This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Stupid Gmail Spell-Checker

Although I am one of the world's champion spellers -- he said, modestly -- I always have my Gmail's spell-checker activated. This alerts me to typographical errors and... Okay, I admit it, even I have so-called trouble words, words I tend to screw up as a matter of course. (One example? "Embarrassed." Ever since I heard a character in the movie Echo Park -- he employed women who delivered Strip-o-Grams -- define it as "I'm bare-assed," I have this mental block which makes me want to spell it with a single "r.") Also, my computer keyboard doesn't always respond correctly to my striking of a double letter, so a word like "comment" might sneak by as "coment" if I don't correct it.

However, I may disable it just because it's becoming somewhat annoying lately.

Most of the time, of course, we're allowed to "train" it. If I'm told that "Jayne" or "Valleri" are incorrect spellings -- they're not, of course, I know women by both names, spelled exactly like that -- it's easy enough to "tell" the spell-checker to recognize the versions I want on a go-forward basis by clicking on "add to dictionary."

Sometimes it's totally useless. Let's say I actually couldn't spell a simple word, like... well... "word." Let's pretend I really think it ends with a "g," like so:

"Worg."

Gmail's spell-checker flags that one, of course, but these are the corrections it offers:

org
wog
w org (Whatever the hell that means!)
Borg (Yeah, no s**t, "Borg." Now why in the world... Oh, wait. Computer programmers. Star Trek. Silly of me.)

Just for giggles, I typed something else, went back to "worg," and tried it again, with slightly different results!

org
wog
Borg
wore
worn

You see my point, right? Neither time was I given the word I really needed.

Just for even more giggles -- yeah, I'm easily entertained today -- I typed in a few random letters: "rlrlt." (I actually get results like that when doing late-night typing in a room lit by only my computer monitor and an antique whale oil lamp. The other night, I typed what I thought was "Papillon," and got "{a[i;;on".)

In response to "rlrlt," I got "Charlton" and "Carlton," which I suppose was Gmail's way of saying, "Dude, we're as confused as you are on this one!"

But I digress.

Another annoying thing is that they haven't programmed it to recognize contractions! Every time I type in a word like "isn't" or "doesn't," the "isn" and the "doesn" are underlined in that palsied red eye-grabber that asks "Are you really sure about this one, dude?"

Yes, I'm sure, thank you very much.

And if that isn't enough, it picks stuff at random! Earlier today, I typed the word "something," and wouldn't you know it, there's that little red underscoring again. So I decided to check their suggestions of alternates, and it actually said, "no suggestions." Nice. They didn't have a specific objection to the word, but they just wanted to tick me off, apparently. Well, it worked.

At least it recognizes "Gmail" as a real word. If it didn't, that'd be more than a little embarrassing. But if you type "gmail" in error, it gives you the following choices:

mail
email
grail
g mail (Again, whatever the hell that means!)
gm ail (There's a weird one. "G.M. Ale" sounds like the auto company's branched out into the brewing of malt beverages.)

They okay another word that almost everyone on the planet screws up (in terms of upper and lower case), "eBay." But if you've mistakenly typed "Ebay" or "ebay," it won't include the correct replacement in its suggestions!

By the way, I love how we're supposed to pronounce "Gmail" as "gee-mail." Just to be a smartass -- yeah, me, who'da thunk it? -- I constantly pronounce "Kmart" as "k'mart" (like "come on" and "come here" are often abbreviated as "c'mon" and "c'mere."). And when those too dim to realize that I'm making a small joke correct me, I defensively reply, "Well, you pronounce S-M-A-R-T as 'smart,' don't you? You don't say, 'ess-mart!"

[looking at notes] Okay, I'm done. Thanks f--

What.

Nope, nothing funny to wrap this one up with.*

Hey, look, the sign says "David'Z RantZ." It does not say "David'Z RantZ, Always Guaranteed to Leave You Laughing."

So, what, you want your money back?

That's what I thought.

Thanks for your time.

*Hm. Maybe, in a post devoted to correct spelling, I shouldn't break the archaic grammatical rule about having a preposition at the end of the sentence.

I could say something awkward like "nothing funny up with which to wrap this one," but that owes too much to Winston Churchill.

Wait! I have it! A perfect way to re-structure my sentence to avoid the offensive prepositional ending:

"Nope, nothing funny to wrap this one up with... damnit."

What do you think? More better?


1 comment:

subtorp77 said...

Spell checker doesn't recognise slang or poetic spellings, either. Besides, I don' need no steenkeeng spell cheker!

Related Posts with Thumbnails