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 …

  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.

          1. Barry Rueger Silver badge

            Re: Re McLinux

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

            Silly me, immediately went to Linny McLinuxFace.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        I once worked at the BTTC (Busch Technical Training Center) which auto correct would insist was BUTT.

      4. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        Linus MacLinux: The smart distro for Macs.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        The first time my name is typed into a phone using T9, it comes out as Body Gazer.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: sub for a riot

      T9 was even worse for Vodka drinkers ... Smirnoff usually came out as poisonff

      I'm sure I've still got a regex somewhere for finding T9 collisions in /usr/dict/words...

      1. Calum Morrison

        Re: sub for a riot

        T9 often made a aunt of my texts tbh.

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: sub for a riot

          Obligatory link...

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6hcoT6yxFoU

        2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: T9 collisions

          If you do not want to take any arcs from Microsoft's new fanned terms of service, you can safely take the pips and call someone a coal staler. Thus puppy pictures can enlarge you cell foe, topper. Take that, Microsoft dual gold echinus. (Sorry, I had to resort to /usr/share/dict/british-english-insane for that last one.)

        3. LewisRage

          Re: sub for a riot

          but did you ever ask your girlfriend for coal?

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Re: sub for a riot

            > "PUT THE URINE IN THE FRIDGE..."

            Ah, he meant URSINE... like one of the subtler visual gags in Borat, when he reunites with his producer the head of their bear is seen in the fridge.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: sub for a riot

            but did you ever ask your girlfriend for coal?

            In the pre-keybaord days, when text was written via the numeric keypad, I'd been known to send my wife a text saying "I'll be good soon.".

            Followed by "s/good/home/"

          3. smudge Silver badge

            Re: sub for a riot

            but did you ever ask your girlfriend for coal?

            Still trying to work that out. But I do know that sex is what they carry the coal in, in Morningside, the posh district of Edinburgh.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: sub for a riot

              that sex is what they carry the coal in

              Ah, cue the old James Young jokes from NI.

              Reporter in Cullybackey: "Tell me, Madam, what do you do about sex?"

              "About sex? We usually have oor tay about sex."

              -

              "What's a crèche? "

              "A car accident in Cherryvalley" (posh bit of S. Belfast, pronounced as Cherryvelly)

          4. Sam Therapy

            Re: sub for a riot

            I got home and mine asked me why she should cook my sock.

      2. Steve Evans

        Re: sub for a riot

        T9 was even worse for Vodka drinkers ... Smirnoff usually came out as poisonff

        It came out as "poisoned", which amused my Polish friends no end!

        (They class their Wodka as the original, and the Russian stuff just paint-stripper for alcoholics).

        There is no V in Wodka ;-)

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qNKiPaYwyZQ

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Validation Vs verification

      "Well, it can be programmed to know that some words tend to follow others (i.e 'would have' and not 'would of') "

      Unless it was intended as "wood of the carpenter".

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Validation Vs verification

      In the days when documents had to be submitted via an office typist - it was not unusual to find "modem" replaced by "modern".

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        I still see that. I've also recently seen modern replaced with modem in technical documentation.

      2. smudge Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        Many, many years ago, a colleague was heading off abroad, and wanted to send a telex to say when he'd be arriving. Last line of his message was "Put the wine in the fridge and the pizza in the oven.". He handwrote the message and passed it over to the telex operator.

        The clent was a bit bemused to receive a message which said "PUT THE URINE IN THE FRIDGE..."

      3. Danny 4

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        modem or modern

        I read the whole of Neuromancer thinking that Panther Modems was a cool name.

      4. Glenturret Single Malt

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        My PhD thesis contained many mentions of cobalt carbonyl, Co2(CO)8 (don't know how to do subscripts here) and numerous others with combinations of capital C + lower case o and Capital C + capital O. In those far-off days, one hired a typist to do a professional job. Lots of fun was had proofreading the first draft of the typed version.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: Validation Vs verification

          People are fascinated by the BS Proofreader's Marks chart I have on my office wall. I rescued it from my last job in a print training place - found a load in an old store room. I don't think many people in scientific publishing now realise it was a job people had and how regulated it was, with a language all of its own.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Validation Vs verification

            BS⁁ Proofreader's Marks I

    5. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Validation Vs verification

      I've often thought that date sanity checking would be a valuable addition to spelling and grammar checking tools. The number of times I've had documents and emails coming through with days and dates not matching... e.g.

      Your vehicle's annual service falls due on Wednesday 29th March 2018. To maintain your warranty... Yes, you've simply incremented the year by one on last year's letter, you muppet. Do you mean Thursday 29th March, or Wednesday 28th March? Don't make me guess! Or...

      See you next Monday (the 3rd), then. So, do you mean April the 2nd (next Monday), April the 3rd (it's a Tuesday), or do I wait until September, which is the next time that Monday falls on the 3rd?

      A simple sanity check for dates would save so much grief!

      1. DJSpuddyLizard

        Re: Validation Vs verification

        A simple sanity check for dates would save so much grief!

