Randomly generated profiles of users from different countries

This post was inspired by one of Patrck McKenzie’s greatest hits, “Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names”.

As RandomProfile’s service deals with random people’s names, I decided to look into the statistics on the most unusual names way off the average John/Jane or Yui/Wei.
To make it more relevant to the audience of our website, I’m going to get into technical details a little bit. Bear with me if you just popped in for amusement.

People’s names fit within a certain defined amount of space.

The full name of Hubert Blaine Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorff, Sr., born in Germany, was:
Adolph Blaine Charles David Earl Frederick Gerald Hubert Irvin John Kenneth Lloyd Martin Nero Oliver Paul Quincy Randolph Sherman Thomas Uncas Victor William Xerxes Yancy Zeus Wolfeschlegelsteinhausenbergerdorffwelchevoralternwarengewissenschaftschafe rswessenschafewarenwohlgepflegeundsorgfaltigkeitbeschutzenvonangreifeudurch ihrraubgierigfeindewelchevoralternzwolftausendjahresvorandieerscheinenersch einenvanderersteerdemenschderraumschiffgebrauchlichtalsseinursprungvonkraft gestartseinlangefahrthinzwischensternaitigraumaufdersuchenachdiesternwelche gehabtbewohnbarplanetenkreisedrehensichundwohinderneurassevonverstandigmens chlichkeitkonntefortpflanzenundsicherfeuenanlebenslanglichfreudeundruhemitn icheinfurchtvorangreifenvonandererintelligentgeschopfsvonhinzwischenternart igraum, Senior.
His surname consisted of 666 letters (and I don’t think there is any reference to Satan here), and he owes it to his great-grandfather who fancied second, third etc. names.

The word “Senior” implies that Mr. Adolph Blaine was not in the least troubled by his name and passed it on to his offspring.

This name would not fit into varchar(255) for sure, you would need a fulltext field for it. Plus, if you had plans for displaying it on a webpage, you’d have to insert spaces or some other separators evenly throughout the surname to me it fit on the page (like I did).

Luckily Asian names spelled with glyphs are usually very short, consisting of maximum three of them.

Thai surnames, on the other hand, are commonly long, with examples such as Engchawadechasilp (17 letters) or Direkwattanachai (16 letters) worth entering a spelling contest.

Slavic surnames are also known to be very long: Spasopreobrazhenskiy (20 letters) and Christorozhdestvenskaya (23 letters) being nice examples.

Just to add to this, in the US several states limit the number of characters you may use due to the limitations of the software used for official record keeping. Time for rewriting some old software, isn’t it?

I can safely assume that this dictionary of bad words contains no people’s names in it

Until you meet Andy Phuckterpuss or Craven Moorehead.

Beware of such cases if you replace a list of words with asterisks on your forum.

People’s names are written in ASCII

Well, I think this belief is from the distant ASCII past of the first hackers. Apart from the obvious non-Latin names spelled with Greek alphabet, Chinese, Japanese or Korean glyphs, Thai, Vietnamese, Armenian, Georgian, Yiddish, Bengali, Arabic, Urdu etc. writing system, some Western names can also have funny spelling. Examples: Aðalgerður (Icelandic female name) or Dömötör (Hungarian male name). So Unicode is the best solution here. Although wait, one of falsehoods Patrick mentioned was “People’s names are all mapped in Unicode code points”. But in all honesty I failed to find such a name during my research for this article. If you happen to known one, please tell me!