More recently I've gotten out of a parking ticket in a certain municipality when a frustrated meter maid told me they saw my plates were valid, but the handheld device used to issue tickets would crash any time they tried to issue the ticket.
" VENTURES LLC"
But, I wonder how much more frequently you'd get pulled over with a plate like that.
the CA DMV lets you check for custom plates online:
*Actually long enough ago I can no longer recall whether this was something that happened while I was there or just a tall tale that was doing the rounds in the department.
-edit 'MI55ING' is available too.
Edit: as someone else jumped to mention as well. Howdy there.
However in NYC I saw a limo with the plates "1I11II1"
I do have one who's the III, only it's spelled Ill for reasons of forced capitalization.
Isaac Asimov had a series of short stories written in the form of conversations between the writer and a friend named George. George claims to have discovered how to summon a demon, and the conversations are about that demon. The demon is not allowed to directly help George, but he will do favors for George's friends.
These favors invariably do not turn out good for the friend. Each story is basically George telling the author the tale of one of these favors, and the writer trying to make sure George does not ask the demon to do any favors for the writer.
Anyway, in one of the stories George had a friend who wants to be able to do something to have a big positive impact on the world. George told the demon about this, and the demon said he'd help.
The next time George encountered that friend, the friend told George that he had been having all kinds of problems with computers. He'd go into his bank to cash a check, and when he'd get to the teller their computer would stop working. And it wasn't just the bank...anyone he encountered who was using a computer would find that their computer crashed when the friend came near. His mere presence seemed to be enough to crash computers.
This was, of course, making the friend's life miserable, and this was in the 1980s. If it kept happening it would get even worse, as computers were clearly going to become more and more common in everyday life.
George found out from the demon what had happened. The demon had indeed (irreversibly) made it so that computers could not work when the friend was near, in order to grant the wish to make a big positive impact. The demon says that when the friend is an old man humanity will be enslaved by an uprising of intelligent computers, and the friend will be the weapon that humanity will use to defeat the computers and regain freedom.
Yeah, you should probably do that.
You sound like I guy I once heard complain that The Lord of the Rings was just a collection of D&D cliches.
"I don't like the Beatles, I've heard that pop style a million times before"
Shakespeare's writing OTOH is still outstanding even if the stories are cliche (and they were cliche at the time as well)
Edit: chirality error, Samuel R. Delany
Trivia time: Issac Asimov published books in 9 of the 10 major categories of the dewy decimal system.
Personal note: I grew up reading his non fiction articles in the Fantasy and Science Fiction magazine back in the 80's.
A two-centimeter demon named Azazel
Has magical powers that dazzle.
But those who would strive
To get them derive
Nothing much and are beat to a frazzle.
ts = parseInt(jsonstr.indexOf("ts")+2);
ts = parseInt(jsonstr.indexOf("\"ts\":")+5);
Perhaps there is an internal policy with usernames and those usernames and some rights are also transferred into the app. I don't have a better idea
In the 90s, I worked for an ISP. Our very first customer was "Joe Test". We had well-meaning customer service people delete his account a few times because our billing system didn't have fancy features like a notes section.
I've been bitten many times by "People have, at this point in time, one full name which they go by." I have the same first name as my son, my dad, my grandpa, and back 6 further generations. We've all gone by nicknames or middle names. My middle name is my legal name, in the sense that it's what I do all business as (and have for my entire life).
My signature is my middle name. My credit cards have my middle name. My family, friends, teachers, students, and employers know me by my middle name. And yet, so many institutions are incapable of handling the situation and insist on calling me by my first name, which is not who I am. If my doctor, lawyer, and banker call all use my middle name, your system can deal with it or I'll find an alternative.
As someone who goes by a nickname, I find this to be a feature. If I get a phone call or email addressing me by my legal first name, it's almost certainly a sales call, and I can take appropriate action.
Oh, that's definitely a perk. "Hi, um, may I speak to... Firstname?" "No, but I can take a message."
