I've also been issued a driver's license for a "4TH". I have no idea how TSA would ever spot a fake. (Since they don't flag me! But I'm also in a demographic that tends to get passes in the security theatre…)
Some places just put a few letters into each field (like say for the name Jessica, first: Jes, middle: si, last: ca, or something like that). The DMV did that, and then listed her name on her license as <last>\<first> <middle initial>. Others have insisted on putting "nosurname" in the last name field. The immigration people put "FNU" as first name, and her given name in the last. At some places she's put her name twice, once in the first, and once in the last.
Not anything close to what she's had to endure, but my name doesn't fit the standard mold either. I prefer to use my middle name and really dislike using my first name (shared whith my dad, who I don't have a good relationship with). I'm endlessly having to explain every single stinking time I interact with pretty much anyone.
Anyway, the take away is, please please please (!!!) don't make assumptions about people's names! Ideally just one field labeled "name", and let the user interpret that as they see fit. If you need to collect a legal name then you need to validate it anyway. If you really must do first name / last name then at least make the last optional and also include a field for "what should we call you" or "nick name" or something.
Great ted talk about Myanmar names: https://www.ted.com/talks/cynthia_ma_shwe_sin_win_not_good_w...
This sounds dramatically overstated. Going by your middle name is normal and doesn't require much in the way of explanations. For example, my father goes by his middle name. This has led to "problems" all of one time -- when he worked for the military, they insisted on the first name. So, during that period, he used the first name.
I've have the opposite problem in Japan. Virtually everywhere insists that I use the name on my (Canadian) passport as my official name. It's listed as "Lastname Middlename Firstname". Some government offices can handle 3 names (Yay). Some government offices understand the order for Canadian names and since they often can only handle 2 names, will record my name as "Lastname Firstname" (in Japan, family name comes first). Other offices don't understand the order and assume that my single given name has a space in it. Since they can't handle spaces in their software they list my name as "Lastname Middlename". No amount of explanation will detract them as they have to do it the way they've been told.
So now I've got 3 official versions of my name in Japanese official databases (4 if you count the version that is truncated because my name has too many characters). Luckily none of their systems talk to each other ;-) -- though I had one heck of a time getting my "My Number" (similar to social security number) registered because of the confusion. I feel sorry for any Portuguese people (who often have a lot of names) who live in Japan ;-)
The situation in the US is not nearly so bad, but I've definitely heard of problems before.
You can't blame companies for using the name they give you. Are you worried about being accused of fraud or something?
I know that western naming convention is just that, a convention, but it does help to see how other cultures handled it.
Apart from all this, it is always interesting how a given system deals with exceptions.
I imagine it would be extremely difficult to operate in the US without a last name. She doesn't have to adopt yours obviously, but she could pick one.
For example Osama Bin Laden. Bin is not his middle name, and Laden is not his last name. It means Osama son of Laden. But his relatives in the US use "BinLaden" as if it were a last name.
Or, as the article says, "39. People whose names break my system are weird outliers. They should have had solid, acceptable names, like 田中太郎."
Sometimes you just gotta make accommodations to where you live. Having a last name for legal purposes doesn't really change anything about you.
If email systems were a national thing, and I'd move somewhere where they didn't accept "+" in email addresses for, say, official government communications, then .. yeah, I'd have to get a new email address.
Personally I find it much more annoying if people mispronounce my name (which happens in a personal face-to-face setting) than if I had to write my name down in a certain way on a form, to make it work with the system. It's just an identifier for the system. I wouldn't get the same SSN or phone number either--which is just about as silly to expect.
It would be nice if they had standard ways of dealing with names that do not fit in such a system, so that at least the variant to make it work would be the same everywhere else. But to demand it to be taken verbatim and work correctly in the system, that's like moving to another country and demanding you keep the same land line number.
Also, many people (and many cultures) consider adopting your husband's surname to be weird.