        Yes it would. For a job years ago I wrote a VB.Net tool to archive data and images to optical disk for sale to the public. I soon learned that when it blew up, it was probably because some government user managed to write something like "Feb 29 2005" . My solution was to assume they meant the last day of February.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Smartphone keyboards

          They are a big improvement over T9, but you still see odd behavior. I love that I can type utter gibberish for a longer word and get the right one since it is able to narrow down what I meant by nearby keys, but it seems like every couple months it forgets I swear a lot and starts autocorrecting fucking to ducking a few times before it gives up and lets me type what I want for the next couple months.

          No one ever means to type 'ducking'...

          1. Soruk

            Re: Smartphone keyboards

            > No one ever means to type 'ducking'...

            A tour guide in Canterbury would be out of a job in a nanosecond if they mistyped the Weavers' Ducking Stool as something slightly different.

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Smartphone keyboards

              "No one ever means to type 'ducking'..."

              Last night I was ducking the music for a voice-over introducing the band members.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Smartphone keyboards

                "No one ever means to type 'ducking'..."

                My first job had an "office" that was simply an enclosed space under a fire escape. There was a steel beam at around the level of my upper forehead. It was most unwise to enter without ducking...

          2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

            Re: Smartphone keyboards

            No one ever means to type 'ducking'...

            I saw a great programme on TV last night. Loved the scene where they were ducking the witches...

    6. the Jim bloke Bronze badge
      Alien

      Re: Validation Vs verification

      There was a writer churning out stories for amazon, apparently completing books in a couple of days - was entertaining for the first few but lost its appeal pretty quickly..

      anyway, his vampiric elder could avoid all threats of harm by becoming "insolvent"

      Never realised bankruptcy was that potent..

    7. gnasher729 Silver badge

      Re: Validation Vs verification

      Spelling checkers especially for mobile devices can also figure out that you meant the letter to the left or right that you actually used (and accept what would be a ridiculous misspelling). The could, but I haven't found that yet, figure out that although a word is spelled correctly, it isn't used very much, and ask something like "are you sure about this" (wth a definition what the word you typed means).

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I understand if it was the other way round...

    ..after all, saying you would how comfortable it would be to put your sweet head on a manager was, could prove a little awkward.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

    Firing customers who are a more of a pain in the ass than they are worth is one of the truly great joys of being self employed.

    About three times per year, or thereabouts, I quite literally use the phrase "you're fired" to a client of mine, or of the wife[0]. Frankly, I quite enjoy it. The look on their face when they realize I am dead serious is priceless.

    [0] She's a softy, so I draw this detail by default.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

      So what happens when a vengeful customer uses network effects to cost you more customer. THAT'S the reason for the policy: happy customers stay quiet, unhappy ones squeal, and people listen to squeals.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

        Frankly, Chuck, all I've ever heard from the rest of the clients has been "What took you so long?". We haven't lost any to date. Seems this particular kind of squealers are universally disliked.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

          Trouble is, I've seen the exact opposite. The customers honestly thought they could do no wrong, so when one got sleighted, everyone left and the business shut down.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

            If a third party can fuck up enough business relationships to close down a company, that company is doing something fundamentally wrong.

            1. Amos1

              Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

              "If a third party can fuck up enough business relationships to close down a company, that company is doing something fundamentally wrong."

              Never heard of "the cloud", eh?

              When you decide to outsource critical business functions to save money (which is never as much as promised) you have outsourced the future of your business.

            2. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

              "If a third party can fuck up enough business relationships to close down a company, that company is doing something fundamentally wrong."

              Or the customers are fundamentally wrong, and if you lack a choice in the matter, you take what you're given, only they were more interested in leeching. Trust me, it's like trying to stay afloat in a Section 8 neighborhood.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

          How would the other customers of yours have the context to judge whether it was long overdue, if you hadn't been sharing details of your+their activities?

          That's a pretty huge red flag to me, if someone I expect to have a professional relationship with starts breaching confidentiality and telling me horror stories about other clients...

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

            "How would the other customers of yours have the context"

            One portion of my life involves the gossip-ridden Silly Con Valley. You can't sneeze at IBM's Almaden facility without getting a telephone call from a start-up in Petaluma asking if you're alright.

            The other part is an awful lot like living in a barn. Probably because it is living in a barn.

            The long and short of it is that most of our clients knew each other long before they became our clients. In fact, I have been warned in advance about most of the clients that I've eventually fired ...

            1. TechnicalBen Silver badge

              Re: How you go about it.

              It's how you go about it. If the customer bad mouths you, and they literally are asking your butchers company to provide kids kites, and the rest of the customer know this when they complain, then yes... the rest of the customer quietly say nothing to the nutters,

              If you scream at them because they constantly asked for discounts? Then you'll loose customers.

              Sometimes there are quiet and simple ways to move the customer on ("We don't support MacOS here anymore" as an example ;) ).

    2. DropBear Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Contrary to popular belief, the customer is not always right.

      @jake we know. You told us. Verbatim...

