I think this person’s monitor is broken: It doesn’t know how to render text in capital letters

Some time ago, somebody asked a question about why, when they do 1 and 2, they get extra thing 3.

"The extra 3 is there because of the 456 feature. BUT DO NOT DISABLE THE 456 FEATURE JUST BECAUSE YOU DON'T LIKE 3. The 456 feature is important, because it ensures that 2 runs to completion. Otherwise, you risk data loss."

The person wrote back, "I disabled the 456 feature, and that fixed it. Thanks!"

It appears that that person's monitor is broken: It doesn't know how to render text in capital letters.

Comments (24)
  1. pc says:

    Could just be the default font in their email reader, and not the monitor.

    Actually, setting one's default reading font to one that sets the kerning between adjacent capital letters such that they all overlap and just make one big blob may be a clever idea…

  2. Maybe they're willing to risk the data loss to get rid of 3.

    [That's not a particularly nice thing to do to their customers, especially since this was a primary workflow scenario. The "good" news is that the data loss, if it happens, is consistent, so at least they will get bugs like "When I add an order with more than 200 items, the items beyond 200 are randomly corrupted." -Raymond]
  3. Damien says:

    I haven't used a terminal for years. Every monitor I've used in the last ~20 odd years has just faithfully put pixels where the graphics controller/card has told it to. So I think it's their graphics card that's broken, not the monitor. :-)

  4. Joshua says:

    This from guy at work. Name removed to protect the guilty.

    Rollback in SQL Server will take 19 hours but 19 hours are not available. Therefore, terminate the rollback thread.

  5. Bradley Uffner says:

    Decades of popup ads have trained me to ignore things in all caps.

  6. Paul says:

    Maurits, that's the obvious conclusion, but then I would expect them to say so or at least be less light-hearted in their response.

  7. Felix says:

    His monitor only displays relevant text to his current issue. Data loss is another team's issue and will only display on their monitors.

  8. AC says:

    1) All caps text is hard to read and annoying. That's why lower-case has been invented in the first place. Try reading a book in all caps without losing track. (Apparently the devs of everybody's favorite IDE didn't realize that, but that surely backfired)

    2) Let Darwin do his work and let him have all the data loss in the world. He got warned, it's his problem.

  9. bzakharin says:

    It's a good idea to disable the 456 before they start taking our children. I think killing 2 is a small price to pay.

    Sorry, couldn't resist.

  10. Why did they want to avoid 3?

    [It looked ugly and didn't match their design spec. -Raymond]
  11. Ken in NH says:

    Thus we learn the importance of burying the information by placing the warning before and after (and optimally intertwined).

    (And caps were rendered just fine.)

    What the was sent:

    "The extra 3 is there because of the 456 feature. BUT DO NOT DISABLE THE 456 FEATURE JUST BECAUSE YOU DON'T LIKE 3. The 456 feature is important, because it ensures that 2 runs to completion. Otherwise, you risk data loss."

    What was received:

    "THE EXTRA 3 is there BECAUSE of the 456 FEATURE. blah blah blah"

  12. Dave H. says:

    It sounds like you weren't clear enough with the text in caps. Was the email formatted with HTML? you should have used the <blink> tag.

  13. Thinkeye says:

    The proper answer were "The 2 can not be finished properly without doing 3."

    Don't mention the feature 456 in this scenario, unless they say that they don't care for completion of 2 and ask how to break it.

  14. Data loss says:

    The reason is simple. All the text data after the first sentence has been lost.

  15. Gabe says:

    Data loss: You may be onto something!

    I bet there was a at the end of "The extra 3 is there because of the 456 feature.", which caused the recipient program to thing the message ended there.

    If only they had used a C# program to read their email instead of C!

  16. Antonio Rodríguez says:

    Customers always read what they want to read, not what you want them to know. In those cases, you need to use your psychic powers to know what they want to read, and omit that.

  17. I am not going to assume that the customer indeed disabled 456 just because he said so. In all the probability, he just wrote that back to make a point that he does not take orders from you.

    Microsoft engineers in Michael Crichton's novels are overbearing duds that deserve being stand up to or even abused. I'm not saying you should read too much into a work of fiction, but I am also not saying no body does!

  18. Yuhong Bao says:

    The funny thing is there was actually Teletypes for example that can't do lowercase.

  19. cheong00 says:


    The good news is that he didn't ask "so is there any alternative to 456 that won't bring undesired effect 3?", then when received "No" as reply, begin muttering cursing words.

  20. Neil says:

    I don't get why they didn't want 3, it's 7 they should be afraid of, because 7 8 9.

  21. ThomasX says:

    > "The extra 3 is there because of the 456 feature.

    Solution: Remove the 3.


  22. Eddie says:

    And that's the problem with octal, no sense of humor.

    "… because 7 0 1"

  23. Theo says:

    @Eddie, "Seven owed One"?  Maybe that's why he had to eat 9, he was in debt and couldn't afford food.

  24. Marc K says:

    Where can I get some these monitors?  Then I could set up a rule to display email from certain individuals only on the special monitor!  Then I will resell them with 500% markup and become rich!

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