Thank You, Mister Gates


Oh, Bill… whatever would we have done without you? Can you imagine tapping out a novel on an IBM Selectric? Or on a rusty old Underwood? Or, gasp, scrawling it out longhand? That Dickens, huh? Now there is dedication!

When you tippy-tap your messages out on your cell phone, you don’t use words like ululate, or hypertension, or Zoroastrianism. Too tough to tippy-tap out on that tiny keyboard. Yet Mr. Dickens scrawled out deliciously delightful words longhand. In truth, most people find it easier to block print letters than to try to spell on those itty-bitty keys. Someone, probably aliens, must be laughing their dang-fool heads off – look what I got the humans to do!

In Phineas Caswell’s world, the wind she blows us aback, and we can sail forward no more. We brace the yards around to catch the wind. We loose the heads’ls. We work the rudder and bring her head around to pick up the breeze. We change tack, gather speed, and off we go.

Mr. Gates’ spell-checker has finished MARIGOLD’S END, something few humans have yet to do.   The rough-and-tumble Englishmen in this book all drop their aiches, as in “‘ow was I to know?” And Louise, she is French, and she drops ‘er aiches, and she uses French words. And Red Suarez espeaks Espanish…Ay, caramba! But, for all that, the spell checker found out those embarrassing oopsies we try to hard to avoid. Next comes a grammar checker.

Software can never replace the human eyeball and skill set and judgment, but it can certainly point you towards questionable work.

So, thank you, Mr. Gates. Your PC has revolutionized the world, and your spell checker has brought a change of tack to an otherwise stalled project. ‘ats off to ye, lad!


Author: John Reinhart

Technical writer John Reinhart says his mission is to get his readers excited about the possibilities of and wonders of planetary science. A happily married father of three from Ventura, CA, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Cal State Chico, has taught college courses, and is working on his second novel.

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