Ah, modern technology.

We would be lost without it, but sometimes it gets the better of us.

Technology is so advanced these days that we sometimes think the things we were taught years ago are completely antiquated.

Proofreading is a prime example. Remember when your teachers told you to make sure you proofread your paper before handing it in?

A mistake back then could cost you points on a test or maybe even a lower grade. A mistake today could be very embarrassing—or worse, especially when sending texts and emails or posting on social media.

Being a newspaperman, I learned a long time ago to proofread all my material because once a mistake gets into print, it is there forever.

We here at The Free Lance–Star have editors go over stories to try to catch any grammatical or spelling mistakes, because once one gets through, we hear about it. You might not catch your own mistake, but make no doubt about it, someone else will.

It is hard enough for a man with large fingers to navigate some of the smaller computer keyboards these days, but it is even harder to type on a cellphone. If you are not careful and you don’t proofread you can throw some interesting texts out there.

When Christopher Sholes designed the typewriter keyboard in the 1870s, he could not have imagined messages originating on a cellphone (the telephone had not yet been invented) and being shoved around in cyberspace.

If he had, he would not have made the “i” and the “o” next to each other, because those who write messages don’t always hit the right button. And if the writer doesn’t proofread, well … .

Once when a friend killed a big deer, I decided to let the world know about it so I posted, “Johnny shot a nice buck this morning.” Well, you guessed it. When I got to the word “shot,” my finger hit the “i” instead of the “o” and I didn’t proofread before I hit “post.”

It took me a long time to live that one down, and the mistake taught me to never hit that “send” button without proofreading.

But hitting the right key is not always the problem. There is auto-correct, and it can get you into real trouble.

If you race through a text and misspell a word here and there, the computer changes them to what if feels they should be. Some of those changes can create really embarrassing sentences.

A friend had a relative in the hospital having surgery and he wanted to send her best wishes. So he wrote to her family, his intent being to say, “I hope she does okay.”

Unfortunately, he misspelled a couple of words, including “does” and when auto-correct was finished the text, which he did not proofread before he sent it, came out “I hope she dies.”

Once sent, he happened to look at the text and was horrified. He then, of course, had to send multiple texts to explain what happened. This is a true story, so be careful and make sure you proofread.

Technology has also invaded a local supermarket. I was shopping at Martin’s a few weeks ago when I turned to find a six-and-a-half foot robot staring at me.

Why does a supermarket need a Frankenstein-like robot walking the aisles? I have no idea. But there it was.

What was I supposed to do, talk to it? Say, “hello, good afternoon?” The thing caught me off guard and I didn’t know how to act.

I decided to play with it, so I got in front of the monster when it attempted to move on. Then, every time it would turn to get away, I would also turn and step back in front of it. The thing didn’t know what to do.

After a couple minutes of this technological torture, I stood back and allowed the robot to go about its business, whatever that was.

Big supermarket monsters and tiny keyboards. You’ve got to keep your guard up because modern technology will bite you if you’re not careful.

Ain’t life in the 21st century interesting?

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Donnie Johnston:


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