Even at the government level, identity isn't solved. I have two government issued IDs, both current, that contradict each other and once barred me from getting on a flight. I also have to visit the IRS in person regularly to confirm my identity. I had multiple issues with standardized tests when I was younger, including one instance where they both wanted to delete my score because they thought I couldn't fill out my name correctly and they also wanted to give me an award (which ultimately made me a National Merit Scholar) - the best part is because of the confusion on my name they had a hard time figuring out whether or not they were supposed to give it to me (as in they thought I both did and did not exist in their system due to the naming error).
The above are just a handful of examples, there are many more and those aren't even necessarily the most extreme. The only thing I know for certain is my children will not share my name, or have any weird shit attached to it.
I feel like it’s time software needs to level up, ok 30 years ago sure mistakes were made, but now if you live on planet earth you have to know how names work after how many thousands of years our current systems have been in place.
part of the issue is people writing software making decisions about 'how names work', and there being multiple interpretations of it. I've wanted - many times - to build in just 'name' in systems, vs "first name", "last name", "middle name", "suffix", etc. Because... inevitably, clients have to support someone that doesn't fit that mold. The end user probably has dealt with it dozens of times already, but it's still bad for them, and usually unnecessary. MOST of the time, we only ever take "first" and "last" and concat them on the screen anyway, then keep them separated for someone to sort via excel...
Such abstractions exist for dates, times, calendars, currencies, calculations with money, and so forth, but not names.
On the one hand I can understand it, because names are so complicated, and how would you sit down and come up with something good enough to represent all of them?
On the other hand they're prevalent in such a high percentage of line of business and consumer facing apps that it's almost ridiculous that every single developer on the face of the earth at one time or another has to come up with their own half-baked implementation.
It's especially ridiculous when you consider that so many of these home-rolled implementations, if not all of them, are rife with terrible flaws that constantly cause frustration and inconvenience to a small but significant number of users.
For those not familiar: FHIR is a standard that covers health and patient data. IMO, it's a pretty good model. (HL7 is the organization, and there are few other standards under it.)
I'm less familiar with RIM; could you link to it's definition of a name? (The best I could find suggested that it was nothing more than an unconstrained piece of text.)
The FHIR data model is a little simpler to allow for easier implementation. In the vast majority of real world healthcare use cases it works well. But from a modeling standpoint if you need to cover odd edge cases it sometimes helps to look back at the old RIM.
In terms of developer-facing complexity, this could be a laughably simple thing to use- just a type that supports equality, perhaps ordering, and conversion to string. Only the constructor would need to be complex. :)
I guess the reason this hasn't been done is simply that the implementation would never be "correct"- there is no formal specification of human names out there, and there would always be cases where some poor individual with an unusual name falls afoul of the system. Strictly fewer cases than we have today, where everyone rolls their own name system, but still some; it's not a solvable problem the way timezone conversion is.
But, on the other hand, that's the way the world is- messy. Developers are going to have to learn better best practices for communally doing our best in cases where there is no perfect answer, because there's only going to be more of such cases as tech continues to eat the world.
I used ML techniques to help smooth over some of the difficult parts (there are many difficult parts). The hardest cases are ambiguous names, for instance delineating Hispanic vs. Puerto Rican naming conventions (they're different). The fundamental approach involved pushing all ambiguity up to the end user, so they always have the option to correct the system.
E.g. is Carlos the same person as Karl?
Well, that depends. Was one of them localized, or are these the actual given names. Just this weekend I was on an offsite and saw a Spanish book about Karl Marx, or Carlos Marx as they had written it in the title, in the library of the house we stayed in.
Clearly in this instance the names are the same, but that requires knowing that Carlos Marx maps to Karl Marx and that Karl Marx is a famous name; otherwise you can't assume the name was translated.
There were many other names on books in that library. I don't know which one of them - if any - also maps to someone known under another name, because that requires me to know which person they are about.
Is Curt, Curth, Kurt the same person? My uncle had all three on different documents, and delighted in telling people about it.