As a bonus, my first name is ridiculously pronounceable but cold callers act like they've never seen that arrangement of letters before. Imagine being Robert Joe Smith and they ask, "is... Row... Bort... there?" If you can't even say my first name, I have no prior business with you (and almost certainly no future dealings).
In Swedish, it seems that the rhythm or composition of the full name is rather important, so a lot of people are goes by their middle name. I guess my second name seems more probable as a name.
Example: "Erik Lars Svensson" is not ok, but "Lars Erik Svensson" is. "Anna Sofia" is ok, but "Sofia Anna" is not.
Sometimes the proper name is capitalized like this: Lars ERIK Svensson...
People who call up and ask for "Dee" are invariably trying to sell me something.
> And yet, so many institutions are incapable of handling the situation and insist on calling me by my first name, which is not who I am.
False, you may not consider that your first name but it IS your legal name and at the end of the day that's really the only thing that matters. We all have to conform to some system and it can't be "kstrauser's system" or "joshstrange's system". I feel for people with drop/user/select/null/etc in their name as they've done nothing wrong, but people not using their real first name and complaining when they have is just annoying.
See, this is one of the misunderstandings from the article. Don't feel bad: many people make this mistake.
But it is a mistake.
Your legal name is the one you conduct business with. In my case, I conduct all business using my middle name. The fact that I was born with it doesn't make it any more valid than if it were a childhood nickname I'd kept around all my life. What matters is that it's the primary key I've been using to legitimately represent myself. I'm not a lawyer, but my lawyer is and I'm more inclined to side with his advice than yours here.
As a counterexample, my wife's current name is not on her birth certificate.
> Something isn't so just because you say it is.
Indeed. So we find ourselves in a teachable moment: you are wrong, but in a way that many other well-meaning people have been. I presume you find this subject interesting, so consider checking out http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-b... which is a list of things commonly thought to be true about human names but that actually aren't.
I personally love these sorts of things. For instance, I was pretty sure I knew all about how calendars work until I attended a talk buy a guy who maintains a date library. He started throwing out edge case after edge case until I gave up any pretense that I had an inkling about the subject.
It is funny to see people trying to tell you you're wrong, when it's evident this is a subject you'd naturally become quite expert at.
Basically, several entrypoints into the legal and financial systems have vetted and agreed with my lawyer's interpretation. And yet, here we find ourselves having this discussion. :-D
Wrong, at least in the US. Common law precedent allows you to use whatever name you like, regardless of what's on official documents, as long as you're not doing it for fraudulent purposes.
If you decide one day that you want to be "John Pfeffenheimer Gramblekins", you can go ahead and use that name in legal agreements and on your bills, as long as you're not trying to trick anyone into thinking that "John Pfeffenheimer Gramblekins" is a different person than your previous name.
The same principle stands behind common-law name changes after marriage.
I know a few tribal members who would disagree and be correct in doing so. There are other names you sometimes get later in life depending on culture.
> Most state courts have held that a legally assumed name (i.e., for a non-fraudulent purpose) is a legal name and usable as their true name, though assumed names are often not considered the person's technically true name.
> A common law name (i.e. one assumed for a non-fraudulent purpose) is a legal name. In most states a statutory method, while quick and definitive, only supplements the common law method, unless the statute makes itself exclusive.
What annoys me is not so much having to re-enter my name with the unaccented version of the vowel, it's when the form throws up an error message saying "Enter a Valid Name" [or suchlike]. I find that insulting.
At least make your error text put the blame where it belongs: "Sorry. This form can only handle ASCII Text". Don't insult your users by telling them their name isn't real.
Anecdotally, I also heard of a female games journalist who had trouble using a VR headset because she wore mascara. It threw off the eye tracking because the system wasn't designed to handle that.
Any designer must test his or her product on many groups of people to find these problems.
Here in Brazil, names with accents on vowels are common. Yet some banking file formats still use positional (fixed-length fields) uppercase-only ASCII files.
The format I'm thinking of also has a field in the header to specify whether the tape is formatted as 1600 BPI or 6250 BPI, so I'm inclined to think the cause is more technological than cultural.
