Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Dictionary: Word Check Hints and Tips

This blog entry aims to provide a collection of hints and tips for using Word Check. Word Check is an online service which enables you to check if you are using the preferred Australian English spelling of a word. Word Check is based on the Kelvin version of the Australian English spellcheck dictionary (also known as Kelvin's dictionary).

Kelvin's dictionary aims to:
  • Include only the preferred spelling of Australian words. Where there are two or three ways to spell the same word, only the preferred spelling is included.

  • In general, American spelt words are not included. For example mom is not included, as mum is the preferred spelling in Australia. The word ranch however is included, as it is not considered a non-preferred spelling variation of an Australian English word.

  • Archaic and obsolete words are not included.

  • Many words which should have a space, such as "ice cream", are included.

  • Many words which should have a hyphen are included.

Word Check is currently alpha and many hundreds of hours of work on the Kelvin dictionary are still required before it reaches the general release stage. Word Check has been released early, as even now, it is providing a very useful tool for Australians and those wishing to write for an Australian audience.

Word Check is not a spellchecker. If you wish to have a list of suggested words, please obtain the Kelvin dictionary files for your application when they are available. It should be kept in mind most spellchecking programs and word processing programs, are not as accurate as Word Check. They introduce errors in their implementation. For example, enter the word non-non in most writing programs, and you will find non-non as a correctly spelt word, which is obviously not correct. Word Check only contains correctly spelt words (subject of course to our own errors and omissions). By limiting Word Check to a single word, words which contain spaces or hyphens are included in the Kelvin dictionary and are now correctly handled. In a program performing spellchecking, hyphenated words and words with spaces (such as deja vu, which allows typing vu as a word) are often mishandled.

Please feel free to suggest words, or to challenge existing words (in a nice way of course). The Kelvin dictionary is a growing and evolving resource, and as I find evidence of word usage change in Australia, the Kelvin dictionary will be updated.

Word Check can easily be added to your browser as a search engine, so you can use the search field in your browser to check a word. In Opera and Internet Explorer it is fairly easy to add Word Check so you can highlight a word on a web page, check the word and then check the meaning of the word.

I accept Word Check is not yet comprehensive enough to be live and I apologise in advance for any inconvenience. If you feel a word should be spelt in a certain way and it is not being found, the word may not have yet reached the dictionary. Use Wiktionary to confirm you are correct and so you know it is Word Check that is currently lacking. Words that are entered but not found, will be reviewed and if they should be in the dictionary, will in most cases appear within a few days time permitting.

Please enjoy the fruits of my labour.

- Kelvin Eldridge

  • Word Check does not offer a list of suggested words. If you require a list of suggested words, please obtain the Kelvin dictionary files for one of the applications you use.

  • Word Check in some instances is more accurate than a spellchecker, as it allows you to check against the list of actual words, which can include spaces, hyphens, periods and apostrophes.

  • Word Check doesn't allow you to create words using prefixes and suffixes which may not be actual usage. For example typing non-non as a word is often valid when using a spellchecker, as the word non has been included in the spellchecker, as have many other partial words. This does mean many more correct variations need to be identified and entered into the Kelvin dictionary.

  • Word Check is case sensitive. Enter the word as you would write it. For example Anzac can also be ANZAC, but it is never anzac. Type in Australia and not australia. If you type in australia without the first letter being capitalised, the result will be Not Found.

  • In general enter words in lower case and with the letters correctly capitalised. For example enter Melbourne and not melbourne. Entering melbourne will result in the message Not Found.

  • If you enter a word in all capitals, as would be used in a heading, the word will be compared with the words in the dictionary converted to capitals. You should avoid entering words in capitals so you can determine the correct capitalisation. You shouldn't assume that if you now use the word which was in capitals in lower case it will be correct. For example AUSTRALIA will be found, but australia will not be found.

  • There is quite a bit of confusion as to whether some words should be a single word, a hyphenated word, or contain a space between two or more words. Word Check aims to provide the correct variation. Try all three variations to determine the correct spelling. For example "ice cream" is the preferred spelling, but to determine which is the preferred spelling, you may wish to try "icecream" and "ice-cream". This is not an easy area, since in many instances the two or more words, will only be in the dictionary as separate entries, that you can test separately.

  • You may wish to check the meaning of a word. Many words which are very similar, only differ by one letter, yet mean different things, such as meter and metre, or confirmation and conformation.

  • Word Check aims to provide the correct spelling variations for a word, including possessives and plurals. These are not readily available in other dictionaries and can often be the hardest to determine as being correct. For example Word Check includes: dog, dogs, dog's and dogs'.

  • If you wish to look up the meaning of a word keep in mind the case and whether the word is a plural or a possessive can affect whether the meaning is found or not. If the spelling is correct change a plural into the singular form and a possessive into the non possessive form. For the case use the appropriate case for the word.

  • As I find things of interest to share with others, I will add further tips as comments via this blog entry.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Virus: Commonwealth Bank - Account lockout.

I've received an increasing number of these emails of late.

Account Lockout 
Please note: Your Netbank account has been locked after a pre-determined number of unsuccessful attempts.

This type of email is known as a phishing email. It is most likely attempting to trick you into revealing your bank access details. You should immediately delete this type of email.

My suggestion is to seriously think about not providing your email address to your bank. Provide other means for them to contact you. My banks don't have my email address and I've not had any issue with them contacting me. I know all emails that pretend to be from one of the banks I use, is then definitely not from the bank.

- Kelvin

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Dictionary: Is it whiskey, whisky, wisky or wiskey?

The words wisky and wiskey are easy. They are incorrect spelling. The two words whiskey and whisky, are more interesting. A check of the authoritative dictionaries for Australia show whisky to be the preferred spelling in Australia, with whiskey being American and Irish.

