Can you build a spell checker in? We creative types often suffer from dyslexia and can't spell to save our lives (I know I just took a 20 week course to help me spell better at 49!) No one wants to look stupid because they can’t or are unsure of spelling. Spelling ability does not = intelligence! If I am unsure I will type in Word and use the spell checker there and cut and paste into the doc. Extra work just to save face – uggggg.
Wondering where someone would build it in? Do you have any examples of blog comment areas which include a spell-checker?
Unless and until written language ceases to be our primary medium of mass communication, spelling will to some extent be a referendum on intelligence. Just as the intended message of a video could be marred by shoddy camera work (or any other failure to properly handle the medium), a text rife with misspellings suffers from its author's lack of knowledge. Google is helpful, as is Word spellcheck, dictionary.com and a host of other sites. But here's my slow hunch (and it is indeed slow, since it takes time): Read books. When you come across a word on a blog, it may or may not be spelled correctly; when you come across a word in a professionally edited and published book, it's almost certainly correct. Commit the words you come across to memory, and call on that memory when writing them yourself. Or, if you're more willing to spend money than time, hire a freelance editor to proofread your documents before putting them before an audience. None of the above is meant sarcastically, by the way. I know this site is being used primarily for digital/electronic solutions to problems, but sometimes flesh and blood knows best. Not sure how you'd build an app for that.
Actually, here's a thought: contract with a regular freelance editor, and use Google Docs to share your writings with them, with the understanding that they will give you a quick turnaround time on all documents. Find someone skilled and work with them consistently and remotely. Sort of like putting a lawyer on retainer, except the editor is telecommuting Web 2.0-style and the retainer is optional (depending on terms).
@Brian - Have you heard of Amazon's Mechanical Turk? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Mechanical_Turk . Check it out. It's very similar to what you're suggesting. You also bring up an excellent point on the limits of algorithms. Many sites are now using real humans to enhance the results that algorithms provide. (Techmeme.com is one great example.) You can "game" an algorithm, but it's much harder to game a human. Speaking of gaming, videogames themselves are an excellent example of the limits of AI: in games like Call of Duty, the in-game AI in single-player versions can't come close to the cunning, back-stabbing, and unpredictability of real humans in multi-player games. No comparison.
on the "dictionary" part of the tag, why hasn't an app (or is there) that works like my kindle? There I can simply click next to a word I don't understand and it gives me the definition in a pop-up box. Saves a lot of time vs cutting and pasting the word into google or dictionary.com adn thus improves my vocabulary and understanding of the piece.
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