I Need My Space

4 March 2008

Sprint has changed the web interface for their mobile phone service customers. Some of the changes increase functionality for the user. Others appear designed to increase security, for which increase I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of convenience.

But they got my back up by refusing to accept my last name as, well, a last name. When I removed its blank space, the name was deemed acceptable. But my last name is two words. A lot of people have multi-word last names.

It's trivial to write computer code that will tolerate spaces in last names, and we are long past the day when computing power was so dear that the cost of running such code was prohibitive. In some cases, an issue can arise because some members of a family spell the name with a space but others do not; however, it is also trivial to write code that, for various purposes, treats names as equivalent if they only vary in terms of blank spaces. (This will also creäte some problems, but these problems are a proper subset of those that would exist if people were simply forced to report their names as if they had no blank spaces.)

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One Response to I Need My Space

  • 28bytes says:

    Interestingly, I dealt with that exact issue today. A customer wanted to enter their last name (which had at least one space) in our system, and I had to tell them sorry, since the powers that be say no spaces. They could have a hyphen if they wanted (but just one), but no spaces. Needless to say, they were frustrated by this.

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