What about countries like the UK, where there is no legal requirement to notify anyone of a change of name, and where a the legal way of formally changing your name - a "deed poll" is just a document structured in a certain way where you assert that you are known under a certain name? My ex is known under at least three different name combinations, all of which are present on different sets of legal documents.
Some subsets of the issue is solvable, but for example there is no way of taking a full name and returning the "name this person prefers to be known by" because the name does not contain that information. You can make a pretty good guess.
But you'll fail dramatically for people from different countries. And don't think for a second you can guess correctly based on where a name is from - many names are used in different countries, and often as different elements (e.g. firstname one country, lastname another; feminine name one place, masculine another), and many people have names that combine different nationalities (e.g. my son has a name that combined an English firstname, a Nigerian middle name and a Norwegian last name).
The only reliable solution is to not assume any one single string can be used as a generic name - you need to ask what to use within a given context and within whatever constraints you have.
But a lot of software has no need for the breakdown, and would be better served by a free-form field.
That's the most important part of the comment above: The concept of a name is so overloaded that unless you ask about the string to use for the specific purposes you intend to use it, then there is very little you can do with it.
Our partners suggested string.split(' '), which produced interesting results against the sample list of github users.
No. Just because I signed up for your mailinglist doesn't mean we're on a first name basis! I hardly even remember your business exists, do you remember me? Anything else about me except my email and my full name, from which you deduced my first name? Then let's not pretend we're buddies.
This of course depends on how "friendly" I'm willing to be with said business. Which differs if it's an Etsy store, ordering food online, my bank, insurance, etc. I especially hate it when the news letter is in fact 99% ads and promo babble, but has this 1% of useful info that I want to be kept up to date on. We're not close, I'm letting you spam my inbox, call me "your grace" or something.
Can you actually go wrong with just using someone's full name, and erring on the side of being a tad too formal? Is this just a problem with marketing companies that want to "connect" and become "buddies"?
Is this a lesser offense than mangling a name that doesn't cleanly split into first/last? At the individual scale, probably.
The impact, in aggregate, on UX/sales/utility? Could definitely go either way depending on your userbase.
Better than the slimy feel I get when a robot calls me just by my first name. You're a robot, we're not buddies.
FHIR has a relatively general definition for names, but multiple general and country-specific extensions exist for it: https://www.hl7.org/fhir/datatypes.html#HumanName
For what it's worth, in Singapore, where there are significant Indian, Chinese, Malay ethnicities but also highly westernized, the government identity card provides just a single full name. Parents can choose their children's names in accordance with their culture—or not. You can put your first name before your last name, after it, or surrounding it. Or include your father's name if needed.
For example, such basic functionality like changing sort order between given name and surname would be much more complicated.
Sometimes the dumb solution is better than trying to be clever, and it saves some trouble with localisation.
It's astonishing how often this turns out to be true, which has been probably the single most important lesson of my career. I think it's that clever solutions tend to depend on more assumptions, which rarely have P(true) = 1.
That breaks for chinese, japanese, korean, and probably multiple other types of names.
s/first name/given name
But this has it own issues, like assuming people have either a given name or a surname in the first place.
My native country, Norway, went through an assimilation period of standardising surnames a few hundred years ago. Before that your name often was in 3 parts:
First names(s) - father's name - farm/manor/village.
So names were something like "Ivar Ragnarsson of Torp" or "Sverre Haraldson Bjerkeli". (With the -son bit to say whether a son or daughter).
With assimilation into standard more Continental Christian Danish society and most likely standard registration for tax - people dropped either the farm name or the father's name in their names. And froze the father's name in the surname in future generations. And changed the -son to a more Danish -sen for all genders. So, since the 1700s people have just 2 parts to their names. Unlike Iceland which has kept the naming tradition.
