or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Factual Errors

If you have an iPod or an iPhone, then you know how seductive apps can be: you poke around in the App Store looking for, I don't know, a decibel meter or a game that lets you throw birds at pigs, and pretty soon you've downloaded twenty little programs you didn't know you needed, and probably don't, but hey, most of them were free.

An app suite is a very useful thing to have: it collects many tiny applications in one place, meaning that instead having thirty things to keep track of, you have one. Here's a good one, AppBox Pro, full of little things you use all the time, or could: currency converter, tip calculator, battery gauge, translator, et cetera et cetera. 99 cents, very nice and professional-looking, works like a charm.

Here's another one, Appzilla! It has even more stuff, and some of it (of course) is perfectly useless, but as is generally the case with these things you can hide from view the ones you never use, and there are lots of things you will use: my favourite is a clever kitchen timer that is actually six timers, one for each of four burners and one each for the two racks in the oven, all laid out to actually look like a stove so you know what's what.

There's a trivia collection called Amazing Facts in there, too, and I am not kidding when I tell you that this is the very first Amazing Fact that showed up when I tried it:

First of all (we will draw a modest veil over the use of "your" where "you're" was meant), "centurian" isn't even spelled correctly: it's "centurion". Second, a centurion was the leader of a group of Roman soldiers--not actually 100, but usually somewhere in the eighties. The word that was lunged at and missed here was of course "centenarian", which has the same root--Latin "centum", "one hundred"--but is more or less a direct take from Latin "centenarius", "of or relating to 100". (Late Latin "centenarius" gave English "centenary", "a period of 100 years", in the early 1600s; two and a half centuries later, someone tacked on the usual "-ian" ending that creates a word referring to a person with that quality or trait.)

Perhaps I'm asking too much of a 99-cent application, but it seems to me that if you're going to head a piece of information with "That's a Fact!", then that thing should actually be a fact.


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