Achievement unlocked. Collarbones

 (dictated in four different systems with minor punctuation fixups, hence the confused case of all the words and a bit of a disjointed feel. some of the worst transcription errors have been fixed by one-handed typing, but a lot left in to show the tools' awfulness. Ive also added some Opinions About how bad speech recognition is.)

As of Thursday afternoon.I now possess.4 collarbones. or one collarbone in four pieces if you look at it that way.

This was not intentional.And for the curious desn't actually hurt, provided I don't actually move it at all. But.I am on the high quality drugs The NHS provided for me. Something with.Codeine in. 

I had set off for a.End of Autumn mountain bike ride on a sunny but cool day.And had made it over the bridge.2.The Ashton Court park.I Have ridden., many, many times. 

[Side note.I tried dictating this.ThroughGoogle document speech recognition.Full stop.Period. Period.I think I will give a talk next year on the sheer awfulness of the different speech recognition.Systems built into Mac, Windows and.Google.Office.And how?They let down.Anybody?Who cannot actually use a keyboard?The only one.That is vaguely usable.Is.Mac OS offline voice recognition.HyphenBut that still has many flaws.Including.Its use of proper nouns.And the fact that the product is really.Unmaintained. Everyones R&D budget.Is clearly being spent on online speech recognition.With a focus on phones.And short text messages.Full stop.She's where punctuation and correcting what you have typed.Ah.Not considered important .]

[update: google docs  speech recognition has just stopped working. im using my windows laptop as a tablet with the on screen keyboard. I'm trying Windows dictation, or, as the product should be known, "Microsoft Something went wrong -try again in a little while"]

returning to why i cannot use a mechanical keyboard, strava shows the end of my journey.

 i swung off the road, through the gap in the railings and onto the trail, as i have done many times before  except this time,I find myself launched into the air with the bicycle. 

I have no idea what went wrong  this wasn't a sideways front wheel slide out, more the kind of forward launch you'd do if you went over a 50cm+ dropoff without keeping your weight back  Except that there was no dropoff. Maybe I just wasn't holding on to the bars tightly enough for the transition from tarmac to trail and the front wheel just twisted enough to trigger the Physics Event

strava says i was doing 20 kmh, so 72 kg of cyclist, 13 kg of steel hardtail MTB and a few kg of baggage makes for ~. 1400 Joules of kinetic energy.  The specific heat capacity of the human body is 3.5 J/g, 

Its a definite design failure of humans that we cannot disperse that excess energy bye converting it into heat. If we could I'd have been 0.005 Kelvins warmer 

I would have waited a few seconds to cool down before heading on my way. Sadly, we don't work like that, the energy has just moved bits of my interior around. 

I sit up while some people nearby run over to make sure I'm OK. It was clearly dramatic. I feel a bit bashed but no pain. However the general rule for mountain bike related crashes is.: sit down and wait for the adrenaline wave to pass and then you can actually assess how injured you are. 

This time while I wait for that wave to pass I do actually feel under my jacket to see what my chest is like and where I normally have a collar bone I can feel some things moving under my skin. This is not good. 

I've never actually broken anything before in my life. I have a far number of dents bruises scars and other bits of damage collected over the years. I haven't been able to run since 2007 on account of tendon damage on my left leg. And the back of my right leg has a set of scars the exact same shape and radius as a chainring. But never breakage. At least here I'm only a couple of miles away from home. I had initially considered just walking back pushing the bike but given the state of those bones that's not gonna happen.

 Phone up my wife who is at home waiting for a replacement dishwasher to be delivered. It's not arrived yet and the status update implies it is at least half an hour away. This gives her enough time to drive over collect me and bring me home. The crash's  audience- a couple visiting Bristol- stay around with me until then and help load the bicycle. Then it's home and onto accident and emergency. 

The drive home is fine except every time we go over a bump it hurts. Anyone who knows Bristol will appreciate it's going to hurt quite a lot on account of the roads are slowly dissolving into a state which archaeologists wouldn't consider up to standard of Neolithic hunting trails. I realise I made a mistake here. We have a first aid kit in the car and i should have put my arm in a sling and i should have put my arm in a sling straightaway. not for the drive but because you need to factor in the time you'll be sitting in the hospital. .

(that section, repetitions included but not the maths, was dictated using Microsoft "something went wrong" . I worked out that even though Google docs and visual studio don't take dictation (why not?) Notepad does. So I can dictate into notepad for a while Then copy and paste It into Google Docs. Just like all the other server side NLP-as-a-service product you can only dictate for a short period of time before it makes a beeping sound and stops then you have to press a key to start it again. That's a really great idea isn't it? To add a product to help people with accessibility issues interact with your computer by having to press windows+ H *simultaneously* on the keyboard every 30 seconds to say "no I still don't have the ability to use a keyboard"? what product manager felt that was acceptable?

but, it suddenly switched to a "let's go back and overwrite everything you've just typed mode" and I could not get out of it. I do not want to bring up window services manager and start killing things just to see if that makes a difference or reboot the system. After all, if it is the servers that are sending the wrong instructions back to the OS it's not going to make any difference whatsoever.

