Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Cupertino Effect

The Cupertino effect describes what happens when a computer automatically "corrects" your spelling into something wrong or incomprehensible.

The name originates from an early spellchecking program's habit of automatically "correcting" the word "co-operation" into "Cupertino", the name of the California city in which Apple has its headquarters.

One of my favourite Cupertinos was my first computer's habit of changing the name "Freud" into "fraud" - or, more recently, of one phone's fondness for converting "soonish" into "Zionism".

As Cupertinos suggest, onscreen language is both a collaboration and a kind of combat between user and medium and if self-expression can sometimes reduced to little more than clicking on "like", there's every bit as much pressure exerted in the opposite direction.

The bewildering stream of new words to describe technology and its uses makes many people angry, but there's much to celebrate.

Someone, somewhere has probably already coined you a term - from approximeetings with friends (arranging a rough time or place to meet, then sorting out details on the fly via mobile phone) to indulging in political slacktivism (infective activism carried out by clicking online petitions).

Read more on Neologisms here

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