My guess would be on the order of tens or hundreds of thousands? It's 2016. There are very few good reasons left to assume text == ASCII anymore.
Hernández, Martínez, Rodríguez, García, González, Gómez...
Luis Muñoz Marín, Luis Fortuño, and Aníbal Acevedo Vilá - all governors of Puerto Rico.
Ben Ray Luján - current U.S. Representative
There are definitely some cases where it is a testing issue, but especially with accepting all possible valid names, sometimes the cost is too high to convince the one in control of funding.
This is slightly off topic, but I recently came across a lawsuit involving German passport and their having a person's name printed IN ALL CAPS. The plaintiff was suing for his right to use lower case characters as that was how his name was spelled correctly vis-a-vis how other families who use the same letters in the same order but with different casing spelt it.
falsehoods government bureaucrats believe about names...
The package was delivered to Australia, as my local post office showed me on a printout, and lost forever.
The best I can figure out it, it was because I dared to use the accented 'ç' character in the country's name, and their computers were not able to handle this.
Click-N-Ship used to be able to handle Unicode characters but for some reason that was removed a few years ago. I always had success with it, but there must have been enough situations similar to yours that they decided to do away with it.
It's a shame. Every time we get an order from Spain and the customer uses the superscript "o" in the address, I have to substitute (normal) "o" and pray that the package actually arrives.
On a recent visit to Boston I wanted to use my credit card to buy my wife a gift at Best Buy whose special price was internet-only for store pickup. For those of us whose credit card billing addresses have non-US addresses, their special magic address to get past the US-only address form is:
10780 Kempwood Dr.
Houston, TX 77043
Do you honestly think that's a good idea? IMHO, 95% (yes, this a guess, but I think a conservative one) of people will have no idea what that means. It will only confuse them and leave them feeling stupid - don't make users feel stupid.
This is not to say you don't have a valid point, but end-users need error messages that tell them how to fix the problem, not a diagnosis.
The Irish postal system is clever enough to know that the person with this name, in that general area lives in that house. In fact, he probably still isn't even really classified by his name, rather as the husband of his wife, whose family has been in the general area for generations.
This article made me think about how he deals with online forms. His response was that it's been a godsend that finally this year Ireland has introduced postcodes. Previously, and if the form still insists on a house number and street name, he just "bashes his head against the wall."
The problem is if someone in Ireland tries to order something from a company in another country, where the computer system isn't set up to handle totally arbitrary addresses.
Even UK addresses look pretty anarchic to someone in America, where every address has a street name, a house number, a city, a state, and a zip code. UK addresses will have a postal code, and a city name, but after that there's no telling; it'll frequently list smaller and smaller towns and then some hamlet, and not have any kind of street or house number.
If you design your address-storage system to just handle two arbitrarily-long "street" lines, plus a city and postal code, that should handle everything in the UK. For Ireland, just don't require a postal code. The problem is when programmers try to place restrictions on the address to ensure it has "correct formatting". Don't do that; if you need to verify the address, there's APIs you can subscribe to in different countries to check address correctness. Doing it yourself is how these problems happen.
If you do this, just bear in mind that the APIs aren't always correct, either. While working on a project that used data from the Royal Mail's Postcode Address File recently, we found a couple of people on the team whose addresses weren't in it.
And then there's my friend whose flat has an address, but where that address has been stolen by a neighbour with a more prominent front door, effectively leaving my friend addressless.
Royal Mail don't recommend these long addresses; there's a form on their website to produce a canonical address, something like
http://www.royalmail.com/find-a-postcode (and the "Read our PAF Code of Practice (PDF)" link).
However, after moving in, we discovered that on all official databases it was "24-26 Street Name".
This caused a number of frustrations over the years. After a while we just put "24-26" on everything and be done with it.
Lately Canada Post has been trying to force them to have street names, so in the provisioning system of the telco that serves the area you get awesome addresses like "next to brown house" or "around corner from house next to brown house".
