[LMB] OT: Personal Notes

Marc Wilson marc.wilson at gmx.co.uk
Sun May 27 08:57:24 BST 2018

On Fri, 25 May 2018 03:03:19 +0000, WILLIAM A WENRICH <wawenri at msn.com>

>When Sandia National Laboratories first started using a standardized ID for email we used first initial, middle initial, first five letters of last name. (Check my email address.) We encountered a slight problem, two members of the technical staff named Raymond W Smith. Note: Both middle names were William. 

My BestBeloved had the same name as another person in her organisation,
so they had to bodge the email addresses.  Then she changed her name to
Wilson, and all was well.  Then the other lady got married, and changed
her name to - Wilson. :)

It's a minefield.

One of the tricky issues in IT is "naming things".  This includes data

Here are two more tales.

The first corporate email system I worked on was something called
SperryLink (ran on Sperry Mainframes, under MAPPER, for those interested
in the tech details).   The site policy was that your "splink" ID was
the first three letters of your surname, followed by your initial
(naive, but lasted surprisingly long!).  So I was "WILM".  

I used to sign my emails with just "Marc".  Some careless people sent
their replies to Chris Martin, thinking Marc was my splink ID.

When this policy ran into the sand, a temporary bodge was to invert it
for new accounts - so a guy called Ian Kennedy got "IKEN".  Which he
wrote on the back of his special chair (he had a back problem) in
white-out.  He came in on April 1st one day to find someone had added:
"You Barbie!"

Lastly, and this *is* one for the geeks... my business partner worked
for a bank, which had a unix (technically, AIX) system for branches,
controlling terminals.  A new staff member needed an account on this
machine, and they set up a system to create it, and all resources
required, from a single set-up page. The local account was based on
surname (again, naive..).  If anything went wrong, to prevent the
situation where there is an inconsistent mess left behind, the system
would roll back the created resources, up to and including deleting the
user account.

All was well until a certain Miss Root joined a branch...

They changed it after that, to include personnel number as well as name.
Politics is the art of choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. 
 - J.K. Galbraith

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