However,... what is common again today is to have 2 surnames. One from each parent. Unhyphenated. Similar to the Spanish convention (first-name - father's surname - mother's surname) but not as standardised, and mostly opposite order with father's surname at the end being the official family surname. And that makes internationalised computer systems so complicated.
My children have both our surnames, both by choice and necessity so either of us can get through passport control with them. (mother's surname - father's surname). But they had to have their surnames hyphenated to be able to register their births and British passports. Which still angers me today as my family convention of the latter surname being the main one is now mostly ignored.
Bob Jones Alexander Richardson Hill
I know in England there was a tendency of people keeping both names of powerful families, then as double-barreled surnames. Which then sometimes went a bit nuts a few generations later if they married into other double-barreled families .
I think it was when I visited Stowe School, the seat of the Dukes of Buckingham and looked at the family tree, that I even saw some surnames repeated if they married into other families which shared one of their multi-barreled surnames...
I do not see this as a problem. If i know English so i can fill english-labeled form on english webpage, i would also have a bit of cultural knowledge to translate first name to given name and last name to surname.
> But this has it own issues, like assuming people have either a given name or a surname in the first place.
This is only a problem if the form validates that both fields must be non-NULL. Problem is not with the split itself but with the validation code.
People want to follow the conventions they know, even apparently if they're told it will cause issues.
(Yes, familiarity is a part of UX; but do note that this one specifically is a historical, not intrinsic, motivation)
It happened without any explanation. I had to go to the bank and ask why I couldn't use my debit card. They explained.the government had a hold on my account. I ended up having to prove I was not my dad with a bunch of pieces of ID. It took like half a day to get access to my account restored. I was 20 or something at the time. There was no way I could me mistaken for someone in his 40's.
But when designing automated systems, you can't add in a condition of "unless person doesn't look their age". If one can't use names as a unique identifier, then that leaves a number issued at birth by a central government. But as I understand, even SSNs aren't unique and get re-used.
As an aside though, cultures that use the same name for multiple people in the same family confuse me. To me, the purpose of a name is to identify, so what is the point of naming someone the same? Perhaps, historically, it was a way to establish credibility before the time of credit reports and phones.
i’d wager their desire for affiliation is stronger than their desire for differentiation. individualism isn’t as valued in many cultures.
In some Irish families (mostly older people now), people had a Gaelic derived name and a legal English name, because the authorities banished Gaelic names. When you do genealogy, it’s very difficult to track people in certain circumstances as spellings and references change.
Normally when I discover things like that which require some interaction with bureaucracy at some level, I find out on a Friday afternoon at 4pm, have to wait until Monday, then things are resolved for days because people are 'backed up' on Monday...
You shouldn't ever use first/last name fields, because they force users to adapt around your system (many names don't follow this structure). A long unstructured text fields is best, because it can accommodate nearly anyone who's name can be spelled with unicode. Finally always check your interpretation of a name with the person in question, seeing as they're the end authority.
The credit agencies also started attributing debt to my name from someone with a very similar name and social. Of course they don't like paying their loans and so every once in a while my credit tanks while I go through the process to get it cleared up. As far as I've been able to find there is no long term solution to this, I just have to deal with it every couple years.
The people I bought my house from have the same last name as me. So every time I do one of those, it asks me questions about them. I know none of their information as I never met them.
This flags more corrective correlation, so despite having a different last name for 19 years, insurance companies and Bank of America get them confused. The insurance is worse because you cannot appeal insurance data.
FORTH solved the punctuation spelling problem by systematically documenting how every word (including punctuation) is pronounced, so you could unambiguously speak FORTH programs over the telephone.
-Don O Apostrophe Dell Hyphen Hopkins The Fourth (Not to be confused with Don O Tick Dell Minus Hopkins The FORTH)
(Name changed to protect the innocent.)
Having said that it clearly sucks and is super confusing and annoying to affected people, especially given the horrendous prices some airlines demand to change the name on the booking etc.
