back to article User fired IT support company for a 'typo' that was actually a real word

Welcome once more to On-Call, The Register’s weekly reader-contributed story of tech support trauma. On-Call dipped into its mailbag in the hope of finding an Easter story, but found a cracking Christmas story sent by chap named “Peter”. “An irate customer called me on Christmas Eve, incandescent that a letter had gone to a …

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  1. tfewster Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "Mangler" is also a real word and can usually be substituted for "Manager"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      If you get a bit twitchy ....

      Orthinology - word botching. Be sure to allow it in your spillchucking dictionary.

      1. apepper

        Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

        Humphrey Littleton was interviewed once and was asked, "I understand you're keen on pornithology?"

        When he was driving home, he realised he should have replied - "I'm more of a word-botcher"

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

          Mangelwurzel.

        2. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

          There's a French version of this. A French bird watcher was asked how he kept the records of all the birds he'd seen. As he was rather proud of being up to date he meant to say "Sur mon ordinateur" (computer) but actually said "Ornidateur".

          Which was a happy accident because "Ornidateur" consists of the greek root "orni-" (about birds) and "dateur", which would be a French machine for storing data.

          Also, the version of the Humphrey Littleton story I heard was that the question he was asked was "Are you something of an orthinologist, thus his later realising that he should have said "No, I'm not a word botcher."

        3. Goopy

          Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

          And no one thought to question the use of the word "incandescent"?

        4. Tom Paine Silver badge

          Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

          I was remembering that exact same anecdote. Humph told it perfectly (of course) with timing and pauses and intonation that's all lost by writing it down. Sadly missed

          1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

            Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

            "Humph told it perfectly (of course) with timing and pauses and intonation that's all lost by writing it down. Sadly missed"

            OT but I remember getting tickets for one of his music programmes. His warm up was far better than the broadcast.

        5. Scott 29
          Coat

          Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

          That one flew way over my head.

      2. NBCanuck

        Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

        "Orthinology - word botching. Be sure to allow it in your spillchucking dictionary."

        My internal spell-checker (brain) misread that as "Ornithology".

        People are over reliant on spell-checkers. I always re-read important emails before they go out. Sometimes my brain thinks one word but gets overwritten by muscle memory into similar other words. Not that I am an incredibly fast typist, it's just that my fingers sometimes seem to be trying to predict what I want to type before I compete the thought.

      3. Dyspeptic Curmudgeon

        Re: If you get a bit twitchy ....

        I saw what you did there!

        Veddy British wot? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Google's GBoard accepts Mangle* immediately, but if I type Mange (an undesirable canine condition I believe, but then I'm not a Venetian**) and then space without pausing it substitutes Manage.

      *"We haven't laughed that much since... aunty Mabel caught her left tit in the mangle." Though I believe with modern spin driers the word Mangle is more commonly used as a verb these days.

      ** Or a vetinarian.

      1. jake Silver badge

        One of my spall chuckers ...

        ... insists that Trump's wife's name is Melatonin. Fitting, methinks.

        1. Tomato42 Silver badge

          Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

          > ... insists that Trump's wife's name is Melatonin. Fitting, methinks.

          that's weird, I'd assume that the Levenshtein distance from "Ivanka" would be greater

        2. Empty1
          Coat

          Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

          Eye halve a spelling chequer

          It came with my pea sea

          It plainly marques four my revue

          Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

          Eye strike a quay and type a word

          And weight four it two say

          Weather eye am wrong oar write

          It shows me strait a weigh.

          As soon as a mist ache is maid

          It nose bee fore two long

          And eye can put the error rite

          Its really ever wrong.

          Eye have run this poem threw it

          I am shore your pleased two no

          Its letter perfect in it's weigh

          My chequer tolled me sew.

          (Sauce unknown)

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

            (Sauce knot unknown ... and the hole thing.)

            Owed to a Spell Checker (AKA "Candidate for a Pullet Surprise")

            I have a spelling checker,

            It came with my PC.

            It plane lee marks four my revue

            Miss steaks aye can knot sea.

            Eye ran this poem threw it,

            Your sure reel glad two no.

            Its vary polished in it's weigh.

            My checker tolled me sew.

            A checker is a bless sing,

            It freeze yew lodes of thyme.

            It helps me right awl stiles two reed,

            And aides me when eye rime.

            Each frays come posed up on my screen

            Eye trussed too bee a joule.

            The checker pours o'er every word

            To cheque sum spelling rule.

            Bee fore a veiling checker's

            Hour spelling mite decline,

            And if we're lacks oar have a laps,

            We wood bee maid too wine.

            Butt now bee cause my spelling

            Is checked with such grate flare,

            Their are know fault's with in my cite,

            Of nun eye am a wear.

            Now spelling does knot phase me,

            It does knot bring a tier.

            My pay purrs awl due glad den

            With wrapped word's fare as hear.

            To rite with care is quite a feet

            Of witch won should bee proud,

            And wee mussed dew the best wee can,

            Sew flaw's are knot aloud.

            Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays

            Such soft wear four pea seas,

            And why eye brake in two averse

            Buy righting want too pleas.

