Friday, August 29, 2008

The Cupertino effect

I didn't know that there was a name for it. From Wikipedia:

The Cupertino effect is the tendency of spellcheckers to replace a misspelling with a completely inappropriate word.
Better: "to suggest a completely inappropriate word to replace a misspelled word," as it's the user who makes the decision to replace or keep the word. (I just edited the article.)

Someone just added to my revision:
The Cupertino effect is the tendency of spellcheckers to suggest a completely inappropriate word to replace a misspelled word, or a correctly spelled word that is missing from the spellchecker's dictionary.
That's better still. I just went back to condense the sentence:
The Cupertino effect is the tendency of a spellchecker to suggest inappropriate words to replace misspelled words and words not in its dictionary.
The Cupertino effect explains the Appellation Mountains, among other mysteries.

comments: 3

Geo-B said...

For the publishing firm Farrar Straus and Giroux, my spell checker suggested:
Farrar--farther, further
Straus--stars, stairs
Giroux--jerk

Myabe they turned down his manuscript.

stefan said...

Geo-b; I once had a tightly wound student who e-mailed me frequently for what seemed to be obsessive-compulsive reasons and for whom the daily responsibilities of college life often appeared overwhelming. Sometimes you could literally see it on her face. My spellchecker routinely tagged her name (which I'll omit here) as misspelled and offered this alternative: agony!

Michael Leddy said...

Geo-B, I just tried FSG in AbiWord (Linux) and got Farra Strauss Giradoux, or Farrah Stratus Giro.

Stefan, I am trying to figure out what I have to type to find agony.