It mostly worked. Every so often we'd get a UPS driver with a bad sense of direction and we'd have to go pick up our package from our neighbors on the other side of the post office.
In fact, tons of them can not be driven to :)
After the whole 911 push, we theoretically have names for all the streets, but they are not posted.
On a serious note, where was this?
Now, the application logic is another matter and probably should be tested. But this really shouldn't be a hard problem, and it's downright shameful that so many programmers have bungled this so badly. There really isn't that much to it: you need to have two strings (and one can be null as I said above), they need to support Unicode so you can handle accented characters or characters from non-Latin character sets (Japanese, Chinese, Cyrillic, etc.), you need to handle spaces in names, and you need to not have arbitrary length restrictions (this could be a problem in web forms, but even here you should be able to make it scroll inside the box). The only valid limitation I can see is not allowing names with backslashes (in PostgreSQL, nulls are represented in SQL dumps with "\N").
5. People have exactly N names, for any value of N.
11. People’s names are all mapped in Unicode code points.
18. People’s names have an order to them. Picking any ordering scheme will automatically result in consistent ordering among all systems, as long as both use the same ordering scheme for the same name.
20. People have last names, family names, or anything else which is shared by folks recognized as their relatives.
32. People’s names are assigned at birth.
33. OK, maybe not at birth, but at least pretty close to birth.
34. Alright, alright, within a year or so of birth.
35. Five years?
36. You’re kidding me, right?
40. People have names.
What this really means is, depending on the application and how important the name is to you, you will have different requirements. You need to fit your schema to your needs. For some applications, the name may be important, and extra care might need be taken to reflect the user's entry as accurately as possible. For others, it may simply be a string you expect your payment processor to accept, and that's all you care about.
#40: Sorry, but how can you not have a name? Good luck getting an ID document without a name. That doesn't make sense.
#11: This just sounds dumb: Unicode has thousands upon thousands of characters. Only with Chinese can I see this possibly being a problem, but even here I thought Unicode did account for that. Unicode was designed to have every conceivable glyph that every language on Earth uses.
That's what 32-36 are referring to, cases where children aren't given a name for an extended period of time. Even without extreme cases. what about a Hospital system meant to be used to track newborn children? It's necessarily not going to be able to rely on a name, because it's not uncommon for children not to be named for a few days. A system such as that might want to track the children by the mother, date of birth, and birth ordering (in case of twins, triplets, etc).
> This just sounds dumb: Unicode has thousands upon thousands of characters. Only with Chinese can I see this possibly being a problem, but even here I thought Unicode did account for that. Unicode was designed to have every conceivable glyph that every language on Earth uses.
Just because it was designed to accommodate every conceivable symbol, doesn't mean it currently has every conceivable symbol. What about the symbol Prince used for his name? What about a language that's not in Unicode yet?
> There really isn't that much to it: you need to have two strings (and one can be null as I said above)
If someone has a single name, does it go in the first name, or second name spot? Is this enforced, and where?
It's not that you won't generally be served well by your suggestions, it's just that the problem space is complex enough that it's worth thinking about a little before falling back on that. It might be that you don't even need a name, or only need it for billing, and your requirements may change depending on what payment processors expect (is it okay to just save a single string for whatever full name they submit?) These are all worth giving a little thought to up front, because changing the schema after it's in use is always harder, and that goes both ways, Splitting a string into multiple name parts is hard for many of the same reasons listed here.
You don't need to support that. You don't need to cover every single edge case, and that certainly includes people who make up some crazy symbol to be their "name". I'm quite sure Prince didn't file his taxes to the IRS using that symbol, in fact, according to Wikipedia, "1993 also marked the year in which Prince changed his stage name to Prince logo.svg, which was explained as a combination of the symbols for male () and female ()." So that wasn't even his name at all! That was just a stage name. If you're making a system for anything official at all, then you don't have to worry about silly stuff like that.