It seems like a small thing and I'm hypothesizing but I'm pretty sure no one sane at time will risk changing this, deploying to prod and hoping that nothing breaks. There's hundreds of airlines and thousands of travel agents involved.
The rule about having a title after the name without any separator is clearly a bad design, but now you have decades of systems (and hacks) built on top of it, you can't just change it like that overnight. In the same way as you can't change how certain broken web APIs work because there's too many websites that rely on that broken behaviors.
Yet another, more local and fixable issue is the airline app which doesn't allow 1-letter last names. This is the same as the apps which helpfully validate email address and reject many valid emails. The best regex for validating emails is /@/. Anything else is probably broken.
Another big issue in the industry is that PNRs are 6-digit long and sequentially generated over time, which is a security problem, as demonstrated by CCC a few years ago. If you know someone's name and that they're flying on a given date with a given airline, you can try to brute-force-guess their PNR number and get their personal data or even change their reservation. Again, this is so rooted into the systems that it can't be changed without a massive industry collaboration - probably a years-long project with $$$ cost. For now the GDS have anti-bruteforce mechanisms in place, but it's not good enough solution IMO for a determined attacker.
In practice airlines are fairly lenient concerning misspellings, out of order names, missing diacritics, etc. The name change fee applies mostly to changing the person who is flying.
— #39, Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names
You continuing to assert that his name is in some way not real is incredibly rude.
The mere fact that you're reading about these cases here should be good enough of an indication that they're indeed not seeing it as a waste of time.
If Sabre has enough money to send Bill Clinton and Mark Ronson to Hawaii for a glorified frat party , it has enough money to tear through all but the best-funded legal challenges. (You'd think I'm joking. Nope.)
(Consider that while the government definitely has the right to tax you for road use, requiring you provide an ID to prove you paid a tax is like requiring you to carry an ID proving you paid your federal income tax, or requiring an ID to exercise free speech.)
Think about how this would go on your team. Customer service sends in a ticket to your Product owner, complaining that a customer has a problem, and called in not only reporting it, but telling you exactly what their expected fix was. Even if the team acknowledged the problem and wanted to fix it, would it really be bumped to the #1 priority, and would the team really just take the fix from the customer instead of designing their own solution?
Or would it be triaged and prioritized, taking into account all other product and customers needs at the same time?
I'm not arguing that airline customer service is great. But a post on stackexchange venting about a customer service team's lack of communication gives us zero insights into what is really going on.
We never make changes to the mainframes, we just wrap the functionality. The structure of a line cannot change as the industry relies on all airlines using the same structure. If a new "field" needs to be added to the PNR we add it as an "RM" (remark) entry.
PSA, don't assume everyone has a name of at least 2 characters; it isn't remotely true. Some people don't even have more than one name.
Never a problem, often a conversation. Sometimes I'd have to spend a little effort to be sure it said "Aaron" on my driver license. Other areas like credit cards and employment I've been more flexible, going by "A Aaron" or "Aaron Aaron," etc.
SS used to call me "Aaron." At some point they renamed me to "UNK Aaron."
Coming on two years ago, as part of a "pivot," I got my CDL, Commercial Driver License.
Up to this point my DL said "Aaron." During training my learners permit said "Aaron."
When it came time to take the CDL road test, the CDL office, separate in some way from the DMV, would not schedule my test.
"Because there must be something in the first and last name fields on the driver license."
Without investigating, I'm quite sure that they populate some CDL office record from some DMV record, and their software was written assuming that there must be two names and assuming that the DMV records would all have at least two names. But not three or more, because the programmer or requirements writer had personal experience with people without a middle name.
So I had to go back to the DMV and get my driver license changed to something else.
It too a while, phone calls, "can't you just ..." etc.
The clerk finally agreed to list me as "Unknown Aaron." Which, note, is not my legal name, just what the DMV agreed to call me. So my legal name and "wallet" name are not the same.
Now the CDL office recognized me as "Unknown Aaron." Took my test, got my permanent CDL. Which says "Unknown Aaron."
