Luck O’ The Irish to You

17 03 2009

I mean Luck Oapostrophe The Irish to you. I’ve been struggling for years with the special character in my surname name O’Connor. The apostrophe, which originally took the form Ó, indicates that my father is the grandson of Connor. But many computer systems cannot handle the apostrophe because they view it as a string delimiter, and therefore get confused when it shows up in a name.

Cycle way back to my first computer assignment: write a program to read in a string containing your name and print it back out. Anyone who’s ever taken a CS course knows this one. However, long after our classmates had left for Teds, only my good friend Scott O’Brien and I were left struggling in UConn’s basement computer center. Yup, we were suffering from the dreaded apostrophe syndrome while the Smiths, the Jones, and even the McCabes were off drinking beer.

And I ran into the same problem recently while I was booking a flight on the Aer Lingus website – check this out:

Like the mantra of eradicating short date formats back in the yesteryear of Y2K, can’t we Irish computer geeks band together to make the apostrophe a first class citizen? Eradicate the lazy string delimiter checking…

Well that’s my wish for the day. Now this Irish geek is off to find some good green beer. Signed, Amy OapostropheConnor

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