(On the other hand, if you're making a system for artists which has a field for stage name, then you're going to have to figure out a solution to this one. As you can see with Wikipedia, their solution was to use a SVG file of the symbol and insert that into the text as necessary.)
>What about a language that's not in Unicode yet?
This again probably depends on exactly what your application is. If it's a US government database, then you don't need to worry about stuff like that, because they're not going to care about people using some obscure language that isn't covered by Unicode. Is there even such a language? I doubt it, not any that are in actual use.
Don't forget, just about every language has been Latinized now, so you can always fall back to Latinized characters.
>If someone has a single name, does it go in the first name, or second name spot? Is this enforced, and where?
Irrelevant. Do it however you want, it really doesn't matter.
Now again, as I mentioned before, a lot of this depends on exactly what your application is, so it's pretty hard to come up with any ideas or rules without knowing this. Are you making a database for US government use? Or something for shippers to ship packages around the world? And from what country? Something for payment processors? Based out of what country? Something for the Chinese government? The requirements will change depending on the answers.
If the government forms require a first name and a last name, for instance, and that's the law, and you only have one name, then you have to get yourself a second name. If you have a Chinese name and this is for a US government form, then most likely you have to use a Latinized version of your name. The possibilities are endless.
Why, because immigration isn't tracked in US government databases? Liaisons in other countries aren't tracked in US government databases?
> Is there even such a language? I doubt it, not any that are in actual use.
A simple google search shows that yes, there are. They may not be common, but you know where uncommonly used languages see use? In names, from people trying to preserve their heritage.
> Now again, as I mentioned before, a lot of this depends on exactly what your application is
Actually, you're saying that now. I've been saying it from the beginning. Actually, that was the point of my first comment, and the point of my second comment, and the point of this comment. You said "Assuming that you're going to require at least two names (no single-name names allowed), then a string for First Name and a string for Last Name should be sufficient." and I was trying to point out that even if we accept the assumption that you need to require at least two names, there are cases where depending on your purpose you should really examine what you really need an build your schema around that, not some simple rule summarized as two database fields of unlimited length Unicode text.
I said this explicitly in the first comment with "What this really means is, depending on the application and how important the name is to you, you will have different requirements."
The entire last paragraph of my second comment was about this.
> so it's pretty hard to come up with any ideas or rules without knowing this.
Which is my point, and the point of the linked post about names. You need to know your problem domain, and the data you are expected to encounter. It's also not what you stated in your original comment. I'll just assume you were being a bit overly assertive initially, and it's not really the entirety of your stance, because you're making the opposite argument now. We've wasted a lot of time when you could have just said, "Yeah, if name fidelity is important, know your expected data and make plans for special cases if it's important." Which, again, is exactly what I said in my second comment.
For instance, you mentioned accommodating Cyrillic letters, but you didn't know you'd need to include a field for patronym, which is not the same thing as a middle name and can't just be included in the first name field without causing potential problems.
For mailing addresses, this is all you need. Postal organizations do NOT care about your name, they just want your address and some kind of name as a check in case there's a delivery problem (or there's been a forwarding address filed for a particular name). Payment processors may need something more defined, but those are frequently more standardized by country, but usually, at least here in the US, all they care about is "enter your name as it's written on the card here...". They don't care about your actual name, they just want to match the string you enter with the string the credit card has.
Not even close; you're already off the rails with assumptions that break for tons of names. There's an easy way to do names decently, ask the user for their full name all in one field, and ask them for a nickname for use with the app and email and such. If you try to break their name down into parts, you're doing it wrong; names are not normally structured data, they're just unstructured free text.
For Ai Weiwei, "Weiwei Ai" doesn't make sense, "Ai, Weiwei" is odd, and it has to be "Mr. Ai".
John? John who? Oh, "John the Smith" with time, the is dropped - the name is carried forward despite people's profession, people post-facto come up with systems for "First" and "Last" names, but the order remains.
In Japanese, grammar flows the other way, "Ken of the mountain field" is written "Yama no Ta no Ken", "Yamada Ken" because of grammar though, the surname still comes first.
