Canadianize the Internet

So, yesterday was Canada Day.  It was a great day at the Ice Cream Festival at Toddy Jones Park and the events at Fort Malden.  Of course, there were the fireworks over the Detroit River to end the day.  The organizers always do it up nicely for our town.  Our Member of Parliament, Member of Provincial Parliament, and Mayor were all there for the opening ceremonies.  Free flags for everyone and lots of red and white everywhere.

So, quite frankly, with the whole day devoted to festivities, I didn’t have much time to do much learning.

Except for one thing….

There were lots of uncharacteristic shows of nationalisms in blog posts and news articles.  Of course, where the posts allowed for replies, there were some bashing messages but it was too nice a day to spend much time on it.

At the bottom of a Canada.com message, there was a link to this post – “It’s time to Canadian the Internet“.  It was a lead to a Google Chrome extension that will “fix” web pages so that they generate Canadian spelling for words.  Imagine an internet without “color” that now properly spells it “colour”!

It’s cute and kept me interested for a while.

So, a quick before and after shows how it works…

BEFORE

“But more than simple words and phrases, the Canadianize the internet extension will also replace the Yankee -or words with our more favourable -our endings. Their -er word endings will come back to our -re endings. Honor will become honour. Labor will become labour. And meters will once again be metres.”

AFTER

“But more than simple words and phrases, the Canadianize the internet extension will also replace the Yankee -or words with our more favourable -our endings. Their -er word endings will come back to our -re endings. Honour will become honour. Labour will become labour. And meters will once again be metres.”

All in good fun, right?

There’s actually a lesson there. 

We’ve all read about the dangers of connecting to open internet access in public places.  Here’s a perfect example of communications being intercepted and replaced without fanfare.  Spelling is just a small example but if that can be done here, what else is possible?

OK, this is getting too deep for a holiday post.  Signing off….

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One thought on “Canadianize the Internet

  1. Interesting.

    It is proof enough as shown in your example that simply a find-replace for spelling alone is not enough — the context is important. Rightly or wrongly, for me here in Canada, a metre is a metric unit of measure, but a meter is a device that measures. So differentiating between the two is important for clarity and to avoid ambiguity.

    However, the larger question of differentiating messages is significant. Granted, at this point, the function occurs via a client-installed plug-in. But the potential for coloring (spellcheck removed my U) the text (and thus the message) raises a question of imposed subjectivity — what if a school district (in their wisdom) introduced a collection of related plug-ins? What if some acted not on spelling, say, but with locally-determined politically-correct synonyms via an approved thesaurus? Censorship-in-a-blackbox. How would you know? How do we know?

    Not to mention the confusion introduced when folks of differing jurisdictions try to come to agreement with each relying on their own locally-modified copy. Imagine if they were lawyers! Yikes.

    Like

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