back to article Who knew that hosing a table with copious amounts of cubic metres would trip adult filters?

Friday is upon us so take a moment from glumly hitting refresh on your government website of choice and join us for a story of abbreviations and adult filters in today's edition of On Call. "Kate" (for that is not her name) contributed today's tale, which concerns the time, five years ago, when she was tasked with staffing a …

  1. Little Mouse Silver badge

    One of the funniest support calls I overheard was when my colleague had to explain to a local elderly councillor, at her insistence and despite his repeated warnings, exactly what some of the words in her spam email meant (yes, including "c*m")

    She was perfectly fine about it, and my poor colleague managed to keep it professional, but he was visibly squirming and very red faced.

    1. Dinanziame Silver badge
      Angel

      She probably enjoyed the whole thing

      1. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Inbetweeners Image

        Jay in a care home!

      2. Claptrap314 Silver badge

        He might have filed a sexual harassment complaint...

      3. Alan Brown Silver badge

        My mother would do that simply to see the support people squirm

        1. hoola Silver badge

          When I worked at our local authority as the person who looked after email had to deal with a number of "Elected Members" who could not spell and kept having emails rejected. "C*M was one probably the most common and a pain to deal with. Unfortunately many of these people firmly believed that they were right and we were there to do what they told us. How many of these councillors ever got to where they were was a complete mystery but having seen how the behave, it does not surprise me when we hear of local and county councils having issues.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            In any such situation, we always need to remember. Councillors are nominated by their friends in the party and elected by a public who know very little of them beyond their label. Some of these, in turn will rise up the party ranks and be nominated for parliamentary elections.

            So once idiocy gets in the rot can spread far and wide. And like any kind of rot, it's easier to get it in than to eliminate it.

      4. ShadowDragon8685

        Old birds like that are either so highly-strung the slightest vibration causes them to snap, or they've run out of fucks to give so long ago that they find it funny as all hell, and are the dirtiest birds imaginable.

        Ribald joke my grandmother liked to share: You should always look to, ahem, 'service' older women, because they don't yell, they don't swell, they don't tell, and they're grateful as hell.

        So she was probably, if anything, trying to stop herself from slapping the table laughing.

    2. Glenturret Single Malt

      Thank you, Little Mouse, for solving my lack of understanding of the whole article. As I read it, I had been wondering where I could find out what was remotely offensive about the use of m3 instead of m superscript 3.

  2. man_iii

    Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

    Im lost...how could cm3 trigger anything? Is there some unknown. .. ouch ...pls tell he didnt do cusecs thing and cu-b- m -eters. ... yeeesh english shorteners. Please use full values and strike these down these short form terms.

    1. Len Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

      CM3 is a cubic centimetre. You mean a M3.

      But yes, I had never heard of this other way to abbreviate a cubic metre either.

      1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        It's probably used in construction, mining, forestry, freight or something similar

        1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          Perhaps used by gash-eating engineers?

          E.g.

          https://certifiedgasheating.co.uk/

          1. tip pc Silver badge

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            i bet they are getting a lot of different traffic today.

            how long before they are offered money for their site.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

              One has to make sure, if you are browsing Pen Island's wares, that you use the .net and not .com website.

              1. I code for the bacon

                Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

                Just like Dickson Web dot com

            2. phuzz Silver badge

              Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

              And I'm sure many of us have in the past looked for the answer to a question on expertsexchange.com. These days they use the slightly different URL experts-exchange.com.

              (Until they started locking the answers behind registration and I imagine their traffic dropped off a cliff. Of course, I'm sure the exec that came up with the idea got a nice bonus anyway.)

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

                We already did that one, phuzz. Twice.

          2. schmeckles65

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            Best of all, their motto is "Do It Right...Do It Once..."

        2. Wyrdness

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          "It's probably used in construction, mining, forestry, freight or something similar"

          Forestry? By lumberjacks? Leaping from tree to tree? As they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia?

          1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            > Forestry?

            Like that website where arborists can share trade craft: aboristsexchange.com?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

              Used to have a list of domain that people should really have thought about a bit longer before using them, but can't find it now. A couple of them still spring to mind though. Expertsexchange.com now have a hyphen in their domain and the original is parked. Therapist.com also now seems to be owned by a domain parking service as well, so don't know where all the therapists go now.