  6. jake Silver badge

    "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

    Indeed. Am I the only one who gets a fit of the giggles when believers depict a newborn surviving a snowy night in an uninsulated, unheated, doorless barn?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

      If you are a non believer you presumably are OK with newborns surviving in unheated, uninsulated, doorless caves over millions of years?

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

        Of course! :-)

        However, I don't depict the wee-uns all by themselves, away from the warmth of their DearOldMum.

    2. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

      It's not unheated as such. Whilst I'm no expert on the specific vernacular architecture of the period in Bethlehem, there's at least a couple of factors that might be at play:

      - Thick adobe walls absorb heat during the day and radiate it at night

      - Animals give off heat. In alpine regions people often lived directly above the animals for this reason

      -Straw is a good thermal insulator

      As a Californian and an animal owner, I'm sure you already know these things. We can assume that the good people of Bethlem in that period were not stupid either.

      As regards the lack of a door, I think we can chalk that down to artistic licence, much as a child's text book shows a ship or factory in cross-section. If we don't want to be that simple, we can take a few hours to go over the history of Christian art - starting with the observation that early Christianity shared the same ideas about not representing figures in general and God in particular as Judaism did, and it took the arrival of Christianity in Europe and the adoption for this to change. Be it the complexion of the human subjects, or the foodstuffs depicted in the image, most paintings of Christian themes say more about the artist's culture than they do about the Bible scene in question.

      You'll probably enjoy a giggle at depictions caused by iffy translations from Hebrew too, such as Michelangelo putting a pair of horns on the head of Moses.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

        Dave, they wouldn't have been traveling in that part of the world at that time of the year to begin with. The entire story is a fabrication, designed to play off of existing Solstice ritual and sucker the rubes. Thus my laughing at today's unthinking masses.

        1. Symon Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

          Next you'll be telling me that Santa couldn't visit all the children in one night. Anyway, it's Easter now, not Christmas. We should all be thankful that our Lord Jebus died on the cross so that we could have a long weekend.

          p.s. FWIW, most churchgoers, certainly in the UK, don't believe in all that God stuff literally, but it's still good fun to go out with friends for a bit of a singalong and a chat. That doesn't make them "unthinking masses". Like it or not, we live in a culturally Christian society, and getting worked up about the obvious flaws in the nativity is a little obsessive. IMO.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

            "we live in a culturally Christian society"

            Who is "we", Kemosabe?

            And frankly, that's the first time I've ever heard Wall Street and Madison Avenue accused of being "Christian".

            1. Symon Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

              Kemosabe?

            2. phuzz Silver badge

              Who is "we", Kemosabe?

              They were clearly talking about the UK, not the US.

              Anyway, Wall Street is totally biblical, there was some bit about money lenders in the bible right?

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

              "And frankly, that's the first time I've ever heard Wall Street and Madison Avenue accused of being "Christian"."

              In this context (white dudes on LHS of the Atlantic) "Christian" means "not Muslim". To get more specific: "not Muslim, probably not Jewish (but sometimes they're ok), not those strange eastern religions, oh, and not Catholic if you're including Mexicans, cause, you know"

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

                "In this context (white dudes on LHS of the Atlantic) "Christian" means "not Muslim"."

                Not this white dude on the LHS of the Atlantic. To me, "christian" means "deluded idiot, just like any other denomination of god-botherer". I'm fairly certain that every white dude that I've come in contact with in the last month or so is in agreement. Christianity is a minority around here. A very vocal one perhaps, but a minority nonetheless. And shrinking, thankfully.

          2. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

            "Next you'll be telling me that Santa couldn't visit all the children in one night."

            Indeed I will. In most countries in the world, children are not visited by a North Poll-dwelling Santa on Christmas Eve / Early Christmas Morning.

            In most countries, Santa visits on St Nicholas Day (6th December), and someone else delivers Christmas Presents, or they don't celebrate Christmas, and the main present-giving day is on a completely different date.

        2. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

          > The entire story is a fabrication, designed to play off of existing Solstice ritual and sucker the rubes. Thus my laughing at today's unthinking masses.

          In England we do have some unthinking, but not as much of it is inspired by the Christian sects as it is in the USA, if conversations between Douglas Adams and the Humanist Association of America are a guide. Indeed, many of our English non-conformist Christian sects were also political in nature, formed in times when the political and the religious vocabularies were harder to separate. Rather than ubthinkingly conforming to the political orthodoxy, they were actively taking a stand.

          The Church of England is generally considered to fairly low down on the nutter scale.

          That said, phrases such as 'unwashed masses' have been used within priesthoods for millennia, so just be careful now!

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

            Strange. When did this turn into a UK vs. USA conversation?

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

              > Strange. When did this turn into a UK vs. USA conversation?

              When you made a reference to the great unthinking, unwashed religious masses I thought it would might help to clarify that the same isn't as true on this side of the pond. It wasn't meant as a dig, just an observation. Indeed, the differences in religious attitude twixt the UK and the US are social and political in nature. For much of European history the Catholic church was a huge power structure, and thus talking about political, social and diplomatic relations outside of that context is meaningless. In the UK we don't take Christianity too seriously because our prominent flavor came about from Henry the VIII's desire to get what he wanted - it was a geopolitical move.

