1. It doesn’t seem credible that any rationally implemented “autocorrect” would change “squad” to “squid”, since both are normal words; but it is conceivable that a misguided “autosuggest” feature might have reacted to an inadvertent tap after “squ…” and attached the wrong pair of letters. However, it’s even more likely that the prisoner (or his lawyer) arranged the “mistake” on purpose. It’s undignified, but at least he’s still alive.

  2. @Kilby, I agree people often complain about “autocorrect” when the feature that went wrong is what I think is called “autocomplete” but fits with your discussion of “keyboard suggestions”.

    And, is there nobody on board for the idea of a secondary autocomplete error, which may have turned firing into fire-ink? The cephalopod in the picture does seem to have fired ink at the prisoner.

  3. There is also a second order failure of autocorrect, when you rely on it to catch your errors, but when your error is a real word, just not the correct one, it doesn’t alert you. In the not to distant past I posted here about entomology when what I meant was etymology, but since the long word didn’t get underlined in red, I didn’t catch the error, and posted away. I almost immediately saw the error when I read my post, but someone posted to correct me while I was typing my correction…

    Wear theirs Leif they’re soap…

  4. And not surprisingly, I unwittingly committed just such an error: In the not too distant past…

  5. @ Mitch – Turning “firing squad” into “fire-ink squid” has a certain charm to it, but since this is a military scene, it’s liable to backfire (literally) and produce an inflammable liquid.

    P.S. There’s an old anecdote about American engineers visiting an East German factory. When they ask what happens when the factory doesn’t meet its quota, they are told that the manager will be shot. Later that evening, the translator shows up at their hotel to apologize: “Sorry, I meant to say that the manager will be fired.”

    P.P.S. The joke also works in German (“erschossen” / “gefeuert“).

  6. It depends, sometimes it is the auto-correct. Mine doesn’t like “vaxxed”, which it changed to faxed, and it doesn’t like “Butch”, which it changed to butt. That one could have been very embarrassing, as my step-father goes by Butch.

    But I have also gotten messed up by the suggested words. The annoying thing to me is that they move around on the list. Many times I have typed 4 letters and it’s in the left spot, and then when I type the 5th (before I really notice the word I’m looking for is suggested now), it moves, so that when I touch the left spot, it’s not the word I want anymore. GRRR!

    And if this was supposed to be a firing squid, the artist needs to look up what he’s drawing. That’s an octopus, not a squid. So I went where Mitch did, fire-ink, which didn’t really make sense.

  7. გამარჯობა, ბატონო ჰოვარდ!

    Gamarjoba, Bat’ono Hovard!

    Glad to see you made it back to comment here again. Your previous comment as “Chicago Guy” had some timeline remarks that, after mulling, made me realize you really must be the Professor Howard Aronson I studied with in the 1980s! And not just a coincidence of names. Personal email will follow.

    If I can find the CIDU thread about Quasimodo jokes and “his face rings a bell”, I will try to reconstruct an anecdote from Georgian class, involving the student from Argentina (who was the only one having as much difficulty with the language as I was). I wish I remembered his name — but I do recall his home land was Argentina because the Falklands War took place while he was here, and he felt rather bad that so many Americans seemed to be siding with the UK.

    == Mitchell Marks
    UChicago Linguistics early 1980s, Georgian and Morphology-Syntax courses with you
    (Transferred to Computer Science)

  8. Wendy says: So I went where Mitch did, fire-ink, which didn’t really make sense.

    Just for the record, fire-ink was not my own idea, but came from one of the readers sending this one in, I think Ken.

  9. The appearance that it is an octopus instead of a squid is what led me to bypass the question and just mention “the cephalopod” in an earlier comment. The point that it might be the wrong species drawn has been brought up in the comments thread on GoComics, but there was not a response from the artist when last I had a look there.

  10. What gets people with autocorrect sometimes is an actual misspelled word that gets corrected to something other than the intended, which is then unnoticed. I don’t use autocorrect, just spell-check. That doesn’t like “autocorrect” but too bad for it.

  11. I don’t use either autocorrect or spell-check. “The right to make your own damn stupid errors is the right to be free!”

  12. My problem is when I think auto-correct will actually fix the word that I know/am pretty sure is wrong I have to keep trying to respell it until it comes up with correct or “a” correct word.

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