Hired on with a company which knows me as "Unknown Aaron," because they have to use my CDL name because the feds know me that way now.
Which means my health and other insurance knows me that way.
Which means my doctors know me that way.
So thanks, anonymous programmer.
I'm sorry, but if I found that name IRL I'd have a hard time not laughing. Have you seen the Substitute Teacher sketch by Key and Peele?
My birth certificate name is patterned like Andrew Bruce-Carlos Denis-Edward Fatherson. After my parents split, I had many variations. E.g. school knowing me as Andrew Charles Motherson, my bank as Andrew Bruce Motherson, etc.
Every official document was something different, so I had an official change to get the most common variants in a close-enough form that still fits on most forms, i.e. Andrew Bruce Carlos Motherson.
It still feels like a missed opportunity to go as simple as possible, and shed some family baggage.
NMN = No Middle Name
NLN = No Last Name
I ran into a similar issue with many online retailers when I was living in the inner city of Mannheim, Germany because a lot of online systems make assumptions on how a valid address looks.
Addresses in Mannheim's inner city follow the format "Char Number, Number". "A1,1" is a valid address if you want to send a letter to the district court. A1 being the city block the court is located at and 1 being the house number within that block.
I didn't get to do a lot of online shopping for years when I lived there.
Upd: reaction to this suggestion shows that some people don't understand how post office operates. They go to great lengths to understand where to deliver the mail/parcel. In most cases, addresses like "big yellow house with a red door overlooking the cliff near the lighthouse" would work. So the only challenge here is to get past the whatever dumb rule the service developer imposed on the address format. Likely it is just filter by string length.
In your case, automation actually didn't fail, it just didn't recognize your additional instruction. Probably, you could have just patched the address with an easily removable piece of tape and that would definitely trigger a human attention, and delivery would go where it should
Having a database in which every citizen's domicile is registered does have its occasional advantages.
Fair point. And that was the advice given to me by the postal service.
The sign is a flowchart, it says first, is this mail for a different address? If so, either redeliver it (duh) or write "Misdelivered" in bold leters and put it into any postbox.
If not, but you don't recognise the recipient, strike through the whole address in black pen and write clearly "Not at this address" then put it into the postbox.
This won't stop you getting more mail by the way, I still get letters labelled "Urgent" with the name of the previous owner years after I bought this place. But it does stop literally the same mail coming back since the OCR will reject the crossed out address -- it's just that the sender may not have any effective process for what to do when they get the mail back undeliverable.
Only for private unregistered mail. Registered mail is required to specify the address accurately.
But the naming in Mannheim causes a lot of issues, I remember early navigation systems having a hard time with the format. A IIRC TomTom even crashed when trying to announce the street.
Add in "user X's name changes to Y on date Z" (hard to put in a list of edge case names) and you've covered 98% of these issues.
That link of yours is very good.
He has had problems registering his bike in India, with his name.
And then the system launches and the complaints start to roll in to support.
It's not as big an issue as it used to be, at least. Before I've had online transactions failing because of a mismatch between my name (with ü), and the name on the card (with u). The systems seem more forgiving now, having handled that case or something. I also remember being a bit scared traveling to Japan many years ago, as we were told it was SOoo important that the names and everything matched to gain entry. And then the name on my ticket was completely mangled. But no one cared.
Here's a SO post about someone with the last name Null: https://stackoverflow.com/q/4456438/923847
I would have thought that people from CJK-countries were more understanding of encoding-to-latin weirdness than most, but apparently not.
It's much easier to identify mojibake (they tend to be extremely obvious in CJK encodings) than to remember canonical spellings and other variations in a whole bunch of different languages. Airport staff probably know that "oe" and "œ" are interchangeable, but that's about it.
Not in all cases. In Germany and Finland (maybe all EU passports???) ä is spelled ae, ö is spelled oe in the machine readable part (umlauts shown in the "human-readable" part). This is important to know when you need a visa.
