Monday, June 16, 2008

The Trouble with Spell-Check

We've written before about a 1990s-era spell-checker recommending "Sodomy Hussy" as an alternative to Saddam Hussein.

Now, apparently, Hotmail recommends "Osama" as an alternative to "Obama." Sigh...We hope by now that people know not to accept all suggestions the software makes. It's software; you have a much more discerning brain.

The real reason we're posting this, though, is the hideous mixed metaphor below. Opening a can of worms the Obama campaign wants to stamp out? Since when does stamping get rid of worms? That's a fine way to make worm pudding on the sidewalk, which is just gross. We'd much rather eat stud pie. (See below. And, sorry for that.)

Hotmail spell-check associates Obama with Osama
HOTMAIL GLITCH Dictionary offers 'Osama' as alternate word
June 15, 2008

BY BOB VON STERNBERG Minneapolis Star Tribune

For months, Barack Obama's campaign has repeatedly, and not always successfully, tried to swat away references to Barack "Osama," the mutating of the candidate's name into the similar-sounding moniker of the world's most-wanted terrorist.

Some of the mix-ups have been made accidentally (as when Sen. Ted Kennedy did it). Some have been made maliciously by Obama's critics (as when Rush Limbaugh did it).

One mix-up, with potentially vast effect, apparently belongs to the unintentional category and gained wide currency this week: The spell-checker in Microsoft's Hotmail e-mail software recommends that users replace the word "Obama" with "Osama."

The glitch, which a Microsoft spokeswoman said the company is trying to fix, was brought to light this week by Minnesota political adman Bill Hillsman, who said the e-mail wrinkle "opens a whole can of worms again that the Obama campaign desperately wants to stamp out."

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