i liek this alot

Back when I was paid to really care about spelling, I made a crude little UK-US spelling equivalency dictionary. Typeset it in LaTeX, too:

I found the source files last night (including the entire database for the long out-of-print source book, in its own odd little text format) and I’m amazed how little of it I still understand. This is a shame, as I’m about to embark on another little typesetting project of my own …


I’m hanging out near Warden and Danforth while I get snow tyres (I still can’t kick that spelling) fitted. It irks me that I could buy a nice fixie for the cost of these wheels, but that’s owning a car for you.

The Edwards & The Feldmans

We now have fish; some scissortail rasboras and a few threestripe corydoras. Not the most challenging of fish to keep, but entertaining and hardy enough (I hope) to survive this impractical fishkeeper.

I’m emphatically not naming them individually, but as groups: the corys are the Feldmans (though may yet become the Doctorows, since the spelling is closer), while the scissortails have to make do with being the Edwards.

Tiger’s Dictionary

OS X Tiger's Dictionary
I was pleased to see that Apple had included a comprehensive dictionary with OS X 10.4. The Oxford American is a decent enough reference tome, and the computer implementation isn’t bad at all.

The typography’s fairly clean, if rather heavy on the whitespace. Cross references are active; if one clicks on the small-caps word whitlow, you’ll go to its definition (if you have to; it’s kinda nasty). For some reason, the Dashboard version of the dictionary doesn’t have active xrefs.

Searching isn’t as good as it could be. As with most electronic products, it assumes you already know how to spell the word. The incremental search does allow that, as long as you have the first few letters right, the list of possible choices is quite small. Like all electronic dictionaries that I’ve seen, it’s not possible to browse the text in that spectacularly non-linear way that makes a real paper dictionary fun.

It does seem to have a good few Canadian terms, but a true Canadian dictionary should be shipped with Canadian Tiger. Correct spelling isn’t just optional. It also only labels British and Canadian spellings as ‘British’.

So, in summary, pretty good, but far from perfect.