Wednesday, March 29, 2006

adventures in F7

True story; no sci-fi here. And it's confession time, too. Here it goes - I rarely spell check a document. That's it. I'm sure you haven't noticed.

That was never more apparent than this past Sunday morning when I projected the PowerPoint slides that went along with my sermon. I had twelve slides with each slide's content consisting of a single word in a huge font. Any mistake would be a glaring one to be sure. You would think I could spell twelve simple words correctly. But no, I had to go and misspell two of the twelve (I gave "amend" an extra "m" and better yet, I left out the "s" in "transform"). Brilliant. Mind you all of this is to a church with a membership with a far larger-than-average number of public school teachers. Yep.

Consequently, I made the sterling deduction that composing my texts in a word processor (rather than a simple text editor, as has been my habit since I started computing back in '91) might not be a bad idea after all. "Hey, lookee there, there's an F7 key in Word and if I hit it I get to see all of my mistakes before everyone else does. Gol-ly!"

So yesterday while I'm typing up the church e-News and I'm answering the most frequently asked questioned each Wednesday ("What's for supper at church?"), I walk up to my new friend F7 and say, "Hey 7, how do you spell fet-uh-chee-knee?" Ol' 7 says, "David, that would be spelled 'f-e-t-t-u-c-c-i-n-i.'" "Thanks, 7. I needed that!" And I was on my merry way.

That is until I sent out the church e-News this morning. See, I decided to spell check the e-News one more time in a program in which I keep archival copies of the e-News (InfoSelect). Now understand that F7 doesn't ever visit this program except when he's having an identity crisis. Whenever he makes an appearance in IS he can't seem to spell a lick and can only repeatedly ask me "Would you like to create a new note?" Fortunately, I happened across an old friend in IS by the name of Ctrl+G. At least I thought it was fortunate - until ol' G opened his mouth and told me my friend 7 was seriously mistaken! "'Fettuccini' is incorrect. It is spelled 'f-e-t-t-u-c-i-n-i', minus one 'c', David."

Well, by now I'm thinking "three's a crowd" and I step out of the room to get a breath of fresh air. I fire up my browser thinking "I'll just wiki this up and see what I get" (as in look it up on wikipedia, an online, open source encyclopedia; the poor man's Britannica). And what should dear wiki greet me with, but a correction! "It's not 'fettuccini' or 'fettucini', but 'f-e-t-t-u-c-c-i-n-e.'"

At this I had had enough. "Well, is it fettucini or fettuccini or fettuccine?! Sounds to me like you guys are just making it up as you go along. Some friends you turned out to be. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar have nothin' on you guys. Who needs a spell-checker anyway? Just pass me the fetuhcheeknee and Tabasco and no one will get hurt!"

(No spell checkers were injured in the composition of this post.)