into a situation that drives me only mildly nuts. For example, I will want to make a line like the headline above in all capital letters. That’s not the problem. It’s when I go to write some text, and I give the proper command to stop using all capital letters. That’s When I Get Something That Looks like This. I  really don’t want every word capitalized, thank you very much. But today I finally found the users manual, and it is full of very useful information. All that I have to do is learn all this stuff.  The program doesn’t try to insert punctuation intelligently based on grammar, tone of voice, or anything like that.  So there is no point in my being dramatic when I speak. The manual tells me that I can train the program; I sometimes get the feeling that it is training me!

Let’s see if I remember anything from what I looked at this afternoon:
What I kind of get a kick out of is the ability to get all kinds of punctuation. Take a look.
Ampersand – I just say that and I get &.
If I sayApostrophe ess, I get  ’s.
How about a cent sign–– ¢
Now I didn’t realize that three dots have a name; it is called Ellipsis, and if I say that, I get  …
But the one that I got a kick out of was getting that character that sits above the number two on the keyboard; namely, @.   Do you ever use that?

Oh, one other thing. I have to be careful not to swear at it when it does something other than what I want. All it does is type it on the screen. That can be a little embarrassing. I do tend to mutter aloud.

Let’s go to something on the lighter side --


Scientists at NASA built a gun specifically to launch standard 4 pound dead chickens at the windshields of airliners, military jets and the space shuttle, all traveling at maximum velocity. The idea was to simulate the frequent incidents of collisions with airborne fowl to test the strength of the windshields.

British engineers heard about the gun and were eager to test it on the windshields of their new high speed trains.
Arrangements were made and a gun was sent to the British engineers.

When the gun was fired, the engineers stood shocked as the chicken hurled out of the barrel, crashed into the shatter-proof shield, smashed it to smithereens, blasted through the control console, snapped the engineer's back-rest in two and embedded itself in the back wall of the cabin, like an arrow shot from a bow. The horrified Brits sent NASA the disastrous results of the experiment, along with the designs of the windshield and begged the U.S. scientists for suggestions.

NASA responded with a one-line memo, "Defrost the chicken."  (True story)

As to its being a true story, Snopes begs to differ. They say the story has been around for many years in many different forms. They do say that engineers used to fire dead chickens at windshields, but have switched over to clay in deference to environmentalists.

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