        3. the Jim bloke
          Headmaster

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          Mining and earthworks tend to use BCM for 'bench cubic metre' and LCM for loose cubic metre, or just 'cubes'. Not much use for quantities smaller than that - although the linear dimensions used to achieve such cubes can be very finicky if you are pursuing a seam of gold, or doing final trim on some piece of construction.

        4. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          "It's probably used in construction, mining, forestry, freight or something similar"

          Freight, definitely. Coincidently I just saw an unrelated TV documentary where the camera happened to linger on the doors of a standard shipping container. It had all it's vital statistics stencilled on the doors including, at the bottom of the list, the volume of the container in CUM and CUFT.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            Fleabay has a fine example of just such a shipping container:

      2. MJI Silver badge

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        m3 not capital M, always small m

      3. Andy the ex-Brit

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        Instrumentation & flow measurement engineer here. I have never used CUM or anything like it for cubic meters. I don't need to use superscripts either, as superscript 3 is readily available as ASCII 179. On number pad, Alt 0179 gives ³, which I use in m³, m³/s, etc.

        1. the Kris

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          That's not ASCII but Unicode.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

      Surprised here as well. I read the entire article wondering how in heck could m3 trigger any filter whatsoever. Then I noticed the link on "well known abbreviation" and followed it.

      CUM ?

      Never heard of that as an abbreviation for cubic meter.

      I do, however, fully understand how that could trigger a filter.

      1. John Robson Silver badge

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        I assumed it was the abbreviation `cumec` - pronounced queue-meck.

        Although that's M^3s^-1

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        Thinking about this, about a million years ago I was involved round the edge some project or other where the engineer sometimes wrote CuM for cubic metres ( of soil to be shifted). But they were transcribing a conversation we'd had, not writing a technical document. (Something along the lines of "We informed the client that we would need to move 300CuM of earth").

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: We informed the client that we would need to move 300CuM of earth"

          Q: Did the earth move? If so, how much? [answers to be given in standard units]

          -

          /coat

          1. You aint sin me, roit Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: We informed the client that we would need to move 300CuM of earth"

            0.1199 Olympic sized swimming pools.

            Use the correct units and you don't have to worry about your CuM being rejected.

            1. Rich 11 Silver badge

              Re: We informed the client that we would need to move 300CuM of earth"

              I note that 0.1199 Olympic-sized swimming pools is only slightly short of the volume of one lane of a standard eight-lane Olympic swimming pool. Is there something you'd like to tell us?

      3. the Kris

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        I've only ever seen cu.m being used, never CUM.

    3. Grease Monkey Silver badge

      Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

      Yep. I'm surprised you can't tell the difference between cubic metres and cubic centimetres too.

      Inches and centimetres maybe, but metres?

    4. katrinab Silver badge

      Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

      I would do m^3 if I wasn’t able to use m³. It is actually only fairly recently that you could rely on computers to display Unicode correctly, and playing around with fonts to give the correct appearance can cause other problems.

      I’m guessing he used the capital letters in “CUbic Metres”.

      1. Norman Nescio

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        This is where punctuation becomes useful, as cu. as an abbreviation of cubic would be fine, so cu.m would be cubic metres. I have seen plenty of cu. yds, but no cuyds.

        But it shows the problems with simple pattern matching filters - taking context into account would allow things like summa cum laude, end everything would be oojah-cum-spiff.

        I wonder what Plum would have made of his novels not making it through spam filters.

        1. Paul Cooper

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          Or even place-names - "Stow-cum-Wendy" is a real place!

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            "Stow-cum-Wendy" is a real place!

            I wonder what the brothel there is called? (and do they have a piano player?)

            1. Shez

              Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

              As is Chorlton-cum-Hardy

          2. Lotaresco Silver badge

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            ""Stow-cum-Wendy" is a real place!"

            So was "Yeardsley Cum Whaley" until county border changes erased the name.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          But it shows the problems with simple pattern matching filters - taking context into account would allow things like summa cum laude, end everything would be oojah-cum-spiff.

          You should see some of the weird pattern matching on Fanfiction.net's discussion forums. You can call someone "Richard", but not by his 4-lettered short name (at least they merely blank out the "offensive" bits with asterisks, and not outright reject the messages).

          1. molletts

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            ... the weird pattern matching on Fanfiction.net...