For Germans this is not a big problem because it has been like this forever if the umlaut is not available for technical reasons. For Finns this is a problem, because this "transcription" is completely unknown in Finnish. For a couple of weeks now it has been possible to get an electronic visa for Russia on the internet. Reportedly many Finns with an ä in their name (that's not uncommon) dropped the dots when applying for their visa, because an ä is not accepted. At the border they were not allowed to enter, because the machine-readable part of the passport has ae instead.
I do wonder what happens to ű and ő though.
Ü is written as UE, UXX or U
Ű is written as U
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machine-readable_passport#Name... Hungary uses UE for Ü, but there is no reference given. According to the same article Russia uses even 2 different transliteration systems depending on the type of document.
German is more complicated though with all the substitution rules.
Not to mention Germans who actually have an ue in their name, still pronounced as ü, but written as ue only, never as ü. Or someone may be called Gross, but it would be incorrect to write it as Groß, while someone else's name may be Groß with the acceptable alternative spelling Gross when ß is unavailable.
My experience has actually improved substantially in the last 10 years or so, and most of the government systems I encounter these days actually handle it properly (as well as handling suffix properly too). That said, I've somewhat recently started having trouble checking in for flights again -- I flew last month and it took the ticketing agent >20 minutes to find my reservation on both the outbound and return flights, even despite my providing the 'confirmation code' / itinerary email (we were checking bags & flying with infants, else I'd have done online check-in).
It can be really frustrating -- though I'm hopeful it will continue improving and hopefully be a smoother experience by the time my kids are adults.
Ugh, yes. And it's insane how many people seem to just NOT KNOW what an apostrophe is.
> checking in for flights
Yea, airlines seem to be one of the worst offenders. I have Precheck but Spirit in particular is never able to match the name on my ticket to the name in the gov't database so I never get it. Just one more reason to avoid flying them I guess.
Similarly, automated check-in kiosks are then usually unable to find the reservation via credit-card or passport scan -- meaning you're back to looking up the reservation code, and even that often fails, as if the apostrophe just flat-out causes issues with the query/lookup or something.
It can be very frustrating, and I'm increasingly often impressed (and vocalize the same) when I spell my name and the agent enters it correctly AND the system flawlessly handles it, too! The DMV systems in my state are one such example where I used to have issues but, in recent years, the problem appears to have been wholly addressed/handled.
That being said last time I went to the US the person booking the ticket swapped my first name and last name. Only the person at the baggage dropoff noticed it, and after much deliberation they suggested to leave it that way. I went through with no issues apart from not being able to register the mileage.
What is worse is people who "fix" my name by moving the second half of my first name and making it part of my last name. I'm an adult. I know what my name is.
However, now that I've moved to the United States, it's been a bit of an annoyance.
The letter e with an acute accent causes all sorts of UTF-8 encoding issues with many services, not just airliners. If you interpret the UTF-8 é (0xC3A9) as ASCII it becomes Ã (0xC3) + © (0xA9), so my name often comes out as 'LÃ©on'.
Airlines make it worse, because they strip both characters during sanity checking, so my name comes out as 'Lon', which has caused me problems a couple of times as the name on my passport did not match the name on the ticket.
What these things all reinforce is that a lot of programmers take text encoding as a given, and don’t realize all the potential places for errors to sneak in.
It is amazing to me where I see failed encoding like that. For instance, many SEC filings and job ads for tech companies. I mean, I feel like I'm expected to spell things correctly on my resume and emails at work...
As latin1 (ISO-8859-1) or Win-1252; ASCII doesn't have either Ã or ©.
latin1 is the default for text, including HTML, if you don't specify in protocols such as HTTP (modulo some stupidity from the WHATWG where it might be Win-1252 instead) and Windows-1252 is the default encoding in Windows in the USA (at least, prior to the Unicode APIs being added. The old APIs probably still exist though…). So these codecs pop up a lot in places where people who don't know what they're doing end up touching text.