            -Mark Eckman and Jerrold H. Zar, early 1990s

        3. Amos1

          Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

          Spull Chucker on my Android actually got it correct once. I was writing "St. Patty's Day" and it changed it to "St. Party's Day"

          1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

            Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

            Your first mistake is thinking there is a worthwhile date worth celebrating called "St. Patricia's Day" or "St. Burger's Day". No wonder your Speel Chuckler was trying to change it: Paddy not Patty

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

              Your first mistake is thinking there is a worthwhile date worth celebrating called "St. Patricia's Day"

              There is, you get to eat all the Neapolitan you want.

          2. Bob Magoo

            Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

            That's what you get for misspelling St Paddy's Day in the first place.

        4. Someone Else Silver badge

          Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

          I thought it was Melanoma....

          1. techdead

            Re: One of my spall chuckers ...

            nah, it's Malaria

      2. Ralph the Wonder Llama
        Joke

        Is that how you spell...

        ...veterinarian?

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Is that how you spell...

          Looking to get tutored, Ralph? My Vet does Llamas ...

          1. Tom 38 Silver badge

            Re: Is that how you spell...

            Looking to get tutored, Ralph? My Vet does Llamas ...

            Thats probably not something he wants broadcasted..

          2. Chemical Bob Bronze badge
            Facepalm

            Re: My Vet does Llamas ...

            My vet did a llama once. Then he suddenly had to move to Belize...

          3. cortland

            Re: Is that how you spell...

            Fernando Llamas?

        2. stuartnz

          Re: Is that how you spell...

          The reference to Venetians made me think "vetinarian" was a nod to my second-favourite Pratchett character, Lord Vetinari :)

      3. JimboSmith Silver badge

        My boss at the time had written a letter to someone saying that we were ending our relationship with them. The letter was passed to a lawyer for checking that it was airtight and the other person would be able to have nothing more to do with us. Boss was mildly annoyed that the letter had come back with spelling (and grammar) corrections. I pointed out that for the money we were paying it was good that all the autocorrect misspellings had been fixed..What was funny was after the letter was delivered to the recipient the boss received a call immediately. They were pleading for the relationship not to be dissolved and promising to improve things but by then it was too late, way too late.

      4. Mine's a Large One
        Pint

        Have a beer for the Derek & Clive reference!!

        1. Mooseman Bronze badge

          @ Mine's a large one

          jump, you ****er, jump....

          A classic.

          :)

      5. PhilipN Silver badge

        Dudley Moore reference

        UV.

        Wonder how many people these days have a clue what a mangle is (was). Joke may be lost on ‘em.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dudley Moore reference

          Not many, which is why so many people get their tit caught in a wringer.

      6. OrneryRedGuy

        Really? What war were you in?

      7. Someone Else Silver badge

        @Dave 126

        Thank you for your service....

      8. John Crisp

        * For we are miserable sinners...

        Appropriate for Easter?

        https://youtu.be/_ZEEgIti8sM

        The old ones are always the best :-)

    3. Anomalous Cowshed

      "Mangler"

      Manager >> Manger >> Pig at trough?

      1. Commswonk Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: "Mangler"

        Manager >> Manger >> Pig at trough?

        Surely any ambiguity between "manger" and "manager" can be resolved with a Crib Sheet.

        Mine's the one with the straw in the pocket...

  2. John H Woods Silver badge

    I thought I'd seen it all with awkward customers but this prospective buyer of a blanket takes some beating.

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
      Pint

      Now that takes some beating! Lovely reading, and I'm glad the seller stood his ground and told the buyer off.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      Haha!

      Doubles the price at the end. Brilliant!

      1. chivo243 Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Haha!

        @heyrick

        "Doubles the price at the end. Brilliant!"

        Maybe we'll see Simon pull this one soon?

    3. Sam Therapy

      Had a similar experience with someone wanting me to design a half page newspaper ad. I have a set of fixed prices for drawn artwork, depending on size and whether it's colour or mono. Guy wouldn't listen and kept trying to bargain me down. I told him I didn't need the work but if he was set on me doing it for him, he'd have to pay my rates, no exceptions.

      Eventually he gave up and went somewhere else. Paid double my rates and got a much smaller ad.

  3. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Validation Vs verification

    A spell checker can only check that a word is valid, it cannot verify that it is the word you want. Well, it can be programmed to know that some words tend to follow others (i.e 'would have' and not 'would of') but bringing these things to the user's attention can irritate them, much like the green squiggly lines in MS Word.

    The Google keyboard for Android will often substitute a correctly typed rare word for the note common word it *thinks* you want. If you type the word 'manger' and quickly press space, it will substitute the more commonly used word 'manager', but if you pause for half a second before pressing space then it will keep 'manger'.

    It's a bit smarter than the classic T9 "are you coming down the sub for a riot?" *pub *pint.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Validation Vs verification

      They're not so smart on proper names either. If I don't pay attention the checker on my Android phone changes my surname to McLinux, which would be a cool name, but wrong.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        "McLinux, which would be a cool name, but wrong."

        Have you considered changing your name by deed poll?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Validation Vs verification

          Have you considered changing your name by deed poll?

          Mmm, I don't think my wife would thank me, changing once was enough for her :)

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Validation Vs verification

            "I don't think my wife would thank me"

            That's a pretty strong argument. In fact, what you'd get would be a pretty strong argument.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re McLinux

        What are you waiting for - change your name now.

        Come to think of it, I'm going to change mine to McLinux. Hot Damn!

        1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Re McLinux

          > Come to think of it, I'm going to change mine to McLinux. Hot Damn!

          Hot Damn McLinux - that's a porn star name if ever there was one.

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