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Wait, did you mean Wed the 15th or Thu the 16th?

How many times have you seen this happen?

Email goes out that mentioned a date like "Wed, Oct 16". Since Oct 16 is a Thursday, not a Wednesday (this year), there is a flurry of email asking, "Did you mean Wed the 15th or Thu the 16th?" A correction goes out but the damage is done. Someone invariantly "misses the update" and shows up a day early or late, or is otherwise inconvenienced. Either way cognitive processing is wasted for anyone involved.

The obvious solution is "people should proofread better" but it is a mistake that everyone makes. I see the mistake at least once a month, and sometimes I'm the guilty party.

If someone could solve this problem it would be a big win.

Google's gmail will warn you if you use the word "attachment" and don't attach a file. Text editing boxes in all modern web browsers and operating systems have some kind of live spell-check that put a red mark under a word that is misspelled. Some do real-time grammar checking too.

How hard would it be to add a check for "Wed, Oct 16" and similar errors? Yes, there are many date formats, and in some cases one would have to guess the year.

It would also be nice if we could write "FILL, Oct 16" and the editor would fill in the day of the week. Or a context-sensitive menu (i.e. the left click menu) would offer to add the day of the week for you. If the time is included, it should offer to link to

Ok Gmail, Chrome, Apple and Microsoft: Who's going to be the first to implement this?

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2 Comments | Leave a comment

I agree with the mail client checking for internal inconsistencies, but the FILL makes less sense. If you have a forward error correction inherent in natural grammar, why undo it?

1. Great idea Tom. I truly don't understand why ideas like these are not in our email clients, document editors and web browsers.

Honestly I don't get it. For all the email users out there we still pretty much have the same functionality as we did in 2002. Sure spam filters have improved tremendously, size restrictions have disappeared, filters have improved a little. But really we are still emailing like we did 10 years ago.

Also agreed on a or similiar button. Perhaps one that would allow you to click and add an appointment in your local time.

Google, will you let us mod Gmail to get this? Has open source missed out with free webmail clients and outlook dominating desktop based email? Or is OS the wrong solution to no one caring about a daily task they repeat all the time!

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