            That must make life difficult for Dick Tracy fans.

            Given the way fanfic seems to lean, judging from the few times I've been persuaded, against my better judgement, to dip my toe in the slightly-murky waters (and usually regretted it), I'm amazed that there's enough left after it's been filtered.

            Reminds me of something a garden-bird-enthusiast friend told me about - he and a group of like-minded people once tried to set up an online discussion group but got fed up trying to find ways of discussing the mixed flocks of tits that regularly descended on their feeders without having their messages rejected for profanity.

            1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

              Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

              Given the way fanfic seems to lean, judging from the few times I've been persuaded, against my better judgement, to dip my toe in the slightly-murky waters (and usually regretted it), I'm amazed that there's enough left after it's been filtered.

              It's still possible for it to be cleaner. My own work tends towards the "Shojo-ai" end of yuri, and no "lemons".

          2. WorsleyNick

            Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

            And yet you could call someone that scatalogical term a "Richard"?

        3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

          Stiffy Byng would not be amused. (christened "Stephanie" evidently)

    5. NITS

      Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

      1 cm^3 is, for all intensive porpoises, equivalent to 1 millilit(er|re). It's 1e-6 m^3. So, not the same.

      The one that gets me is the medical usage mcg. Every time I see it I ask myself "wtf is a milli-centigram, again?" I think that they intend it to differentiate milligrams from micrograms. I wonder why they don't use ug like us engineers do.

      When I started out, capacitors were sized in mfd and mmfd; that's uF and pF now, kids. And frequencies honored the great German inventor, Heinrich Cycles.

      Get off my lawn, you kids!

      1. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

        Re: intensive porpoises

        Please tell me this wasn't typed in using a keyboard.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: intensive porpoises

          Not even a b0rken keybr0ad?

      2. Dante Alighieri
        Headmaster

        Re: Cubic metres? cm^3? ?? What is its abbrev.??

        Except it is MICROgrams and U is used for UNITS as in IU (international units)

        mu-g is too close to mg - and a 1000x overdose or other confusion.

        It is standard in healthcare. I have prescribed in all the above scales. And still occasionally do so.

        Should we consider

        1k5, 1.5k and 1500 ohms

        Circuit diagrams with the former are much easier to be certain.

        And isn't a cubic meter a measure of volume not length so technically 1000 L or 1 kL (ducks, runs and hides)

  3. WanderingHaggis

    Had a similar one back in the day

    A colleague had sent a social commentary / study on a country where he worked to several of interested parties. He referred to the socialist tendances and the filter did see beyond cialis making him unable to deliver his report much to the annoyance of all involved.

  4. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Inside joke?

    Certainly not worthy of a whole On Call column. The abbreviation for my employer's name ends in SH and we are the IT department, we laugh about it in the office, never heard anyone outside the office catch it...

    1. Little Mouse Silver badge

      Re: Inside joke?

      Not a rude one, but the name of the first IT dept I ever worked for was RECIT.

      They eventually added an "E" onto the end, but the damage was already done.

      1. iwi

        Re: Inside joke?

        one place I worked had a long running project called Common Finance Initiative. It needed its own helpdesk. But management didn't want it to be called a 'helpdesk'. They wanted something more cuddly. They went with the 'care team'. until they realised the helpdesk team would answer the phone by saying "hello, CFI Care"

        1. Crypto Monad

          Re: Inside joke?

          I heard (perhaps apocryphal) that the US computer company Wang originally decided to launch a service package called Wang Care. They later changed it to Wang Guard, which wasn't all that much better.

          A quick web search confirms that Pen Island, maker of branded business gifts, still has their original domain name online.

          1. MJB7
            Headmaster

            Re: Wang Care

            Given that Robin Williams managed to get a character called Mr Wanker into Mork and Mindy, I think it is safe to assume that an American company wouldn't have had a problem with "Wang Care". (Robin Williams *did* know the British meaning of the word.)

            1. H in The Hague Silver badge
              Pint

              Re: Wang Care

              "I think it is safe to assume that an American company wouldn't have had a problem with "Wang Care"."

              A year or two ago a Commentard mentioned that they changed the name at the insistence of their UK office.

              Time for -->

              Have a good weekend.

