July 18, 2006 01:47 | Confession / Cyborg / Technology


I've long been telling stories about how I seem to be quite aware of many of my thought processes, and often these stories take on computer jargon analogies. Stuff like "the scripts I have running in the background" to make sure I always leave the house with keys and wallet (scripts which needed major rewriting with the advent of a second very large set of keys for the new office), and the time I watched my brain start up the "eat banana" script when my phone rang (I watched the code load "raise banana to mouth and insert"... luckily I kill -9'ed it and chuckled.)

Last week I got a Nintendo DS Lite and started playing these "brain training games" which more than anything got me even more aware of the boundaries of my mind, its methods, and some deeply seated intellectual and emotional responses to challenges, puzzles and other such stimuli which, quite frankly now that I see them under the light, I feel I must rid myself of a load of bad mental habits.

While what I have undertaken today does not address these particular aforementioned habits, I have begun a journey, which so far seems like it will be quite a quick one, to learn not only how to touch type finally (I am making an effort right now and with just one hour of Mavis Beacon, I already have a much better idea of how what used to seem to me wildly complicated is really childishly easy to accomplish and... fun!), but also how to use T9 predictive text entry on a mobile phone keypad. (This too is not so bad. Once you *get* what it's doing, it just sorta goes.)

All of this seems to have one rather potentially dangerous side-effect: driving back from my mother's place I realized I was not tracking my environment--the other cars on the highway and streets--as effectively, thoroughly and predictively as I used to. I was actually surprised and scared at least twice. I will monitor this closely. It may be that I need glasses, or that I was overly tired this evening. Or both. Or, really, far more likely, I've just been very distracted and scattered lately. Focus dammit.


T9 was HELL for the first 10 messages — Now Multi-tap feels ridiculous. Make sure you constantly add your oft-used own words as you go.

It's just a natural part of the aging process.

Stevey: yeah once I understood "how" to use it and to just trust it, it goes so well. Better than a regular keyboard even (offloaded thinking!) and yes I admit... pen entry was retarded. Bye bye handwriting! ;)

Michal: noooooooooooo


I've been learning t9 here in Australia, since mobile calls are so expensive, and I love it, really useful. I texted lot two years ago when my GF was in Africa, but wasn't using t9 and, believe me, t9 is a huge improvement over multitap.

Took the Mavis Beacon plunge a few years ago, when i started looking for a new job and needed to impresss people with my neat typing skills, and have never looked back. Touch typing is strangly exhilirating, though I have noticed something about it.

When I sit in a lecture and type my notes it splits my focus. Meaning that while typing provides me with quite a good transcript of everything that a prof said in a lecture, that I often have a very meagre understanding of what actually went on.

This term I have been writing all my notes by hand and so far I feel much more comfortable with the material, and have much better and more concise notes.

This may not have to do uniquely with the switch from typing to writing. There are many factors at play, including the general learning curve of being in law school. But I feel that writing has definitely helped.

So I guess the point here is, beware the potentially dangerous side effects of typing?