vendredi 5 août 2011

An A to Z of Life in France

My computer doesn’t understand me

My computer doesn’t understand me. According to everything I’ve read, the ads and recommendations that pop up when you’re surfing the net are supposed to reflect you: your browsing and buying history and the profile the machine has built up about you.

I’ll give it the on-line shoe stores and even the anti-wrinkle cream ads that have started to appear since my last birthday. But I’m worried that it thinks I need an English-speaking rehab centre in Spain to help me deal with drink and drug problems.

Amazon is forever urging me to buy a Berlitz guide to Norway. I once went on a business trip to Stavanger, but that’s about the only connection I have to the country. Although I’m sure it’s well worth a visit, I’ve no plans to head there in the near future. Neither, despite Orange continually thrusting hotels in Budapest at me, does Hungary feature in my travel plans. Facebook, on the other hand, thinks I should go to Barcelona. Is that before or after rehab?

Now, the computer seems to have taken it upon itself to translate bits of anything it can find from French to English, even if it was in English to begin with (if you follow that). So a friend with the surname of Dormer has become Dorsea (mer in French = sea); and I was somewhat puzzled when informed I had an email from John Lewis, never having shopped there online. Actually, it was a friend called Jean (female) and the computer decided as Jean is the French for John, that’s what she should become. Then I started seeing the word Cat pop up on Facebook. Simple, once you get the hang of it: Facebook was offering me the chance to ‘chat’ with my friends, ‘chat’ is the French for ‘cat’, so that’s what I ended up with. Fancy a cat anyone?

The other day I decided to do some research involving the beautiful French island of Reunion. We went there on holiday a few years ago and wondered about going again. It proved fairly elusive until I found it under Meeting.

But perhaps the most puzzling are the emails from a company called Becquet about an elusive order. The computer insists they are from ‘Spoiler’. That one I haven’t yet worked out.

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