• Last modified 3149 days ago (Dec. 2, 2010)


Modern marvel not so marvelous with names

We humans are so lucky to have modern technology at our fingertips.

We have cars that tell us when to change the oil. We have bells and whistles that tell us when our clothes are washed. We have computers that sometimes are smarter than we are.

Yes, we have many wonderful aids.

The only catch is we have to be able to use them properly.

In the newspaper business, we have spell check — a wonderful invention. It highlights words or grammar that don’t match the catalog of words and phrases in the computer’s memory bank, of sorts.

We use spell check all the time. It’s just so wonderful — except when we humans click a wrong button.

You see, as part of spell check, the computer gives us words it thinks we meant to type when it doesn’t recognize a word, particularly names. For instance, the computer doesn’t recognize the last name of Jost. It wants to change it to Jots. As long as we don’t click on the button that changes it, the spelling of the name remains as typed.

Well, that didn’t happen this past week.

Our faithful correspondent, Arlene Pankratz, sent in her column as usual and it was typeset as usual. Unfortunately, when it came to checking for spelling errors, the wrong button was clicked. Instead of the column being attributed to Arlene Pankratz, it was attributed to Arlene Packrats.

We sincerely apologize to Arlene for the error and promise to do a better job when clicking through spell check.

— susan berg

Last modified Dec. 2, 2010