              1. low_resolution_foxxes Bronze badge

                Re: Wang Care

                It's not just small companies. Orsted (offshore wind farms) recently rebranded from "Danmark Oil & Natural Gas" when they were expanding in the US markets.

                'DONG Energy' wasn't considered suitable.

            2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

              Re: Wang Care

              For some nice, questionable names zooming right by the American censors, I refer to James Bond. Prime examples include Pussy Galore (Goldfinger) and Dr. Holly Goodhead (Moonraker).

              1. jake Silver badge

                Re: Wang Care

                "zooming right by the American censors"

                What censors were those, pray tell? Try as I might, I can't seem to find hide nor hair of any censors that would have had any affect on any Bond movies distributed in the US.

                It may surprise and offend you lot across the pond, but over here on this side there is no Federal Government censorship board for the Entertainment Industry. Never has been, either. It would seem that Adults in the US are allowed to view what they like, with no Government applied nanny state rules to say otherwise (unless it is criminalized elsewhere, child porn for example).

                Yes, the Motion Picture Production Code was self-imposed censorship, but that ended in 1968 with the MPAA rating system ... neither of which mattered, because the Bond films weren't made by Hollywood until 1983's Octopussy, at which point arguably they were no longer Bond films anyway.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Wang Care

                  Oh come on, the USA TV scene is one of the most prudist around.

                  Remember "funsters" dubbed in?

                  The biggest problems with over-censored movies on UK TV were caused by the TV station acquiring the version meant for American TV, rather than the cinema release.

                  Oh, and show me a US TV (free, over the air) that would broadcast a woman singing hymns whilst men waved their penises (in full view) in tune. (https://www.digitalspy.com/tv/reality-tv/a28852964/naked-attraction-contestants-penis-church-hymn/)

                  Even the YouTube clip had to be censored, because... America.

                  A country where a nipple is exposed on TV and there's more outcry then when there are school shootings.

                  1. jake Silver badge
                    Pint

                    Re: Wang Care

                    You seem to be operating in a state of confusion, First of all, so-called "broadcast TV" isn't a part of the Entertainment Industry. Rather, it's part of the Advertising Industry (with a few exceptions, which I'll get to below), As such, they operate under the guidelines set by the advertisers, and codified by the advertisers bitch, the FCC..

                    Fortunately, we also have cable and satellite broadcasters. These folks are not quite as tied to advertising as broadcast TV, and as such they can pretty much broadcast what they like. And they do. There were a few shows similar to your Naked Attraction back in the late 80s or early 90s, but they faded away as interest went away. Seems nobody cared after the initial titillation. Every now and again someone comes up with a new version of pretty much the same thing, but the public collectively yawns at it.

                    Note that one exception to the Broadcast TV being run by the advertising industry is PBS. They are free to broadcast pretty much what they like over the air. I've see stuff essentially similar to your penis church hymn on more than one PBS station, supposedly in the name of "art", not as a game show, although again, that was years ago and the novelty seems to have worn off, so nobody bothers anymore.

                    YouTube doesn't censor because the Federal Government says so, rather YouTube censors because their advertisers say so. And please note that I can find a copy of that clip anyway, because it's not banned by the government, so it's hardly censored.

                    The nipple "outcry" was three or four namby-pamby curtain-twitching hand-wringers who do not speak for the general population, although they think they do. And unfortunately, some of them have access to a platform that allows them to voice their supposed "outrage" where more than their own family can hear it. Don't judge us all based on a handful of prudes ... unless you want us all to judge all of you by the antics of the likes of Mary Whitehouse.

                    Have a nice weekend, this round's on me.

                    1. stungebag

                      Re: Wang Care

                      There are two things wrong with this. The first is that you seem to think there's Government censorship of entertainment media in the UK. There isn't. There are regulators established by parliament but they're independent and are concerned with taste and decency as well as, for the film industry, deciding the rating.

                      Your second, bigger, mistake is in your definition of the word censorship. You in the US have it, whether it's imposed by advertisers, public opinion or politicians, and you have more of it than we do. Yes, you can produce just about what you like, but try getting it in front of a sizable audience.

                      You say you've had shows like Naked Attraction in the US. I bet they were niche and subscription only. This show is put out in prime time by a free to air public service broadcaster. It is completely mainstream. It's a dating show where almost the very first part of six people we get to see is their genitals. That's both men and women, straight and gay (to a small extent). And not just shot from a distance.

