Just before New Years, I began writing an ‘end of the decade’ piece chronicling my frustration with the general lack of trustworthy sources of legitimate and reliable information in this digital age. I researched carefully, in order to accurately present both sides of conflicting arguments championed by intelligent and convincing spokespersons. I sweated the details so that my dilemma would be clear. Both sides can not be right, and finding the truth of a thing seems to be growing harder and harder as more and more information becomes available.
I wrote the post using a beautiful and innovative new word processor that fills the computer screen with a peaceful white snowscape, eliminating all distractions. It truly seemed to help me focus exclusively on the writing. The essay grew long, but I was happy with the way it was coming along.
On New Years day, I opened the file to finish it up.
The serene white winter scene filled the screen, the program’s pleasantly unobtrusive music began to play quietly and my story appeared before me. In Chinese.
Or Mandarin. Or Chinese (Simplified) or Chinese (Traditional) - other options I learned about from Google Translator where I later vainly attempted to return my writing to my mother tongue.
The software’s website did have a reference to this problem. “If you get gibberish (oops)” they offered glibly, you could “try” their “workaround”. It didn’t work. I’ve contacted tech support but I am not hopeful.