              When other posters here, and the likes of the Unitarian and creator of the Simpsons Matt Groening, say many of us are in a Christian culture they mean we are the inheritors of European history and so called Enlightenment, as opposed to holding, for example, a Confucian world outlook.

              1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

                "I thought it would might help to clarify that the same isn't as true on this side of the pond."

                For extra clarity, the pond will be the one with the Isle of Man in it.

            2. defiler Silver badge

              Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

              Strange. When did this turn into a UK vs. USA conversation?

              Jake, you've been around here long enough to know that the answer is "every Friday" and "every Thursday before a holiday Friday".

              Also, most Mondays and some Tuesdays. Wednesdays you're probably safe. Saturday/Sunday you've probably got something better to do. :)

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

              that'll be an ecumenical matter.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

            "The Church of England is generally considered to fairly low down on the nutter scale."

            The CofE has its Evangelist and Anglo-Catholic factions who want to impose their religious dogma on civil law.

            My cousin is married to a vicar - who in the 1960s was one of the more trendy types. She is appalled that I am an atheist - and said that she couldn't countenance any of her many children being atheists.

            1. A K Stiles
              Meh

              Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

              "My cousin is married to a vicar - who in the 1960s was one of the more trendy types. She is appalled that I am an atheist - and said that she couldn't countenance any of her many children being atheists."

              Friends had their child christened/baptised/whatever the catholic equivalent is. Mother was born and raised by a fairly ardent catholic mother, father a somewhat uninterested atheist. My (atheist) wife and the mother's notionally catholic brother (one of them *HAS* to be a catholic apparently) were named as god-parents and when it cam to the bit about renouncing and casting out satan (satin / santa?) and all his works, 3 of the 4 voices could only be heard to utter "mhmhmmm hmmhabbm m ms tm emem".

              During the post ceremony gathering (in a pub) the brother freely admitted to having actually said "Mumble mumble mumble" because "who has time for all that crap?"

              Kid's father apparently mostly went along with the whole thing for an easy life and because he'd had to promise to christen any kids when they'd got married in the same catholic church - so he wasn't prepared to break any of his wedding vows.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

                Kid's father apparently mostly went along with the whole thing for an easy life

                Google "Pascal's wager" (yep, that Pascal).

                Kid may thank him later. When I got married my wife wanted a church wedding, which would only have been possible if I had been christened/baptised. Just as well I was, as a baby, since going through it as an adult would have been way too hypocritical for my athiest adult self.

            2. Peter2 Silver badge

              Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

              The CofE has its Evangelist and Anglo-Catholic factions who want to impose their religious dogma on civil law.

              Which is actually less of a problem in the UK than in the US. I think it helps that we just give seats in the house of lords to religious leaders (25 out of 797 seats) so they can have their say directly, which eliminates the need to persuade politicans to represent the church in politics.

              1. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

                Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

                "which eliminates the need to persuade politicans to represent the church in politics."

                More even than that; it ensures that the HoL contains a number of experts on religion, which encourages politicians to keep their traps shut for fear of having their ignorance exposed.

                And none of our bishops are likely to describe black people as "monkeys" or let anyone get away with prosperity gospel nonsense. Though in principle I think there should be no places in Parliament reserved for religions, in practice the CofE is about the least worst option.

                1. Swarthy Silver badge

                  Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

                  Of course, it doesn't hurt the UK side of things that they exported the majority of their Religious Nutters over to what would become the US.

              2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

                Only those religious leaders who happen to be members of a certain section of the Church of England,

                Priests Out Of Parliament!

          3. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

            Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

            "The Church of England is generally considered to fairly low down on the nutter scale."

            And they have cake. Or death. But you get to choose!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

          Of course they're visitors from afar who did not understand the weather. How else could there be a white Jesus with white parents in a Middle East country? Duh.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

        "[...] most paintings of Christian themes say more about the artist's culture than they do about the Bible scene in question."

        Jacob Epstein's sculpture of Christ was the subject of a hate campaign by sections of the English Press. In particular "The Catholic Herald" objected to the features being of "an Asiatic Jew".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

        It was not winter. Shepherds were out in the fields with sheep. People were travelling. Where does it say it was winter?

        1. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

          Re: my mistake

          "It was not winter. Shepherds were out in the fields with sheep. People were travelling. Where does it say it was winter?"

          My mistake, I thought Jesus being born on the same day has Santa meant it had to be Winter. I forgot that allowing for continental drift Bethlehem used to be in New Zealand.

          1. katrinab Silver badge

            Re: my mistake

            St Nicholas (Santa) was born on 15th March.

            Nowhere in the bible does it say that Jesus was born on 25th December. 25th December was a pagan mid-winter festival that was rebranded as Christmas because the missionaries figured that telling people to stop celebrating it wouldn't be very popular.

            1. Charles 9 Silver badge

              Re: my mistake

              "25th December was a pagan mid-winter festival"

              I thought it was a solstice festival (because the winter solstice falls around the 21st).