Always one to enjoy seeing the language used in the real world, a trip to the local liquor store showed American and Irish whisky used the spelling whiskey, and Scotch whisky used the spelling whisky.

In general, when referring to whisky in Australia, the spelling would be whisky. But if you specifically wanted to refer to Irish or American whisky, then you would use whiskey.

For the Kelvin version of the Australian English spellcheck dictionary and Word Check, you will only find whisky as the preferred Australian English spelling.

- Kelvin

PS. Word Check is a great way to check the preferred Australian English spelling of a word. The Kelvin version of the Australian English spellcheck dictionaries, will be available shortly for many of your favourite programs such as Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Opera 10, Firefox,, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey and many more.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Australian English Word Check

For those of you waiting for the next release of the Kelvin Australian English spellcheck dictionary, you may be interested to know the Australian English Word Check is now available as alpha. 

The Australian English Word Check allows you to check a word to see if it is the preferred spelling used in Australia. Word Check uses the word list for the next version of the Australian English spellcheck dictionary also known as the Kelvin dictionary. The next release is still some months off and requires a great deal of work. In the meantime, Word Check will enable you to check words and find the meaning of the word. 

You can find Word Check via this link - Australian English Word Check. You may have noticed I've added Word Check at the right of this blog.

You can also add Word Check as a search engine to your browser using the links on the Word Check page. This effectively turns the search field of your browser into an Australian English dictionary.

Why use Word Check? 

There are a large number of FREE dictionaries available on the Internet. The problem is they are all based overseas and this makes it difficult to determine if the spelling is for Australia. Word Check helps to confirm you are using the preferred spelling of a word in Australia. 

Remember, Word Check is currently in alpha, and requires many thousands of words to be checked and added before it reaches general release stage. Your feedback and comments as always are welcome.


- Kelvin Eldridge

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Virus alert: Pravda reports “Earth on the Brink of an Ice Age”

I've now received four of these emails which were sent to four different email addresses. I've called the telephone number in the email and confirmed the email is a legitimate email.

Without verbal confirmation, the links in the email, and the fact the emails were all sent from the same Australian location, would allow me to infer it was most likely not malware, had I not been able to contact someone.

The sender in this case is a political party. The spam Act as I read it, allows political parties to send spam. 

The emails however do raise a very interesting question for me. Where did the party obtain their email address list from?

Political parties have made it legal for themselves to send spam. It is however illegal for businesses to harvest email addresses and one of the addresses used, is only available via the Internet site and never given out by any other means. That begs the question, is the mailing list created internally, or purchased from a business who has harvested email addresses?

How you handle this type of email is ultimately your choice. If you don't wish to receive this type of material click on the unsubscribe link.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Friday, January 16, 2009

No more NEC in Australian retail

I read this article and thought it might be of interest to clients. It appears NEC is pulling out of the retail market in Australia. Whilst I've not previously sold NEC products, my first portable computer was an NEC and IT resellers I've known have sold NEC products.

As this applies to not just IT products, I felt clients may like to know about NEC's retail position change in the Australian market.

- Kelvin Eldridge

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Virus alert: IKEA's New Planning Software

I noticed an increase in the number of emails with the subject IKEA's New Planning Software.  The email contains the following offer:

IKEA has a Fantastic new FREE tool for home decorating. Introducing our Home Planner software which allows you to plan your home in a 3D environment.  Simply follow the instructions in the attachment and start planning your dream home today.

Also attached is a zip file with the file name and this file contains the executable file ikea.exe.

Using OzEfilter we can see we have received emails with this subject from China, the USA and now Australia. OzEfilter enables us to delete these emails at the mail server, safely away from our computer before we receive them into our computer. The antivirus software did not detect the harmful attachment. We have found over the last few months this type of email to be an issue with most of the antivirus software packages available on the market today.

The attachment has been submitted to the antivirus company we are our clients use, so our clients will soon be protected.

We would advise to immediately delete this email should you receive it.

- Kelvin Eldridge

PS. We use OzEfilter and CA antivirus to protect our computers. We've found no antivirus software to protect 100%. This combination, plus common sense, offers us an excellent level of protection. The online service for submitting suspicious attachments, can be found in MyAnswers solution 1890.

PPS. Do you need a solution to repair an infected computer manually?

I'm interested in finding out if you would be interested in knowing how to repair an infected computer and if so, how much the solution would be worth to you. If there is sufficient interest, it may be worth the time to provide a step-by-step solution. Let me know if it would have interested you if a solution was available.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Virus alert: Limited Edition Merchandise

I noticed an increase in the number of emails with the subject Limited Edition Merchandise.  This email contains the following offer which is a bogus offer.

Have yourself a Merry Christmas with Jack Daniel's. Print the coupon and head for your local outlet for limited edition merchandise.

Also attached is a zip file which pretends to be a coupon and is mostly likely a malicious executable. As with many attachments over recent months, this attachment ( is not detected by the antivirus software as being malicious even though it probably is.

You should immediately delete this email.

- Kelvin Eldridge

PS. We use OzEfilter and CA antivirus to protect our computers. We've found no antivirus software to protect 100%. This combination plus common sense offers us a good level of protection.

MyAnswers: Dialogue "Windows cannot find csrcs.exe." after removing virus.

After removing a virus from a clients machine the dialogue "Windows cannot find csrcs.exe." started to appear when starting the computer. It is not unusual for antivirus software not to fully remove all of the changes made by a virus.

MyAnswers solution 1921 shows how the problem was fixed. You can find this solution in the Recent section of the Virus section.

- Kelvin Eldridge

PS. MyAnswers solutions document nearly 2,000 solutions to problem found by a consultant in the field. A documented solution costs less than using a consultant because it is a solution which can be used by a number of people.