Maybe I’m looking for love in all the wrong places. When I first read about WhiteSmoke Writer T-Gen, I was excited. Here is a text checker that exceeds the capabilities of my word processing program. However, my PC became funky after installing Writer T-Gen. That’s funky as in “send me a technician NOW!” Since PCs are such complicated things, I’m giving Writer T-Gen the benefit of the doubt and saying that the PC‘s strange behavior is coincidental to the installation of Writer T-Gen, and not a complementary virus included with the demo.
“T-Gen” is shortened “Text Genome,” which WhiteSmoke claims to have cracked. Based on the way people write, errors made, and correct grammar, T-Gen is allegedly the ultimate spelling and grammar checker. It will also translate from one language to another; now I know that “meerrettich” is German for "horseradish" (hey, it was the first word that popped into my head when I was testing the translator). My favorite feature is that it checks for words that are used repetitiously (not common ones like “an” and “the”); that can be a problem when I am editing a particular sentence without evaluating its context. Who wants to put “phenomenally” in three consecutive sentences?
Writer T-Gen proofreads text in a variety of situations, including e-mail. It suggests corrections for spelling and grammar, although it operates in a more formal world of grammar than I’ve entered and sometimes makes suggestions that are laughably ungrammatical (Word makes similar suggestions). It counts words and sentences and arrives at an average word per sentence statistic. It also reports the percentages of passive verbs, negative sentences, informal expressions, and complex words. This paragraph, for example, contains 15% complex words and produced no alerts for correction. I received a score of nine out of ten, “very good” on the WhiteSmoke Writing Index for this passage, and was advised to use simpler words to improve readability.
In addition to its checking and translating functions, Writer T-Gen also includes a generous collection of templates for social and business correspondence. They cover many situations and are perfect when you need a jump-start to clear away the fog. I wouldn’t advise using them verbatim, since I wouldn’t want to be on the receiving end of 20 sympathy notes that say the exact same thing. Actually, I don’t want to be on the receiving end of any sympathy notes. Nor do I wish to be the subject of any.
Since this is such an advanced proofreading tool (they’ve cracked the text genome!), I paused to wonder when I discovered a typo on one of the first installation pages. Not a good sign. When I began working with the program, I had a few questions (apparently not frequently asked) that I referred to White Smoke. Since I was only allowed a seven-day preview, I needed to get the information quickly. It’s been five days with no response. Today is my seventh day with the product…tick…tick…tick…