January 21, 2007

Error message iced on cake

Not much about the way we are victims to the disaster of special character encoding failures really amuses me (it wastes too much of my time and ruins too many attempts at submitting manuscripts for publication), but even I find the picture below hilarious. Courtesy of Boing Boing, it shows the handiwork of some trusting cake manufacturers who took the multilingual birthday cake message text (English and some kind of mixture of Italian and Friulian) that someone had attempted to email in, and simply reproduced in icing the garbage that spewed off the printer.

The customer is always right... I cannot say whether proprietary Microsoft HTML extensions are implicated, as Boing Boing alleges. Who am I to criticize the Enron of software? But that's a heck of a birthday cake message. I hope Aunt Elsa has a sense of humor.

[Acknowledgments: Special thanks to John McChesney-Young for alerting me to this and to Stefano Bertolo for pointing out that there was some attempted Friulian in there along with the rather idiosyncratic Italian.

Posted by Geoffrey K. Pullum at January 21, 2007 05:22 PM