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: my mistake

                The solstices (summer and winter) were/are festival times for the group of people often lumped together as "pagans". The early Christians appropriated them, and wove the dates into their own mythology. As they did with the equinoxes. And the quarter days. And anything else they could do to separate the rubes from their money.

                Now if you'll pardon me, the position of the sun tells me lunch is over and I need to get on with the spring planting.

    3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: ... depict a newborn surviving a snowy night ...

      I just took a look at modern January temperatures in Bethlehem. Finally we have to proof we need to convince Christians of global warming!

    4. Just Enough

      Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

      I more puzzled about what context exactly can the word "manger" appear in a letter, and "manager" be substituted in and still make sense?

      Are we to assume that this picky customer had no problem with a letter saying "Away in a manager, no crib for a bed", as long as it was spelt correctly?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: "Mangers feature prominently in the Christmas story"

        I more puzzled about what context exactly can the word "manger" appear in a letter, and "manager" be substituted in and still make sense?

        Are we to assume that this picky customer had no problem with a letter saying "Away in a manager, no crib for a bed", as long as it was spelt correctly?

        The customer made two mistakes. The first was trusting spellcheck. The second was not proofreading the document or having someone in the office proofread it for them.

    5. Mage Silver badge

      Re: surviving a snowy night

      It was most likely October, probably feast of Succot (Tabernacles) based on Elisabeth's pregnancy and when her husband would have been serving in the Temple. John the Baptist's parents. Though passover matches the schedule too, however John's Gospel and other aspects suggest Succot. Late December was a Roman invention over 300 years later.

      Where does it say there was no door?

      Also shepherds do not watch sheep in the field in December either. Though it's not that cold at the end of December in Bethlehem.

      Also snow is very rare there. The snow is an invention for Christmas cards.

  7. Tiggrrr42

    Names....

    An older version of Word's spellwrecker once tried to tell me that a Mr Dixon was actually a Mr Dioxin, which seemed a little harsh, even though he was a manger.

    Then there was the version which had the delightful spelling "liase" marked as correct, leading to a load of people thinking it had to be right.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Names....

      I recall that old versions of word always used to flag "jobs" as erroneous. Some reference to the Apple chief not being a friend of MS?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Away in a manager

    Aha! Uniting the christmas carol with the dodgy office doings.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

      Re: Away in a manager

      Is that Carol singing?

      Yeah, I wish she'd stop.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Away in a manager

        "I wish she'd stop."

        It might be a "he".

        "In English the meaning of the name Carol is: Manly, strong. A; from Carolus, the Latinized form of the name"

        1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          Re: Away in a manager

          This thread seems somehow to have degenerated into a holy war.

          Next up:

          Which is better? EMACS or VI?

          Seconds out...

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Which is better: EMACS or VI?

            Horses for courses ..

            Change MM/DD/YYYY to YYYY-MM-DD

            EMACS: M-x replace-regexp: \([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\(20[0-9][0-9]\) with: \3-\1-\2

            VI: F*** that, use AWK or SED

            Still cracks me up that EMACS was "Eight Megabytes and Constantly Swapping" --- that dates it

            1. proinnsias

              Re: Which is better: EMACS or VI?

              Um doesn't vi support regex ?

              :s/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\([0-9][0-9]\)/\(20[0-9][0-9]\)/\3-\1-\2/

              as required

            2. jake Silver badge

              Re: Which is better: EMACS or VI?

              "that dates it"

              Strangely enough, vi and EMACS were both born in early 1976. I know both very well, and have contributed code to both in the past. I use vi almost exclusively. If I want an EMACS-like editor, I just use TECO with my custom macro set (as Stallman intended before his head got too big).

              1. onefang Silver badge

                Re: Which is better: EMACS or VI?

                I've used far too many text editors in my lengthy career. There was a time when my job involved using what ever text editor that happened to be installed on the computer I was using at the time, which often meant half a dozen different editors in a single day. From that time I have my hard and fast text editor rule. If it's not easy enough to figure it out from the moment you start using it how to do really basic editing stuff (move cursor, insert text, delete text, save, exit) then it's a complete failure. Both emacs and vi fail that test. Nano passes.

                I have memorised one vi command though, coz it does tend to pop up unexpectedly every now and then -

                killall -TERM vi

                These days the very first thing I do for any new computer, if possible, is install mc (Midnight Commander). Usually easy to do on any Linux computer, and even my Mac and Windows boxen have it. It's also on my Android phone. mcedit works fine, passes my test, and mc works OK as an IDE.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Which is better: EMACS or VI?

                  Clearly, onefang has only used Linux (and perhaps BSD) in his/er "lengthy career". killall on (e.g.) Solaris or AIX doesn't do what s/he might expect, nor is it a vi command ... And as a side-note, who takes a club to squish mosquitoes? There is no need to kill (pkill, killall, whatever) normally running processes. Simply shut them down gracefully, less chance of collateral damage.

                  Also, as a sysadmin I have several hard and fast rules for my text editor. One of those is the ability to execute a shell command while editing a file. vi and EMACS make that easy. Nano? Forget it. There are many other reasons power users use power tools.

                  mc has it's place, and I use it occasionally, but it's not an IDE by any stretch. One wonders how it is you would know the intricacies of mc, and yet find vi to be a bother ...

