Strange things happen when you let people choose their own name, part 2

I described last time how most parts of your entry in the company address book are closely regulated, but the differentiator is left to the honor system. Here are two and a half more examples of people who decided to do something funny with their bonus text.

A message was sent to a mailing list I happen to be a member of, and the sender's name was listed as "John Doe (O|||||O)". I told John that I though the (O|||||O) was hilarious, and he wrote back, "Also, call my phone and listen to how the autobot says my name."

I did, of course. The text to speech synthesizer pronounced his name as John Doe overtical bracket vertical bracket vertical bracketo.

Number two: Lee Holmes, PowerShell blogger extraordinaire, uses as his differentiator a PowerShell prompt. He shows up in the address book as "Lee Holmes (PS C:\> _)". Oh, and wait, it's fancier than that. The underscore blinks, albeit at a glacial rate: Every so often, Lee removes the underscore from the differentiator or adds it back.

And here's the half: Robert Hensing changed his name in the address book to Robert Hensing (EL CONQUISTADOR) (not to be confused with the shoe). This is only half of an example because I'm not going to tell you why he chose "EL CONQUISTADOR" to go after his name. I'll leave the story for him to tell (if he feels so inclined).

Comments (29)
  1. nathan_works says:

    El conquistator because he oppresses, defeats and enslaves native americans ? Did he find a fountain of youth ? Lost city of gold ?

  2. John says:

    You must be using a definition of hilarious that I am not familiar with.

  3. BOFH says:

    Wow, I don’t think Raymond was expecting the Spanish inquisition for that remark…

  4. Anonymous Coward says:

    Just because you do not get the joke, does not mean the joke is not funny.

  5. Neil (SM) says:

    >"Also, call my phone and listen to how the autobot says my name."<<

    On the other hand, I think my company phone system uses a Decepticon for its voice.

  6. Art says:

    Personally I like Pat Smith’s (o)(o). She decided to qualify that she was in fact a she since her name was so ambiguous.

  7. John says:

    I didn’t say it wasn’t funny; I said it wasn’t hilarious.

  8. Will says:

    If you’ve got a self appointed guru try and convince him to change his to John Doe (?) because everyone comes to him for questions.  If he’s not really a guru he won’t know this is a chat dumb butt.

    Was the big G’s differentiator used?  I wouldn’t think so, but it would’ve been hilarious to see him use ($) since he has so much money coming out of his.

  9. John says:

    SteveB should use a flying chair for his differentiator.

  10. Nicole DesRosiers says:

    I get many questions about my (???) differentiator; it’s actually supposed to be ズーン, but Exchange (or somewhere in between) doesn’t love the Japanese so much.

  11. bob says:

    does the El Conquistador have anything to do with the bob and tom sketch by the same name.

  12. /ls says:

    How do you get the underscore to blink?

  13. listen to how the autobot says my name

    Am I the /only/ person that updates the voice recording of my name?

  14. Robert Hensing says:

    The El Conquistador part of my name DOES in fact have to do with the Bob and Tom sketch – I suppose an explanatory blog is in order now that I’ve been outed. :)

  15. How do you get the underscore to blink?

    use Unicode Character ‘INTERMITTENT LOW LINE’ (U+31337)

  16. GeoBlank says:

    I am not John Doe but he may have been my inspiration :)

    My differentiator currently is (o||||o)

  17. The Spanish Inquisition says:

    Wow, I don’t think Raymond was expecting the Spanish inquisition for that remark…

    Sorry I’m late.

    NOOOOOOOOOOONE expects The Spanish Inquisition!!!! Our chief weapon is surprise

  18. tragedy of the commons says:

    So just to clarify, we’ve plumbed a new low – someone has nitpicked Raymond’s description of the level of funniness of the joke. It was not funny enough to warrant being described as, "hilarious" but merely, "funny."

    I wish someone could invent a CAPTCHA that would stop posts from pingbots with funny wallpaper and people with sticks up their asses. Jeez.

  19. Cheong says:

    How do you get the underscore to blink?

    By removing the underscore manually then add back at later time, loop infinately.

  20. bcthanks says:

    How do you get the underscore to blink?

    With a PowerShell script interfaced to the Exchange server, naturally.

    And since the differentiator accepts HTML punctuation, the next obvious choice is <blink>_</blink>

    Oops, there goes the honor system.

  21. Worf says:

    Alright, I can’t let the following quote from the story go unaddressed with a nice Yusheng or Igor or snarky comment. Sorry – fan of Transformers. Skip to the next comment if you rather not read such inanity.

    "Also, call my phone and listen to how the autobot says my name.""

    Snarky/Igor/Yusheng Comment: You’d think it would be Decepticons who work at Microsoft… then again… maybe they really did capture an Autobot.

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist!)

  22. Worf says:

    Now I feel like emailing the few Microsoft contacts I know and ask them what their differentiators are. But I did a quick scan of my inbox and I see one, maybe two with the differentiators listed – the rest are showing up as boring "John Doe" and such. What gives? Sometimes they leak out, but mostly not…

    Then again, I doubt they have anything interesting.

    I also may have to ask them to find out what Raymond’s differentiator is…. *grin*.

  23. DysgraphicProgrammer says:

    Of course they captured and autobot! They have had Optimus Prime locked up in their basement for years! Where do you think all the advanced computer tech comes from, anyway?  

  24. Rob says:

    Worf: differentiators are optional.  Most people don’t use them.

  25. Required says:

    Surely this is a reference to the Conquistador Coffee Company mentioned in the Monty Python sketch

  26. Another Rob says:

    Once I saw a Jeep Wrangler with an "" sticker on the back. The only problem is remembering how many l’s are in the URL.

  27. Worf says:

    @DysgraphicProgrammer: Megatron, aka NBE-1, actually.


  28. Doubt says:

    My favorite is someone who has something like John Doe (+1).

  29. KC Lemson says:

    My differentiator is:

    KC Lemson (UX Jedi Master)

    Although I’ve had that for about six months now, so I think it’s time for a change. UX Ninja, perhaps? Although that would basically just be copying the xbox emulation ninjas…

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