Wednesday, April 26, 2006

What's the Opposite of Recognition?

I'm honestly not sure what single word could be the antonym of recognition, as in "voice recognition". Why am I fixated on such an important issue when there are bigger and better things to post about? Because I wanted to rant about my cell phone and it's voice recognition feature and I can't do the rant properly without this information. I even went to and used the thesaurus feature. No luck. There are antonyms for recognition, but not in this context. And as we all know, context is king. Or something. Do I make up a word? Let's break it down. "Re" is a prefix typically meaning "again" and the root word "cognition" evokes "thinking". So, re-cognition would literally be to think again. Did anyone else just have a Michael Keaton "Night Shift" moment? I'm so off track here. Let's just go with discognition and an apology from the fine folks at BriWise for an inadequate rant...

Wouldn't it be funny if you clicked and the whole rant was "my voice recognition doesn't"? And that was it? All that buildup for nothing? You'd feel cheated, and we don't want that.

So, in case you hadn't heard, my cell phone has a voice recognition feature. This is not the kind where you record the name and it matches when you say it that way ever after. This phone matches what you say phonetically to the names in your phone book. It's good for hands free car dialing. Or it would be if it worked better. Oh, it works great if I want to call, assuming I knew a Bob Kidd. But trying getting it to recognize Arnold Schwarzenegger. (What? Like I couldn't call the Governator?) So, I have to learn how to say things so the phone will understand. Great. Instead of me training the phone, the phone is training me. This is better how? So, now I have to say names in odd ways. Typically in public. The entry "Bube & Zade" in my phone has to be pronounced "Boob Zehyd". It isn't smart enough to translate the ampersand as 'and'.

All this is annoying, but still manageable as it is a form of recognition. What vexes me is the command recognition. There are only a handful of commands, so it shouldn't be hard. Of course, many things shouldn't be, but are. The most common command is "Name Dial". It even displays that command on the phone screen as soon as you press the command button. And yet, when I say "Name Dial", no matter how slowly or clearly, it says "Calling." Who is it calling? Why the last person I called of course. It thought I said "Redial". It thinks this consistently. Even if I insert a two-to-three second pause between name and dial, it will still redial. And of course, there is no command for "disconnect" or "hang up". So, I have to grab the phone and press and hold a hard-to-press button on the outside phone before it makes the connection. Occasionally, I miss and hang up on someone just as they are saying hello. Then they call back and I have to explain that I am incapable of operating my phone. All of this defeats the point of going hands free.

And yet, fool that I am, I keep pressing the button and saying "Name Dial". Often, I say it like those cliched people trying to communicate with someone who doesn't speak English. If I say name dial loudly and slowly enough, surely my phone will understand. One day, I had to punch in a number for a conference call. It was not in my phone, so it had no associated name. I needed to make the call from my car, though. So, clever person that I am, I dialed manually and hung up. Then I could just tell the phone to redial when I was ready. I pressed the button and announced "Redial". I'm sure I detected a smirk in the mechanized voice as it said "Say the Name".

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