Friday, December 26, 2008

 

A Spell Checker Story

I forget where I saw this, but it's a good story.

I once worked at a company run by a Canadian guy who would go ballistic every time a document with misspellings or grammatical errors hit his desk. The offending author was subject to excoriating humiliation during international webcasts, conference calls and meetings.

The President's 2nd-in-command was a man (weasel, actually) best described as "a man Will Rogers never met". One afternoon The Weasel went on vacation, but left his unguarded laptop logged-in and unsecured on a conference table. I spent over an hour adding all sorts of common spelling mistakes to his computer's spell-checker dictionary. A cat could have tap danced its way across the keyboard and the spell checker would not have flagged any errors.

I really enjoyed watching The Weasel get berated over the next few months for his error-prone reports. Why he continued to trust the spell checker even after it consistently let him down is beyond me.

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