And the biggest one is Patronymic names that maintain the untouched grammar of specifying who you mean based on who's kid they are "Ori, Eric's daughter." = "Ori Ericsdottir", "Mateo's Luis" "Luis de Mateo", "O'Connor" "ibn `Amr" etc. etc.
Where is the data going, what is the transmit format, what is the data store?
Answering these questions for ascii text is easier. Answering it for utf-8 is harder. Cobbling something together for a character encoding format that can handle the median human name is challenging.
A free text field doesn't catch everything in that list.
Personally, I don't see why any company is asking for a name if they aren't billing you for something or they aren't a social network.
No they don't, they ask for a single field, name on card which is a single string containing everything on the card.
First name associated with customer’s billing address.
Required only when using a European Payment Processor.
BTW Just found this list, pretty short. Is it common in some societies still to have just one name?
The first job I took in IT, after graduating with a liberal arts degree, was in software testing for a company that made point-of-sale systems. Only a month or two out of training I was given the task to test a name and address form. Knowing that quotes were special characters in databases, I tried entering something like O'Connell as a last name. Sure enough, the system broke. I remember filing a snarky bug report about how Irish and Arab people ought to be able to use the form.
My point is that testing for quotes and "Null" as a surname isn't some kind of esoteric science. What's wrong with people!
And don't get me started if your name can't be written in US-ASCII, i.e. if it has weird squiggles above or below the characters or if it's written in gasp cyrillic.
So now American programmers assume a space in a last name (or a dash for that matter) never happens so is an illegal condition that should cause validation to fail. I don't agree
Come to think of it, I bet he reads this comments. Hi [name withheld]!
Seriously, what a great last name.
A few I know had such issues they had to drop their maternal figure's paternal last name so that they would be called by their paternal figure's paternal last name, which was their preferred name when using only one last name (using both was similar to when someone uses a full middle name calling on a person).
Unfortunately, the classic solution of escaping spaces would be unlikely to be easily comprehended by most users.
Dashes seem like accepting them would be easier than spaces, but again you have problems with multiple, leading, and trailing...
Other times, like for booking an airplane ticket it is standard practice to drop the space. Can't book the tickets without that.
But nothing compares the problems that people with names longer than 30 characters have to face. Creating a SSN card, or driver license, or pretty much any official document can be very painful. The name does fit in their systems and the attendants just don't know what to do and most of them are very reluctant in using abbreviations.
Every programmer should at least read Patrick's article that is cited in the story: http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/06/17/falsehoods-programmers-b...
And if you are naming kids and want to save them a lot of bureaucracy in their lives, give them short names.
"After a long flight I've already got my car, got to the hotel, checked in, and am fast asleep. Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Secretary General of the UN) is still stuck at the car rental counter at the airport patiently explaining his name to the befuddled clerk."
(Although admittedly, whilst I understand the humor intended, I could also see this anecdote as being perhaps a little offensive, too...)
This one, for example:
People’s names are assigned at birth.
OK, maybe not at birth, but at least pretty close to birth.
Alright, alright, within a year or so of birth.
You’re kidding me, right?
I'd love to see an annotated version.
In the United States of America it is common for females to change their name at marriage, substituting their birth surname for that of their husband.
Also, in many tribal cultures the definitive name is not assigned until an adulthood rite of passage has been passed.
Adult names also change to reflect upgrades in social status such as the completion of a PhD, admittance into a society, acquisition of nobility titles, etc.
...or maybe it's not; without expanding on the items in the list, it's kinda hard to tell.
I think it depends. Sometimes it's helpful to give them names that are just long enough to make their identities unique, so when they apply for police clearances, for example, they are not mistaken for similarly-named people with criminal records, or even nasty reputations.
One day, both my girlfriend and my mother started receiving weird messages from people, saying they hoped I would be okay, that they were "praying" for me (ugh), etc.
The mystery was solved later that day when I received a Google alert for my name and discovered a news article where someone with the same name had been at a different casino, won a large sum of money, and was later beaten and left for dead (fortunately, he survived and recovered).
