Re: Making up user names

Subject: Re: Making up user names
From: Steven Jong <SteveJong -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 1996 13:48:54 -0400

Jim Grey <jimgrey -at- IQUEST -dot- NET> wrote:

>> At one company, the system administrator refused to make some dummy user
>> accounts for me, so I *had* to use my own login name in the "how to log
>> part of the book.

Hmph! You should have used *her* login name in the examples! (Bitmap editing
can be *so* useful... 8^)

At one place I worked, the administrator forgot to log off after doing some
work on my cubemate's system. We took the opportunity to register a new
system user named "Duncan Doenitz" (multicultural, no?). The administrator
was not amused.

Seriously, we too have recently identified a need to create more plausible
user names. Our software performs credit scoring, which involves contacting
the credit bureaus for information on credit applicants. To test the
software's ability to connect and retrieve, we can't use either real data
(that's a violation of privacy laws) or fictitious data (that would fail), so
we use standard "magic names" that the credit-bureau computers respond to.
The problem is that our documentation has always been full of examples taken
from test systems, showing credit granted to Fred Fflintstone and Barney
Rrubble. We do want to use more plausible names; the answer seems to require
a whole "writers only" system environment that we can manipulate to create
plausible scenarios.

Frankly, using example names that are not only plausible but multicultural is
a good idea anyway. I have seen or heard of many examples of software that
can't handle "odd" -- that is, non-Anglo-Saxon -- names. One-letter names?
Can't handle them. Forty-letter names? Can't handle them. Two middle names?
Can't handle them. "Jose" is different from "Jose" with an accented e? Can't
handle it. Mc'Donald different from McDonald? Sorry, can't accept
non-alphabetic characters in a name field. The more diversity you introduce
into your examples, the more bugs -- and I say these are all bugs -- you will

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Documentation Group Leader ("Typo? What tpyo?")
Lightbridge, Inc, 281 Winter St., Waltham, MA 02154 USA
<jong -at- lightbridge -dot- com>, 617.672.4902 [voice], 617.890.2681 [FAX]

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