          2. BinkyTheMagicPaperclip Silver badge

            Re: Away in a manager

            It's Friday, so I'll bite. Vi, always vi.

            I'm not a particular fan of emacs, it really is terribly unfriendly, but even if I accept that emacs can do more exciting regex work I'd still choose vi. vi is installed on pretty much every Unix system, emacs isn't. vi is often actually vim, which has shedloads of functionality. Works fine on Windows, too.

            I'm prepared to be convinced, but vim has managed almost everything I've thrown at it so far.

            1. albegadeep

              Re: Away in a manager

              At the risk of adding TNT to a flame war - nano. Not kidding. It's simple, easy to use, and the most common keyboard shortcuts are always displayed at the bottom of the screen. (Of course, I rarely use regexes.)

            2. ChrisC

              Re: Away in a manager

              "It's Friday, so I'll bite. Vi, always vi."

              Ah, the joy of six...

              1. SysKoll

                Emacs vs VI!

                You know it's a religious war when you have a tee-shirt mocking both EMACS and VI! https://www.zazzle.com/vi_versus_emacs_t_shirt-235580440891567435.

            3. J.G.Harston Silver badge

              Re: Away in a manager

              "vi is installed on pretty much every Unix system"

              I'm still looking for a version that will run on my PDP-11 Unix system.

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Away in a manager

                But why, J.G.? ex is the editor, as any fule no.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Away in a manager

                  Come to think of it, somebody out in userland is bound to run across this thread when searching for a version of vi to run on a PDP11 (or emulator). For old versions (dating back as far as ex-1.1 in 1BSD), you could do a lot worse than poke around in the archives at tuhs.org. For a more modern take, try nvi. 4bsd at tuhs has an early version, but the nvi homepage is https://sites.google.com/a/bostic.com/keithbostic/vi/ ... all of these should compile on a PDP11 without difficulty.

                  Hopefully this is useful to somebody, somewhere, someday.

                2. J.G.Harston Silver badge

                  Re: Away in a manager

                  Akcherly, I use cat :)

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Away in a manager

            Which is better? EMACS or VI?

            Neither. EDT rules!

          4. Mage Silver badge

            Re: EMACS or VI?

            Nano

            Because on random box with random custom Linux, it's probably there and you don't need to learn it.

            I'm sure I've forgotten how to vi, I think it was on Cromix.

        2. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

          Re: Away in a manager

          It might well be a "he", but Dennis Waterman clearly said "she".

        3. Voyna i Mor Silver badge

          Re: Away in a manager - not just English

          The name Carol derives from a Slavonic word meaning "King". The Russian Chief Designer's name (Sergei Korolёv) makes him Mr. King. A number of Eastern Europeans kings were confusingly named Karol, thus making them King King.

          How it became a female name I have no idea - the feminine equivalent is Karolёva.

  9. JakeMS Silver badge

    Spell Checkers...

    ... Are an assjistance and should not be relied upon.

    They're mainly there to help you in the case you actually dunt know how to spell it.

    You should still proof read your work and check speling manually (even if with spell checker)

    This is why I always turn autocorrect off.

    Clearly this person did not check their document manually before sending (but seemingly checked it after?

    Can't really blame the tech here.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spell Checkers...

      Spell checkers might be useful to Harry Potter, on this side of the pond at least we use spelling checkers...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Spell Checkers...

      ... Are an assjistance and should not be relied upon

      Irony much? You either have left spellcheck on or proofread this before hitting the "Submit" button.

    3. Herby Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Spell Checkers...

      Let's see:

      C - H - E - C - K - E - R - S.

      Sorry, couldn't resist.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Spell Checkers...

      Ha ha. You spelt downt wrong!

  10. Oddbodd
    Coat

    This is defiantly my favourite On-Call ever.

  11. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    No spilling needed

    Just communicate using nothing but acronyms. That's what the government does.

    I once got a product back from the field, and nearly everything I needed to know about the return was written in acronyms:

    WTF U SOB! THIS POS IS NFG!

    It even rhymes.

    1. Colabroad

      Re: No spilling needed

      It always makes me happy when I can resolve a ticket and the work notes are written purely in abbreviations.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: No spilling needed

        Guess you never had to deal with stenography from a court reporter.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: No spilling needed

          "stenography from a court reporter"

          I have my pharmacist translate for me.

  12. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    If I wrote spill chuckers...

    ...or perhaps decent macro viruses what I would do to advance humanity is use the tools to help my fellow man.

    My goal to is to seek out and destroy euphemisms. Euphemisms prevent clear understanding of issues and I believe allow weak-minded managlers to avoid internalizing responsibility for their mistakes.

