It’s official. Dads with obese thumbs can’t type on i-phomes.

May 14, 2013

Daughter Two was giving me the look.

The one that tells me I’m not performing at the level she expects.

As usual, it was followed by the giggle. When she stopped laughing, she set me straight. Again.

“Dad, why are your thumbs so fat? You’re making mistakes on every word.”

She was watching me trying to send messages on my new phone. And she was right. It wasn’t pretty.

Picture a baby hippo, penning an important note on the latest communication device. Letters being splayed left, right and sideways.

Incredibly, the phone tries to help. This amazing function called auto-correct. The tiny people inside pick up my mistakes before I’ve finished them, and suggest the correct word.

There’s only one problem. These mini-wordsmiths sometimes come up with words I don’t want. And when I’m messaging without my glasses on, which is often, I don’t always realise this.

There have been several near misses. No law suits just yet. It’s only a matter of time.

What my bulky digits do, is make the process of messaging longer than it needs to be. I am constantly fixing, and erasing.

I can’t walk and thumb-type. The girls find this a major embarrassment. If we’re at the shops, they’ll keep walking, pretending they don’t know me, when I stop mid-stride to make a reply.

It wasn’t always this difficult. I used a typewriter once. In the days of silent movies. Those two fingers served me well, as they do all these years later on the computer keyboard.

Before phones went mobile, I carried a pager. We all did. Mine worked perfectly across vast areas. Except inside the local RSL club. Try as they might, they couldn’t contact me in there. Must have been something in the walls.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for progress. The features on this new phone are mind-blowing. I’ve mentioned them on these pages before.

So if this amazing piece of technology can let me take video, and check the weather in Mt Isa, and play my favourite John Cash songs, why can’t it accommodate my fat thumbs?

There’s a challenge for you tech-whizzes out there. Design something for my kind. For your trouble, we’ll send you nice clean messages. Every time. I pronise.

Watching the races, in the palm of our hands. What will they think of next?

April 27, 2013

There was a time when punters crowded around the radio to listen to the races.

Such activity often took place in a pub. The public bar. Loud-mouths had to be told to shut it, as Ken Howard brought the field into the straight.

This was before tv, and the internet. A few years after dinosaurs stopped roaming.

I can remember listening to the daily double at the kitchen table. Mum would have had a dollar or two on her favourite jockeys of the time.

Miss a race, through an unexpected visit from a thoughtless relative, and you’d have to wait until the Sunday paper to get the result.

If I’d suggested to Mum that she could find the placings on Twitter, seconds after they crossed the line, she’d have scolded Dad for giving me sips from his large bottle.

Who would have thought things could change so much? From crackly transistor, to world racing in the palm of your hand.

I now have an i-phone. Yes, I’m the last person on the planet to have made the change. And what a change it is.

Multiple betting sites are a tap away. Anywhere in the world. They will take my money, with another tap.

What’s more, I can actually watch races live, on my phone. Sitting on the bus, or the ferry. Or the toilet. With a tap.

There they are, running around Randwick, or Doomben, or Hollywood Park, and I’m not missing a second. On the same device that I can talk to my girls on, and use as a torch. Yep, it does that too. Who thinks of this stuff?

I should add here, for the benefit of any media company financial officers who may have stumbled across these pages, that I will never actually use such a feature on the company phone. I am fully aware of the contract involved, and there is absolutely no need to check my records each month.

No wonder administrators are having trouble keeping up. This new breed of racing fan is so tech-savvy, they expect nothing but the best when it comes to accessing our sport.

And they have zero patience. Don’t give them what they want, and they’ll be gone. To the next smart sport, that provides better online ways to have a punt.

Sadly, I’m unable to offer any help. I’m struggling to make a phone call on the bloody thing. And I don’t know how to retrieve voice mail. Leave me a message, and I might get back to you next year.

But with any luck, I can watch them run around next time I’m at a school dance concert. Mum would be looking for that large bottle right about now.