No, not that Cupertino, the place where Apple computers come from. It’s a reference to an old spellchecker mistake, changing “cooperation” into “Cupertino,” the first match in its dictionary. Terrorizing modern life in cell phones, word processing programs, entry forms on the internet and texting systems, spellcheckers damage communication every day through the production of Cupertinos.

Other notorious examples of the Cupertino effect include an article in the Denver Post that turned the Harry Potter villain Voldemort into Voltmeter, one in the New York Times that gave the first name of American footballer DeMeco Ryans as Demerol, and a Reuters story which changed the name of the Muttahida Quami movement of Pakistan into the Muttonhead Quail movement.

I tried to text LWC about a present from the Tuttles and it Cupertinoed over and over again to “turtles” by my not-so-helpful spellchecker. The most fun Cupertino we have at work is when “playmat” is changed to “playmate” as in, “This card no longer appears on the playmate.”


2 Responses to Cupertinos.

  1. Kindralas says:

    The thing about most spellcheckers is that there is often an “add word” option to them. If, for example, one were to type playmat, there is generally a means of clicking and saying “add” so that subsequent iterations of that word don’t get changed.

    L5R names were classically bad for that, and while I couldn’t add all of them, of course I added shugenja and the like, as well as most of the family names and characters I typed a lot (like Aramasu.)

  2. Jason says:

    When I was doing editing work for Scrye from home, I added a lot of words, like “deckbuilding” and “Pokemon.”

    That’s curious, though. As I type this comment, “Scrye” and “deckbuilding” get the red underlining that’s supposed to tell me they’re misspelled, but “Pokemon” doesn’t. I guess that says something about the last 10 years.

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