    Based off whatever passes for my career, the following substitutions will be made:

    Negative patient care outcome > patient died

    This is only a representative sample of the data > I'm lying my ass off

    Departure from controlled flight > plane crashed

    Controlled flight into terrain > pilot fscked up

    Radical departure from structural integrity > it broke, badly

    Some minor program transients > contract gone, abandon ship

    This employee requires a bit more time for training > village idiot

    You're being made redundant > hey, business is slow and I need as much cash as I can scrounge for my own blow habit, so see ya.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

      Negative patient care outcome > patient died

      ISTR seeing that in one of Michael Bond's Monsieur Pamplemousse books, along with

      Patient failed to achieve his wellness potential. Its meaning is much the same.

      I wish I could remember exactly which book it was, because I would enjoy reading it again.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

        Re: Monsieur Pamplemousse

        Could be "Monsieur Pamplemousse takes the cure" as it is set in a health clinic, one with lots of dead patients.

        But it wouln't hurt to read them all again.

    2. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

      Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

      I hear what you say -> I will ignore all you just said

      With all due respect -> I suffer from acute Dunning-Kruger syndrome

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

        With all due respect -> I you suffer from acute Dunning-Kruger syndrome

      2. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

        "With all due respect" could also be "I believe you suffer from acute Dunning-Kruger syndrome" or "All of the respect that i feel you are due, which is none".

    3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

      > Radical departure from structural integrity > it broke, badly

      Reminds me of Elon Musk's "rapid unplanned disassembly" > exploded

    4. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: If I wrote spill chuckers...

      "Limited nuclear exchange" - still my No 1 euphemism.

  13. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
    Pint

    Your FIRED !!!!

    '...with a spelling mistake,”Peter told us.' = missing space between the quote mark and Peter.

    '...desired word – “Manager” -being mangled...' = one hyphen, then a dash without space.

    And yes, the word "you're" is spelled incorrectly because this is the internet, and that's how we... ...role.

  14. Alistair Silver badge
    Windows

    well. All things considered

    Firing a client is something that one may have to do once in a while. But you need to be careful if you're a potter.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: well. All things considered

      Ah. Like that old piece of advise of "If you're angry with people, write down what you really want to tell them, then burn them." To which i would add: burn the letters too - they establish motive.

    2. Stevie Silver badge

      Re: But you need to be careful if you're a potter.

      Yes, don't brick them up until you are sure they have a glazed expression.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dangers of OCR and spellcheckers

    I have found a couple of errors with OCR misreading letters and creating words that pass the spell check.

    For example the letters c and l together form a d, so you get dick instead of click (Double dick on the mouse button). Also r and n can form a m. "So nursey*, if you want to send out this document stating that the patient has a large bum instead of a large burn, go ahead!"

    * I work for NHS

    1. Solo Owl
      WTF?

      Re: Dangers of OCR and spellcheckers

      Why blame OCR? Too many fonts have inadequate spacing between letters. To me, burn looks like bum and click looks like dick. I have to rely on the context. I wish font devs would improve things.

      Also, periods, commas, and colons often disappear into the screen or paper. On high DPI, they need to be bigger than one pixel.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Dangers of OCR and spellcheckers

        " I wish font devs would improve things."

        They have done. They call them serifs, but they are optional and too many people on the internet like using sans serif fonts at small point sizes on low DPI media, like screens.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Dangers of OCR and spellcheckers

          "They have done. They call them serifs"

          What really puzzles me about OCR failings is the ability to read variable-pitch fonts just fine (or at least as fine as OCR can manage) and then fail completely on what I'd expect to be the easier option, monospaced typescript.

          1. The Oncoming Scorn
            Go

            Re: Dangers of OCR and spellcheckers

            I let my serfs have today off.

      2. Swarthy Silver badge

        Re: Dangers of OCR and spellcheckers

        Obligitory XKCD

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Dangers of OCR and spellcheckers

      http://fuckyeahkeming.com

  16. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

    It's annoying enough when an incorrect word gets through because spellcheck recognises it - it's worse when spellchecker recognises obscenities and allows them through. Due to the proximity of the 'f' and 'g' keys, I once wrote a specification that stated that all data would "be buggered upon receipt and then passed to the relevant component for processing"....no red flags from spellcheck for that, unfortunately.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      We almost shipped a marketing document for a product with the claim that it had a "User massaging service". Luckily one reviewer was awake.

      1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

        Was there a happy ending then?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The best change from Outlook 2003 to the one after it (2012? I forget) was that it's spell checker turned "inconvienience" [there's an extra i after the v] into "inconvenience" not "incontinence."

          I know my terribly-spelling self apologised "for the incontinence" more than once before they fixed that.

  17. myhandler

    Firing the guy was a bit excessive but it's NOTHING to do with whether the word exists or not.

    It's called attention to detail, doing your job, PROOF READING FFS.

  18. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Speech recognition is better

    I have no problems with spell-checkers because I have an application that can wreck a nice beach.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The State Of Spelling

    I was once told "Iowa" was spelled "Ohio".

    1. Hans 1 Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: The State Of Spelling

      I was once told "Iowa" was spelled "Ohio".

      Not nice to make fun out of dyslexics, though it is funny, sometimes ;-).

  20. chivo243 Silver badge

    When the dust settles

    This is part of the reward of knowing you are right, and the exploding\offending party has toilet paper on their shoe... Ya just gotta wait for it... Everybody will see it!

