Obama, Not Osama: Updating That Spell Checker Depending on when you last updated your computer, your spell checker might invite you to change the name of the president of the United States to the first name of the world's best-known terrorist. When is a word is common enough to be added to the dictionary?
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Obama, Not Osama: Updating That Spell Checker

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Obama, Not Osama: Updating That Spell Checker

Obama, Not Osama: Updating That Spell Checker

Obama, Not Osama: Updating That Spell Checker

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/102748027/102748001" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Depending on when you last updated your computer, if you type in the name of the president of the United States, you may see a red, squiggly line below it.

Then, the spell checker may invite you to change his last name to the first name of the world's best-known terrorist.

Updating the Microsoft dictionary is the responsibility of a team led by Mike Calcagno. Host Scott Simon speaks with Calcagno about deciding when a word is common enough to be added to the spell checking dictionaries.