A continual annoying bugbear...

Automated systems that assume *all* surnames have an initial capital letter, with all further letters in lowercase and no spaces. Aaaarrgghh!

Which developers do this?
Come on, own up!

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@fitheach I knew a guy named "ffarrington" once.

At least it was all ASCII.

Aye, so is mine: Mac Donald. The space between the c and D causes all sorts of problems. Automated systems often can't make up their minds whether I am Mr Mac or Mr Donald. Even if I assume the space will cause a problem, and I omit it, the capitalised D often gets transformed to lowercase.

@fitheach @mpjgregoire wife has this issue but even with paper and human systems. The admin folk seem to think she's an idiot that bot can't spell and doesn't understand the concept of middle names.

My ex had a double first name. Not hyphenated, and the second name wasn't a middlename. No system ever coped with that.


@fitheach @basil @mpjgregoire not exactly sure what the software is but the guy in my office was saying a server/service he supports hangs whenever someone using the webpage of the service searches on a surname with an apostrophe in, such as O'Connor. He has set a cronjob to restart the service twice a day as it causes it to crash so often.

> He has set a cronjob to restart the service twice a day
The IT equivalent of making the repair with duct tape.

@basil @mpjgregoire

@fitheach @mpjgregoire
It took me two long years to get "Mc Intosh" into the French system of birth certificates.

I can't imagine what my cousin with the surname ni Mathúna must go through...

@fitheach @mpjgregoire It was the space. It's apparently easy for new names, but for my parents names, they had a different bit of software (sigh)

That reminds me of the old Star Trek joke.

How many ears does Captain Kirk have?

Left, right and space, the final front ear.


@fitheach Canonical resource:…

> I’ve worked with Big Freaking Enterprises which, by dint of doing business globally, have theoretically designed their systems to allow all names to work in them. I have never seen a computer system which handles names properly and doubt one exists, anywhere.
Cannot find the blog of that programmer what-was-his-name. No first name. No last name. Full name Wookie (or something).

For sure, names are a hard nut to crack.

Here's a revolutionary idea: just accept what the user inputs.

@fitheach @clacke i guess the problems arise when you wanna personalise the UI with greetings like that. just storing it should be no problem.

Yeah, typically greetings or addresses.
I don't see the problem with using what I enter. Their perceived chumminess is ruined when they mangle my name.


@fitheach Yes, one freetext field is the only thing that could work.

So evergreen that @clacke linked to it further up in this thread. 😃

@fitheach I recently submitted my kid's name to buy a plane ticket.
My submission: Firstname Last-Name
Email received: Hello Firstname Lastname,

Why would you do that even to last names?
@hypolite @fitheach Suddenly imagined that you would be the proprietor of an ambulating animal companion service Pet-o-Van.

Need to hug a dog? Call the Pet-o-Van!

I think I recognise that problem. Salutations also have cultural & social implications. In some cultures/demographics it is frowned upon using someone's firstname. So, the obvious solution is to use surname, but that also has it problems. You might not know if the person you are addressing is Mr/Ms/Miss/Ms/etc. Using "Dear <firstname> <lastname>" is one way around this issue.

@fitheach I don't have any problem with the greetings in general, but notice how the dash and the middle capital were simply removed between my submission and the display in the email.

@fitheach Oh but Scottish, Irish, and Spanish surnames are do rare in the world, why bother (grrr)

I should start using the Gaelic version of my name in the form Mac Dhòmhnaill, just to be difficult. 😃

@fitheach My cousin tries to use the English variant Mahony when she can, but her legal name is in Irish, so sometimes she's just stuck 😂

That will be a topic for a future post: variations in the Anglicised versions of Gaelic/Celtic names.

Mahony is probably more commonly spelled Mahoney, as in the actor John Mahoney. The late Mr Mahoney is best remembered for his role as Martin Crane (Frasier's dad) in Frasier.

@fitheach Her brothers go by O'Mahoney ... I'm not sure why she chose the version without the e. Nor why they kept the O'

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