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Massaging

    "User massaging service" - wasn't that Monty Python? "And now here is a massage from the Swedish Prime MInister"?

    A company I used to work for once sent a letter to a prospective client we were hoping to land a large contract with, that was supposed to say "we are second to none in this field". Due to a typo and lack of proof reading it was sent out saying "we are second to one in this field". Fortunately the client saw the funny side and after asking us who that one was, did actually employ us!

  22. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge
    WTF?

    My boy's Cub Scout troop sent an email invite...

    ...for their annual formal dinner. Part of the email said we would have "erotic foods" I hope like hell that's a spell chucker artifact. Begs the question... Who trained that things AI?

  23. Scorchio!!

    A moment of bliss

    I managed a moderately large (now defunct) west end courier company years back. We had some very obstreperous customers, and the situation became very difficult when one of our number was crushed by a truck and died, never regaining consciousness.

    These are the sorts of moment when morale drops, and with ugly synchrony one of the customers started behaving badly (very big shoe company in the East End); it was Xmas and the delay times (traffic) were long, there was nothing we could do about this, but she was screeching and squawking at us with even more than her usual vituperation; my controller looked at me and said "we'll have to sack her you know". Feeling uncomfortable I made the appointment in what was a quite clear and polite middle class accent, saying we ought to discuss our status.

    I rode around there on my very noisy 1000cc bike, wearing a full set of leathers, face adorned by a huge beard, walked in and saw the woman sitting there, looking very uncomfortable, not least because I'd parked The Beast underneath her window. I told her that, under the circumstances, we couldn't continue to service her account and I recommended her to a friend's company. He took the custom. I was delighted for him. I was elated; my first sacking.

    A couple of weeks later my friend started to give me odd looks in the pub, and told me he wasn't talking to me. He had a lopsided smile on his face, because he didn't know whether to laugh or cry; she started putting out large amounts of work and hassle in equal measure.

    It was a relief to lose her, much like the early morning dump. We never saw them again, but my friend did talk to me again My software reminds of my dead friend/colleague once a year. RIP.

  24. ICPurvis47

    Typists' mistakes

    A long time ago, when we used to use Dictaphones to dictate our documents and then send them to the typing pool for typing up and posting, one of the engineers was dictating a specification for an electric train controller. The controller was used to regulate the amount of electrical current through the traction motors by switching in or out different amounts of resistance, a technique known as "Notching Up". What he said was "The controller must pass 1000 amps on the first notch", but what the typist heard and subsequently wrote was "The controller must pass 1000 Amps on the first of March".

  25. Robert 22

    Paradoxically, spell checkers are most useful when you know how to spell.

    I remember my son, when learning to write, would use spellings so far off, tha the spell checker would find totally different words.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Spell Checkers, been there, seen that ...

      I remember my son, when learning to write, would use spellings so far off, tha the spell checker would find totally different words.

      I was once in a tech support position for famous fax software which had an integrated spell checker and received a letter of complaint from one of our customers that was so badly written you literally had to read it aloud, often trying different possible pronunciations for some syllables, to understand what the guy had written ... he was complaining that the spellchecker was not working. We replied that we were working on a spell checker with artificial intelligence but that the PC computers of the day were not powerful enough to run it ... this was 2001 ...

  26. russmichaels

    Re: "The former policy wonk -

    I have fired a few over the years.

    We had this one guy who was incredibly rude every time he called, and it got to the point that no member of staff wanted to speak with him anymore. So we told reception to refuse to put any calls through unless he sent us a written apology and agreed to stop being rude, and to simply hang up on him if he continued to be rude to them. He refused to apologise and continued being rude, so his number was blacklisted.

    He was not a direct customer, but rather a web developer (who was still running sites on MSAccess no less) who managed several client accounts. We had to contact those clients and inform them of our decision to blacklist their web developer and that they would have to contact us directly.

    1. The Oncoming Scorn
      Pint

      Re: "The former policy wonk -

      Not so much fired, but a council member decided to park in our loading bay at Somerset County Council, one of my colleagues politely asked her to move as it was a loading bay & lots of equipment was coming out & her car could get damaged.

      30 minutes later his contract was terminated with extreme prejudice - This did not go down well with the rest of us.

      Two weeks later I was assigned a ticket to investigate her laptop (HDD failure or something), I refused & said this should go to one of the permy staffers as they could not get dismissed like I would if she took some form of umbrage at being told her data was gone or the ticket was not being treated as urgent enough.

      All the permies & contractors to a man refused to handle her ticket & in the end the workshop manager was eventually tasked with her laptop issue.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Peeing files ?

    I was hired by a Dutch company and in charge of a contract with a Dutch third party ... my Dutch was really poor and I was hoping Outlook spell checker was going to save me ...

    I wanted to write "I put the file on the server" so wrote Ik heb het bestand op je server geplaast. instead of Ik heb het bestand op je server geplaatst.. That missing t made the difference as Outlook stripped an "a" and it became geplast which means urinated.

    Minutes later my manager was in the office, I had handily cc'd him ... no harm, I was allowed to write in English from then on.

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