Sailor Mode -- Now that's what I call a feature!
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 23 Jun 98 11:00:29 -0700
Subject: Sailor Mode -- Now that's what I call a feature!
The dirtiest minds of all belong to the censors.
-- Peter Langston
Forwarded-by: "B. W. Fitzpatrick" <email@example.com>
KIDS' SOFTWARE IS CURSED BY A BUG
An educational software program has exhibited an unusual glitch -- under
certain circumstances it can spew forth language that would make a sailor
blush. "Secret Writer's Society," a product of Matsushita's Panasonic
Interactive Media, is a writing program for children that, among other
things, recites their compositions back to them in a computer-generated
voice. The problem is, there's a bug in the filter that's supposed to
prevent the text-to-speech function from reciting foul language, and instead
of suppressing those words, it delves into the archives of prohibited words
to string together streams of obscenities that go "way beyond George
Carlin's seven banned words," as one parent who tested the program says.
A Matsushita marketing manager says she has heard of only two instances of
the problem, both using a Macintosh and both times, when a lot of memory
was in use. But the editor-in-chief of SuperKids, which reviews educational
software on the Web, says that he was able to activate the glitch simply by
writing a passage longer than just a few sentences and double-clicking the
mouse instead of single-clicking. "It's got a very expressive vocabulary,"
he notes. (Wall Street Journal 17 Jun 98)
© 1998 Peter Langston