Content is irrelevant?

3 December 2015 Leave a comment

I just received a marketing mail, one of many. But this one, from a new blogging platform called Typed, had some interesting errors, which prompted me to put pen to blog (after a VERY long hiatus …):

Typed Typos

Not only did they call upon a mysterious “Quoted person” (I probably wouldn’t have known about him anyway, unless he is an ex of Kim Cardassian … er, Kardashian) to tell me how good the service is, they also included some cryptic copy above the quote, presumably written by Mr. Quoted Person.

Anyone at Typed looking for an attentive proofreader?



Categories: Uncategorized

Denglish – the insidious rise of a bastard language

14 October 2010 Leave a comment

Heh heh! After my rebranding from Darth Sidious to Darth Denglish, those Krauts won’t know what hit their language …

Today, I once again stumbled across the German word Service-Leistungen (very common in business jargon and also seen in the guise of Serviceleistungen and – most perfidious – Servicedienstleistungen). As Dienstleistung is just service in English, you could translate Servicedienstleistungen as service services! This horrible conglomeration is typical of the flood of “NeuDeutsch” or “Denglish” words that are infesting what was once a proud language that only ingested foreign words to make itself more attractive: quaint Yiddish expressions (good thing the Führer was no linguist), chic French phrases …

I recently heard a German guy jokingly pronounce “Service” in an Italian way: sir-veet-tse. What a good way of countering Darth Denglish!



The Importance of Being Earnest … about your spelling

30 September 2010 3 comments

Kids just don’t want to use proper spelling these days. And they aren’t about to get it from Twitter either. To make matters infinitely worse, it’s possible that they won’t ever be able to learn it at their local school.

School ain't what it used ta be ...

From Hong Kong with Love .. and VAT and customs duty

14 September 2010 Leave a comment

As I write, I am currently installing MS Offal 2010 on my old (Windows) laptop for testing.

It’s supposed to be fairly good. Didn’t go with the previous version – 2007 – because reports were that it was buggy and had a confusing UI. The deal-killer for me was that it didn’t support Visual Basic projects; my translation tool (WordFast Classic) runs as a giant VBA macro directly in Word. Now MS has apparently brought back VBA, due to popular demand, and cleaned up the bugs (much like Windoze 7 is said to be a New & Improved Vista).

So I bid on an Ebay offer for a private person selling a new copy of the Pro version (Unwanted birthday present? {the usual story} Stolen from his employer or a shop? {more likely}). Was surprised and pleased to get it fairly cheap.
Anyhow, the guy hadn’t delivered after a week, so I buzzed him and he said “please wait a few more days”. I waited another week before firing off a catty email asking what was so difficult in writing my name on a package and sending it off. Wasn’t too worried about a default, as I’d paid by PayPal and Ebay claims you’re insured for the full amount.
After another week and another excuse mail, I got a notice from the Bundespest … er, German Post Office, saying that I had to pick up a parcel from Hong Kong (!) at Customs, as there was a problem with it.
Turns out my man is not in Stuttgart, as his Ebay location stated, but probably in Hong Kong – or somewhere else in the known galaxy with inet access.
At the Customs Office, I had to present proof that I had bought it in good faith (copy of Ebay auction) and of the sum paid (PayPal receipt).
So customs duty was evidently waived and I “just” had to pay the VAT due.

I know a person who bought a laptop battery from Hong Kong, only to find that it drastically lost its charge after performing well for a few weeks. Returning it would have been costly and, to make things worse, she would have little chance of pressing a claim.

So this seems to be a new Ebay scam – now that he bad news about ordering from HK has spread, the idea is to fool the punters into ordering from HK and have them pay the VAT to boot.
I suppose that German customs will be doing more than just spot checks on such consignments in future. Caveat emptor.

Which brings up the question: do I have a pirated copy on my hands? Not necessarily, as the legal stuff is also produced and sold in Asia.

Stay tuned …

A Ubuntu version? An Ubuntu version? An historic decision, indeed …

22 August 2010 Leave a comment

An associate of mine recently expressed his dismay at reading something about “an Ubuntu version” (“the distinction between silent and enunciated vowels is rarely made nowadays” was his scholarly moan), adding that “an historic occasion” seemed to have become accepted practice too.

My soothing reply went thus:

Dear “Appalled in Tunbridge Wells”,

Of course, as a self-respecting LP (Language Professional), I totally agree with you on the subject of “an hour vs a hat” but beg to differ on the point that Ubuntu seems – at least in the US of A and, less importantly but more pertinently, in its country of provenance – to be pronounced Oo-Boon-Too.

Once you have grown accustomed to this strange pronunciation, you may care to try “Umhlanga” …. pronounced Oom-Schlung-a …. (sorry, I’m a rough-and-tough translator; I don’t do those fancy linguistic symbols). It’s not a dread South African disease, but a pretty seaside resort, by the way.

Categories: Grammar Gripes Tags: ,

Don’t you comma like that with me

20 August 2010 Leave a comment

Time and time again I notice that people write long sentences without any commas or other punctuation to make it easier for the poor reader to chew through which is why I guess it is called punk-chew-ation. The “punk” makes the reader “chew” …

Seriously now, it seems that hitting that comma, semicolon or hyphen key is just so much bother: writer bother as opposed to reader bother. Another case of externality at work?

Part of the problem might be that English is fairly relaxed with regard to comma placement, unlike German. The gray zone of “you may put one in there, but you don’t have to” is far greater.

Anyhow, comma slouches have now been warned: leaving out just one comma may cost you more than $2 million!

Don’t believe me? Well, how about this: a court case was lost because of a misplaced comma!

Shouldn't there be a comma after "in"?

(A souvenir from my last vacation in Prerow, a seaside resort on the Baltic: the sign for a ladies’ boutique)

Leverage your competencies by applying Synergy!

8 July 2010 1 comment

After serving you that uplifting bit of corporate jargon (garglon?), I confess: this post is only about a software tool.

Synergy ( is a great way of sharing a mouse and keyboard between several computers, even if they are running different operating systems. Although it offers several benefits over a hardware KVM, it remains fairly unknown, at least in my neck of the woods.

You can control the computers in alternation, bouncing the cursor “across the monitors” (I always take a childish delight in this), and even copy-and-paste text from one machine to another.

Setting up the server version (one of the installations has to act as the server – i.e. serving the keyboard and mouse actions to one or more clients) can be a bit tedious. Sometimes the connection doesn’t work. There is a front-end called QSynergy, but I’ve not had much luck with it.

I’ve found that entering the explicit local IP (e.g. – look at your router’s table of connected devices) of the server machine, instead of the “friendly” host name, then usually does the trick.

Get versions for Windows, MacOS and Linux (also other flavours of Unix) at:

What’s more, it also works well across the virtual machine / real machine boundary, although I sometimes found it a pain to set up. There is a free GUI called QSynergy available, but I didn’t get it to work soon enough, so I lost interest …

Another great feature of Synergy is that it is free – hey, that’s my favourite special offer!