Computers, iPads, and iPhones run grammar checkers and spellcheckers built into their operating systems (unless you turn off the function) that are meant to become a collaboration between user and machine.
That should be a good thing, right? Nope. It’s more a kind of word combat between user and machine.
It’s called the Cupertino Effect and is an unfortunate, aggravating part of writing on a computer since Microsoft Office 97 couldn’t recognize the word cooperation with the hyphen and the spellchecker replaced it with Cupertino, the name of a California town.
To this day, you can still find online documents from international organizations with the word Cupertino where cooperation is intended. For example, a NATO document that has the line, “The Cupertino with our Italian comrades proved to be very fruitful.”
According to one journalist, “Spellcheckers are the enemy of writers and editors as Voldemort is to Harry Potter. Or as our spellchecker would have it, ‘as Voltmeter is to Harry Potter.”
To their credit, leading software companies do steadily expand their wordlists and fine-tune their algorithms to improve their spellcheckers. That’s why older Cupertino-isms have thankfully fallen by the wayside. Only to be replaced by others equally annoying and humorous, unfortunately.
Doesn’t matter how much the techies tinker, the Cupertino effect will always be with us in one form or another.
We’ve all been zinged by spell checker and autocorrect goofs at one time or another. Any “horror” tales with your goofs? Let us know in the comments below.