Letter A letter from James Woodcock in the UK:
I thought your organ might be interested in this: I have just found (another) subtle flaw in Microsoft's Passport system.
Some of us are in the unfortunate position of having the surname "Woodcock". This may (and I would expect it to) raise a giggle. In fact, I thought there was no original way left for me to feel really narked off with my forebear that decided "Hey, Woodcock is a really good name". He might have been a purveyor of prosthetic genitals, or he might have been enjoying some particularly impressive recreational pharmaceuticals. Still, I've come to deal with it and most people just find it slightly amusing, I have not yet met somebody who thought I was inherently offensive.
That is, until the fateful day recently when trying to sign up for Passport. When I try I get a little message that says "Your lastname contains a word that has been reserved or is prohibited for .NET Passport registration. Please type in a different lastname". If only the registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages had said something similar 25 years ago...
Being temporarily unemployed, I spent a rather entertaining afternoon entering slight-moderate rude words into the sign on process. Alas, only my name and similar names were rejected. Harold Wanker, Fred Prostitute and Josiah Feltch (and Felch, I never know how to spell it, neither does /usr/dict/words) all seem to be perfectly acceptable names. So it would appear to be a mistake... (And you should hear what "Gates" means in our house).
One day later, I finally found an email address to write to to point out this oversight. Surely there is a quick fix. But no. I got an email from some polite lady pointing out what a disgusting and offensive little man my forebear was and does this satisfy my query?
I sent an email to the "I'm not totally impressed with that answer" address, but have not heard back. I still can't sign up.
You may well argue "you're lucky. I cansign up", and there would be an element of truth in that. I still can't help feeling slightly annoyed, though.
It's funny you should mention that James.
Recently, trying to corroborate a Passport story, I signed up for a new account under a name containing the "vautour" - French for "vulture". It wouldn't register me until all trace of vautour was removed from my proposed handle.
So French Vultures too are banned from Passport. Heaven only knows what's in store for the Viagra family... ®