I've switched to an iPad.

iOS speech recognition is another "speech misunderstanding as a service" Product . When I do get round to giving that talk about the mediocrity of online speech recognition services, I will cite Apple products as an example of unconscious class bias in speech recognition based on datasets skewed to your existing customer base.

As long as I put on a measured middle-class southern English accent "smug NW3 postcode mode" it seems to understand what i say. Use my default accent, "Excited NW6" and it gets less reliable. I fear for anyone with a strong Glasgow or Liverpool accent trying to get Siri to do anything. 

down to A&E. 10 minutes walk; less bumpy than a drive. For Americans, A&E is a bit like ER only less expensive. you don't even get asked for credit card and ID before they let you sit down. 

You also get a broad view of a diverse city with the selection bias that everybody in there has a health issue they consider urgent. I'm sitting one seat away from a Somali woman who alternates between talking on the phone to weeping quietly. She says she doesn't need any help. Nearby a French-speaking father and son await attention; the son's foot does not point the correct way out of a leg. And while I wait the police wheel in someone wearing those white paper oversuits they always showing police dramas when the forensic team are trying to work out how someone died. Trivia: plastic bags they were on their feet have flat soles So they don't leave footprints. Judging by the way the patient's leg is held out they may not deliver much traction. I do wish however that more of the people in the room would wear face masks, and of those that do, it's time they should've learned how they work and that they need to cover the nose. I am glad I had my third booster shot a few weeks ago.

after an hour sitting in the chair with my arm slumped down by my side I am invited in for assessment by a nurse. Before looking at the shoulder she looks for any other injuries discusses whether I banged my head how does my neck feel can I turn it et cetera et cetera all good. What about your shoulder pain she asks on a scale of one to 10? 2 to 3 as long as I don't move it I reply. she touches the collarbone. As tears spontaneously come out of my eyes I say "that's a bit more. "She agrees I'll be needing an x-ray and sending me off to a different waiting room. 

One thing I've learned from a couple of other visits to the hospital is that it is good to have a bag with things that are useful. Phone charger for example, something to read and epilepsy medicines. This time I've brought a short sleeved shirt which buttons up at the front. Will be needing that soon. the X-ray waiting area is nearly empty. Signs up around the room are addressed to victims of domestic violence and giving them phone numbers to call for help. That's not a good sign of how some adults end up in that part of the hospital. In the kids x-ray section it's all about why you should be more careful on trampolines… though by that time it's a bit late. 

in the x-ray room they help me get my outer jacket off, then they cut off the inner cycling top completely to put it off easily. they did offer to see if we can get it off unscathed but I lack the sentimentality to want to hurt myself quite that much. Then I get to participate in the second major physics event of the day. This time I'm the target of a low-luminosity beam of photons in the 5-10 KeV range while the radiologist runs to a safe distance -as they should. 

back in the main waiting room now wearing a gown. Someone comes in screaming about brickwork in their eyeball. They get priority, While the rest of us make a mental note About the value of safety glasses

I sit around another half hour before I'm pulled in for my results. "you have broken your collarbone -but it looks like it will heal without any intervention which is good because there is not much intervention we can do". I put my replacement shirt on and I'm given a sling and some quality prescription painkillers. I go home, have some food and something to drink – I was so thirsty but in case I was going in for surgery I hadn't drunk anything since the crash.

Up into the living room where we pack cushions around me until I'm in a comfortable position. This is pretty much where I'm staying right now; I've been sleeping here too. 

apparently the first few days are the most painful, I am trying to move very carefully and not to use that arm at all. Provided I take the painkillers every few hours and don't use the arm it is mostly okay. I would really like to drink a beer but the prescription forbids it. oh well, sometimes you have to prioritise. 

now what? Well, I don't have any follow-up visits with the hospital arranged. I stuck my x-ray photo up on the orange riders Facebook group and got feedback from all the other people that have done similar things. It splits between " I did that and I was back on my bike within six weeks" and "look at the pins they've stuck in my bone after things didn't get any better after eight weeks. They go beep through an airport metal detector and it hurts in the cold". currently I'm hoping for the heal on their own outcome.

The fact that I can't type and that speech recognition across all the various platforms is so awful it's going to complicate my life for the next couple of weeks. I won't be coding, I can do some code reviews and I've been collaborating with a colleague on a big backport exercise which we can do together over zoom. 

(update: iOS dictation suddenly went into this weird mode there where it kept re-typing and then going back and re-typing the same sentence again and again until I tapped the stop dictating button. One good feature of Amazon Alexa as you can look at the voice history on the application and mark up which ones were in fact completely wrong. I don't see any mechanism of doing that with any of the other tools – and without that there is no way for the system to actually train on what is the usability experience of individuals. Yes you may be able to rely on deep aggregate data of all your users, but without the feedback loop to say "this sentence is wrong", I don't see how you can actually improve the experience -or even assess how well your product is actually working.)

To close then: it's a pretty painful end to 2021 but I'm looking forward to 2022. 

(Meanwhile I have to try and get any of these speech recognition disasters to work. Apple Mac off-line dictationOn a laptop with sticky keys enabledIs my goal.This is the one I'm using right nowThe one which isn't putting spaces between sentencesAnd assumes any pause for more than a few seconds constitutesAn end of the sentence.Like I saidNo product manager of any these products should be proud of what they've achievedIn terms of accessibility.)

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