This is not just a computing issue; my parents come from different continents, my wife from another and we live in yet another. Finding a name for our child that could be pronounced by all the various relatives was very hard -- we found a single phoneme name and went with that.
Our hyphenated family name is essentially unpronounceable and unspellable to most people.
- Thing One and Thing Two.. I wonder if it will fail..
Prima, Secunda, Tertia, Quarta, Quinta, Sexta, Septima, Octavia, and Decima — first to tenth daughter.
Octavia survived into modern English: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octavia_Spencer , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Octavia_E._Butler
(For the curious, I was born Martin C. Hilgerdenaar and changed my name in college.)
"To this day, there are still no addresses, parking meters or street lights, and no sidewalks outside of Carmel's downtown commercial area. Those seeking directions receive hints such as “fifth house on the east side of Torres Street, green trim, driftwood fence” or by the legendary names adorning most houses, such as “Hansel” or “Sea Urchin.”"
You might be surprised to learn that in India, all addresses are more or less like this. This is due to the fact that we never ended up with the standardised street numbers and names that a lot of other countries have, and road naming is a highly political thing in India, so a lot of people call roads by colloquial names.
A typical address in India goes
- House / Building Name (a lot of bungalows in India have names)
- Near [Landmark]
- Possibly another Landmark
- Road Name
- City Name
- Post Code
- State Name
- House name
- Community name
"But how did the postman know where the house was without a number?"
"They just knew."
"What, all of them?"
"Yup. Each postman knew their own area."
"But how did the post get to that postman? There's no postcode!"
"People in the sorting office read the addresses..."
We also had a three-digit phone number. (One of the outer isles used to have one-digit phone numbers.)
Teller (of Penn and Teller) legally changed his name to just "Teller". Apparently his drivers license reads Teller NLN for No Last Name.
Edit: ah saw the SO link now. Shoddy roundtrips to xml/soap/json can do it.
So what should I write when I order a plane ticket? Write an O that the agents looking at my passport expects or the OE that matches what the computer reads?
To quote: 'This is because the word “null” is often inserted into database fields to indicate that there is no data there.'
The story is that companies can't be bothered to hire programmers who are clever enough to know that null and "null" are not the same thing.
The story within the story is that news websites can't be bothered to get their technical stories proof-read by people who actually know the technicalities.
Equally during my training we were coding a script upon a GCOS 8 machine and had to copy current edit file to a new file and on the system (asterix)SRC was used to reference that file.
Now one person doing the exercise thought they would cheat,
looked at mine, then another chap and concluded I'd copied his and he would be clever and not make the same mistake. Turns out the other chap he was checked was with the initials SRC and whilst neither of us had copied anybodies this cunning chap ended up with (asterix)MTW. Sadly this chap went on to the systems division and too this day, still bewildered how and who he sucked up too for that position with such talents.
So names are and always will be amusing at times, in more ways than breaking a system as well.
"It is not uncommon in Portugal that a married woman has two given names and six surnames, two from her mother's family, two from her father's family, and the last two coming from her husband. In addition, some of these names may be made of more than one word, so that a full feminine name can have more than 12 words.
For the sake of simplicity, most Portuguese people have two surnames"
Those Portuguese/Brazilian programmers will not forget to accept short names they may use a nickname. Examples from football are Edson Arantes do Nascimento (Pelé), and the various Ronaldo's and Ronaldinho's. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/brazil/78105...:
"Back when Ronaldo, he of the record for most goals scored in the World Cup, joined the Brazilian team, the squad already had a Ronaldo, a defender. So Ronaldo became Ronaldinho. Then another Ronaldinho came along, and they called him Ronaldinho Gaucho, for the area in Brazil where he was from.
When the first Ronaldo was done playing, Ronaldinho became Ronaldo again and Ronaldinho Gaucho lost the Gaucho. (For everyday use, that is. He's often listed as Ronaldinho Gaucho in squads, and his official website is www.ronaldinhogaucho.com.)"
