Thursday, April 30, 2009

Go With What You Know

As a trainer, I've noticed something I'll call computer infallibility. In other words, if the computer says it is right, it must be right - regardless of what you might know to the contrary. A student in one of my Microsoft Word classes once tried to tell me that my name was spelled wrong because the spellchecker said so! I assured him that George and Bettye Beach wanted my name spelled that way. Karyn - the 'y' is there for a reason!

The spellchecker can be a great tool but it's not perfect. And, as far as grammar? The grammar check is wrong as much as it is right (if not more). Yet and still, people have become convinced that if the computer says it, it must be true. Too many times, we rely on what a computer, or a professional using a computer says, instead of using our own common sense and logic.

Case in point, when I started looking for a house last year, I went to a mortgage broker to get pre-approved. She approved me for over $200k. WOW! The computer came up with that number, but when I crunched my own numbers, the amount I could afford was a lot less. So, which numbers did I go with?

Mine. When the realtor asked me how much I got approved for, I didn't even bother to tell him. I told him how much I could afford, based on my numbers. The computer might look at my rent and credit history, but it's not looking at the full picture. Had I gone with their numbers, I would have been in foreclosure by January - and I bought the house in September!

Basically, listening to experts and computers can be helpful, but you are your own best expert! Don't turn off your brain and your reasoning ability just because a computer or someone sitting in a suit behind a desk says so. Trust your own logic. Trust your own intuition.

It's easy to be intimidated by technology and experts; but you still have to think - especially if your health, your money or your time is on the line. Do not be afraid to ask questions or ask for clarification. The saying in training is that "there are no stupid questions." If you need to ask, ask.

In fact, you have to think and be assertive. Don't be afraid to say no or say that you need to wait and make a decision later. If you can't afford it, say so. If you don't have the time, make that clear. You are the expert about your situation. You know what is on your schedule. You know how much money is in your account. You know what obligations you have to fulfill. You are the one who will have to face the consequences.

No one will protect you or have your back quite as well as you do.


Ghotit said...

Spell checker for dyslexics by dyslexics:

Ghotit super spell checker assistive technology was developed by people that have dyslexia and who are coping with their dyslexia every day. For over a decade, the founder of Ghotit had a vision of the "ideal" writing assistant tool for people with dyslexia that if made available, will dramatically improve their writing abilities.
The benefits of regular spell checkers are limited for people with dyslexia. Your spelling has to be very, very close in order to get corrected spelling. Ghotit super spellchecker is aimed at dyslectics and includes the following unique capabilities:
1. "Outrageous" spelling mistakes are captured and corrected
2. Advanced context-sensitive spelling algorithms are applied, pointing to out out-of-context (but correctly spelled) words.
3. Definitions and sentences are offered to help choose the correct word
4. Integrated text to speech service is included so that you can confirm that what is written is the exact text you intended to communicate.
Ghotit offers a high performance super spell checker, enabling people with dyslexia to dramatically improve and gain confidence in their writing.
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A new Ghotit review

Karyn Beach said...

Okay, Ghotit, thanks for that wonderfully detailed description of your spellcheck product! Sounds good. However, even with an impeccable spellchecker, we still have to learn to rely on our knowledge and instincts and stop the knee-jerk, "The computer is always right" reaction.