Friday, September 3, 2010

SwiftKey Update

It's been awhile since I posted my length comparison of Swype and SwiftKey.  SwiftKey has updated its application and added a speech to text button.  Thank you, SwiftKey!  This was one very important thing that you fixed.  However, after spending another couple of weeks making myself use only SwiftKey, I'm reluctantly switching back to Skype.

The fact is, I want to use SwiftKey.  It just still seems to do too many things that make no sense.  Today's example, I enter this in an email message:

"I was taken aback"

Swiftkey allowed me to type in the entire word, but apparently, it likes "snacks" better than "aback", so it put "snacks" as the center, and default, choice, in the middle button.  This is what will be put in the text of the message if I just press the space bar.  On either side of "snacks" was a button for "aback".  Now here's the thing.  I typed "aback".  I did NOT type "snacks".  (I would also reckon that in the English language "taken aback" appears far more often than "taken snacks").  So, even though I KNOW I typed the word correctly, it IS a word, and I am finished with it, I press space, and "snacks" is entered into my sentence.  Basically SwiftKey is putting itself in a position where I am forced to correct IT, even though I entered my word correctly.

Next sentence:

"I just have to be prepared to be flexible and bend to his will"

All went swimmingly until I hit "bend".  Same problem.  I type "bend", and SwiftKey puts "benefits" as the default choice.  "bend" is on the left, and NOT the default.  Bend is a valid word, it is correctly typed, and is complete.  But pressing space will nonetheless introduce an error.  Because I was working quickly, and I knew I'd typed what I wanted, SwiftKey basically INTRODUCED errors into my text, and I had to send two more emails afterwards saying "snacks should be aback" and "benefits" should be "bend".

Of course, I could turn off the option that makes 'space' select the middle option, but that means advancing a word means always choosing the correct word from a 3-button choice, even though I've typed it in and just want to move to the next sentence.  No one would disagree it's faster to always hit one button instead of being required to pick from three choices, particularly if you've already typed the complete word correctly!

Is SwiftKey Helping or hurting me here?

The other problem, which is hard to produce, but occurs frequently, is when you somehow get into a state where SwiftKey shows a word, but it's wrong, and you need to fix it, and it starts doubling.  This is the hardest thing to explain, but imagine seeing "Glass" in an editor window.  You meant to type "Glasses".  You back up, and because you backed up, it shows the word "glass" again, and then when you try to do anything, you somehow get "glassglass".  It's like SwiftKey doesn't realize that you are DONE entering the first word, and by trying in many different ways to move on with your life, it still thinks there's something to be inserted, and keeps doing so.  I want to scream STOP IT!!! at my text editor window.

So I've said before, and I'll say again, when SwiftKey guesses's awesome, but when it begins to arrogantly decide for you that you mean A when you typed B, even though B was spelled correctly and you want to move on with your life, well, that's when I have to switch back to a keyboard that doesn't think it's so smart.

SwiftKey has SOOO much potential, but they've got to address this nuisance.

And that's today's SwiftKey rant...

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