If the transport, content-type, lack of charset declaration, and sniffing fail to determine an encoding, both specs use defaults based on the configured locale, for English that's windows-1252 [WHATWG: 220.127.116.11 W2C: 18.104.22.168]. latin1/ISO-8859-1 is prohibited. [WHATWG: 22.214.171.124 W3C: 126.96.36.199].
Which should keep the `e` intact, while the combining acute accent (0xCC 0x81) may "only" get converted to a `Ì` which may be stripped. 0x81 is undefined in Windows-1252, so I have no idea what would happen to that, but probably be stripped as well, keeping just Leon.
Also seeing that with accentuated uppercase letters in French, even in nouns, because it's hard to type them on Windows.
People still use accents in lowercase of course, but think that it's incorrect to use accents for uppercase letters, even when handwriting.
In the earlier decades of computing, the software industry really just didn't know what it was doing too much. (Not that we're perfect now, but we were even worse back then.)
And replacing an implementation is a huge undertaking, and a lot of industries just don't bother.
This leads to a paradoxical situation where industries that most obviously need automation are the ones that have the worst automation. Before others, they pushed to get it done, and they got locked in to something primitive and/or outmoded.
The C programming language might be a good example. From a modern perspective, requiring forward declarations seems like pointless busywork. At the time it was written, decisions like that made it possible to have a one-pass compiler, which was an important efficiency gain. You could reduce I/O and maybe save RAM.
Agree. Unfortunately , the users of even the new usable systems may be loath to take up these changes. Why? I guess inertia and priorities. My mind goes back to QWERTY v/s Dvorak and how it panned out.
The top answer on StackExchange alludes to this, too.
Sometimes the new system isn't better so there's no reason to switch... AFAIK, Dvorak is not better than QWERTY (despite claims to the contrary).
I worked in IT at a hotel company when they made the cutover from a 3270 based text system to an early 90's modern Windows GUI -- agents hated it, even with command shortcuts it was slower than the old interface. Training new agents was faster, but experienced agents were much slower.
Next month when feedback from user comes, we are removing loads of rules that were supposed to be helping.
So with agile we are better now because we can remove stupid rules in next iteration and not leave it hanging there for decades.
Nice try. Fixing bugs and changing bad logic in timely manner were done ages ago when nobody knew that Agile term.
What does this have to do with Agile? You either have adequate resources (human and money) and desire to fix problems or not. Absent that issues and bugs are lingering for years in organizations that employ agile. I saw it with my own eyes.
The rationalisation is not conjecture. It's fact. Bits and baud were expensive.
And that's before getting to bitshifted storage of software and similar tricks.
SABRE dates from the 1950s. Which was a long time ago in Internet Years.
The computer it was based, the IBM 7090, on had memory storage of 32,768 words of 36 bits, about 64 KB using today's 16-bit byte. It operated at 100 kflops/s. A modern AMD-64 CPU tends around 4-64 flops per cycle, or in the neighbourhood of 4-250 gigaflops/s, up to about 2 billion times faster.
Whether history exists or not, is not the question. Whether byte misers from long ago caused this name-mangling issue, that's the conjecture part. At least one aspect of the guy's complaint was of recent origin, and ironically that was from arbitrarily insisting the name be longer than it is.
I still can't get my head around how their online check-in system was setup where this could happen.
updated for clarity
- You were on the same booking with an infant with the same name
- You were the primary passenger
- Due to overbooking people get bumped
- They usually start with comfort seats (both in your name) or an accidental double booking
- Because your son, probably underage at that time, was bumped the primary passenger was bumped too
Normally our middle initials are carried forward to the carrier's booking system and that differentiates my son and I when we fly together... but in Emirates case it seems they weren't.
I'm not Cervantes and I suppose I'm a little patriarchal, but I'm very proud of my dad's achievements and wear his name (whenever they let me) with pride.