Exhibit 19.9

Adventures in Automatic Spelling Correction

So it's not uncommon to have MS Word correct the spelling of something I'm writing and guess the wrong word. This happens for several reasons:

1) I am a poor speller
2) Really bad when writing fast
3) So bad that I'm often times far enough off that the anthropomorphic Paperclip or whomever just throws up his hands and says, "I don't know, screw it, let's just assume he wanted TMNT 2: The Arcade Game."

This is fine as most of the time I do, in fact, want TMNT 2: The Arcade Game.

But last night's spelling correction was unprecedented. Not only did the program guess wrong, but it was so far off as to leave me running to my dictionary to find out the definition of the word it corrected to. Keep in mind, this isn't spelling being suggested, this is spelling it is automatically correcting as I type, presumably because these errors or so common that the program can say fairly certainly what the writer intends ('teh' becomes 'the,' for instance).

In this case, it corrected my misspelling of seeing (I believe in my typing haste I threw out 'seinng') to the word 'seining.' Now, maybe it's just because I've lived a life that's been delightfully landlocked--full of corn detasseling and talk of four-wheelers--but I had no idea what this word meant. Maybe--and that's a pretty soft maybe--I would have known this word's more common noun form, but as it was I was quite confused.

(Being much smarter than me, you probably already know that 'seining' is fishing done with a seine and a seine is a large net that goes into the water vertically then gets drawn up and together. Please feel free to tell me whether or not I should have known this. In return, I'll tell you whether or not you should be able to diagram the triple option offense).

Seining doesn't even seem to be the preferred term for seine fishing. The only explanation for this is that someone at Microsoft must have a father who's a North Atlantic fisherman. Otherwise, I have a hard time believing anyone ever uses the word 'seining' outside the following sentences:

1. Are you seining I can't catch any fish? Get it, Larry? See, it was a joke for North Atlantic fishermen like Silas Ballmer.
2. What does 'seining' mean? I should totally write a blog post about this that goes on for far too long.

You'll be happy to know that this change actually made my work better. Now in the middle of an otherwise normal conversation, two characters get to have this exchange:

Harold: Sorry about the blindness.
Phil: Guess I want be seining the cherry blossoms again after all.
Harold: What does seining mean? I should totally write a blog post about this that goes on for far too long.
Phil: Can you walk me home first?


Dusty said...

I had no idea was seining was. But I can sketch a diagram of the triple option. It looks kind of like a jack-o-lantern. A jack-o-lantern on yer momma's big big shoulders.

jimStock said...

If you dropped your quarters in and didn't choose Raphael, you are in for an expensive afternoon.

julee said...

I'll have you know that the only seining I've done was just north of North Platte when I was fourteen.