No middle name isn't uncommon, perhaps one in five people. One middle name is most common.
A second middle name isn't at all unusual. Having three suggests an aristocrat — not common, but certainly understood.
I remember a Christian friend choosing his second middle name, which I thought was weird: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation#Confirmation_name
We used to rely on this guy to break systems. Not using his name, mind; he's just a really devious programmer.
Now that I think about it, in a large chunk of the Slavic world (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus etc), the majority of people probably have no middle name. A patronymic isn't really a middle name as such.
We were still using punch cards back then.
That's such an alien way of thinking to me. I was taught that 80% of your work is spent handling 20% of the data. Is there something cultural that prevents other programmers from working in exceptions-first mode?
Maybe it's just with boring business logic. I've heard that the most robust networking applications are written assuming constant worst-case failure states. Anyone have any insight into this phenomenon? I get that there are practical limits to what you can plan for, but if you're accepting string input, shouldn't you at least be prepared for apostrophes?
So, don't fix that particular system, thanks very much.
Keihanaikukauakahihulihe'ekahaunaele, pronounced as:
Rough meaning: 'When there is chaos and confusion, you are one that will stand up and get people to focus in one direction and come out of the chaos.' It also references the origins of her and her husband's family."
Either programs deal with these cases more intelligently or some family names will stop existing, virtually speaking.
I have lost count of how many different versions of my last name I have since I moved to the United States. My health insurance, car insurance, apartment contract, driver's license, passport (this one has the correct name) are all spelled differently because some systems here don't accept white spaces on last names, so they add dashes. They length constraint is a short number, so they concatenate my 3 last names into a humongous word. Etc.
I always find it funny, except when I need to, say, take an official certificate test and the name I put on the registration doesn't match to one on the IDs I bring, therefore I can't get admitted into the testing center.
Of course I learned how to work with the system by now.
Inevitably, on the first day of a new class, the teacher would call out attendance, and would briefly pause with a puzzled look on their face, and attempt call me "Ala"? "Allah?" while my friends snickered in the background.
I'd sigh, and say "No it's Alan" and the teacher would correct the attendance sheet and we'd be done with that, for that semester at least.
Until there was a substitute, and we'd start the whole process over.
These days, I don't mind people butchering my last name, and when I have to spell it out over the phone, I endure the occasional comment about it. I take it in stride, as I myself struggle with ethnic asian names. However, I get very testy when someone butchers my first name (it happens more than you would expect).
For people who don't know Tony, he's is a British computer scientist, probably best known for the development in 1960, at age 26, of Quicksort. He also developed Hoare logic, the formal language Communicating Sequential Processes (CSP), and inspired the Occam programming language. 
Location (City, Country): Singapore
In any case, there is no county of Greater London. Greater London is an 'administrative area' - have a read of the London Government Act 1963, which created it, and abolished the county of London which had existed before. That's why we have a Greater London Authority (and before that a Greater London Council), rather than the London County Council we had when London was a county. Of course, everyone treats it as a county because it would be maddening not to, but that's a bit like how everyone treats Washington DC as a state of the US (oh, we should add Washington DC to that list).
Legally, there is no 'London' which is a proper subset of Greater London (other than the City of London, which is a red herring in this case). So putting "London, London" is directly analogous to putting "Singapore, Singapore".
The New York case is different, but it still involves writing the name of your city twice. If anything, it's even sillier, because the whole state is named after one city.
EDIT: clarify about the GLA, GLC, and LCC (i hope)
A fun example is Fairfax, which is both a county and a city, and while the city is surrounded by the county, it isn't part of the county. Weirder still, Fairfax, the city, is the county seat for Fairfax, the county.
Note that city and state isn't really a problem for residents of New York. The city is still in the state, and the official address will read "New York, NY," which is repetitive but correct.
I still suffer when LLOYDS online bank cannot accept my long name in certain forms, stripping the last 3 chars.
During my US time, I met no systems capable of storing and displaying Eastern European diakritical chars.