                      And it's funded by advertisers. The 'advertising partner' is Dominos, others buying time for an online episode I've just looked at are Western Union, Asda (a Walmart subsidiary) and Which!, our equivalent of Consumer Reports.

                      Try putting that out on NBC and attracting that type of advertising.

                      This is the UK. Our attitudes are staid compared with some other European countries and places such as Australia, but so far from yours. You remind me of the UK in the 1950s.

                      And that's just media censorship. There are many places in your country where standing up and saying you were atheist would be career, social and especially political suicide, so people keep quiet. Similarly on issues such as abortion and gun control. They are, in a very real way, censored, as saying the wrong thing will lead to repercussions.

                      No, you not in any meaningful way free of censorship.

                      1. Stevie Silver badge

                        Re: Wang Care

                        The first is that you seem to think there's Government censorship of entertainment media in the UK. There isn't.

                        *koff*D notice*koff*

                      2. AK565

                        Re: Wang Care

                        There's a general prudishness that's taken hold of the USA in recent years. From what my younger colleagues say, most gentlemen don't shower in locker rooms unless there are private stalls. The 'towel dance' (look it up; it's actually a thing) is employed lest anyone find out that the dancer has the same equipment as everyone else in the room. The list goes on...

                        1. jake Silver badge

                          Re: Wang Care

                          I haven't noticed that at all. Maybe it's an East Coast thing?

                    2. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Wang Care

                      Fair enough, Jake. And programmes like "Naked Attraction" are absolute drivel - I wasn't supporting the show in any way!

                      But your "Mary Whitehouse" comment got me the most... *gulp* Well played Sir!

                      2nd and all subsequent rounds are on me!

                  2. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                    Re: Wang Care

                    "in tune"?

                    And I think the truth is that Siemens didn't ever have an office in Staines, but I may be misinformed.

                    1. The Aussie Paradox
                      Childcatcher

                      Re: Wang Care

                      Siemens didn't ever have an office in Staines

                      Wasn't Seaman Staines a character in an old cartoon?

                      oh! Captain Pugwash!

                      1. Outski Bronze badge
                        Pirate

                        Re: Wang Care

                        No, nor were Master Bates or Roger the Cabin Boy part of the crew of the Black Pig either. These were student gags from the 70s and 80's, rehashed by Victor Lewis Smith in the Guardian, for which the Graun had to pay damages to the creator.

                        Obvious icon ------>

                        1. The Aussie Paradox
                          Paris Hilton

                          Re: Wang Care

                          No, nor were Master Bates or Roger the Cabin Boy part of the crew of the Black Pig either. These were student gags from the 70s and 80's, rehashed by Victor Lewis Smith in the Guardian, for which the Graun had to pay damages to the creator.

                          Yea. I read about that after posting mine. I think I suffer from the Mandella Effect. I still swear I heard the names when I watched it as a child... I also remember my mothers incredulous look, which she never explained why.

                          Paris, because she possibly did things people want to forget. ---->

                  3. Anonymous Coward
                    Anonymous Coward

                    Re: Wang Care

                    The most extreme tv edit of a movie I can recall, is Alex Cox's Repo Man. Many instances of "Melonfarming melonfarmers" overdubbed by an actor with a completely different voice.

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Wang Care

                      I remember once watching Naked Gun on TV in the USA.

                      It's the scene where Priscilla Presley in a short skirt climbs a step ladder, and Leslie Neilsen looks up. He is dubbed to say "Nice One!" Then she climbs back down the ladder - carrying a stuffed beaver.

                      With the dubbing it makes no sense at all!

                      1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

                        Re: Wang Care

                        It doesn't terrifically make sense the way it originally happened.

                        I just consulted Wikipedia on the film "Mr Majestyk", in which Charles Bronson is, actually, a melon farmer. He has a farm, he grows melons.

                        But what the bad guy calls him is different...

                        "melon picker".

            3. stungebag

              Re: Wang Care

              Didn't Wang, of Wang Labs, go on to set up a company called Wangco? And I see that there's a US company called Wanco (https://www.wanco.com/) so I don't think the Americans would bat an eyelid.

            4. NullNix

              Re: Wang Care

              Not just American companies. None other than the great Jack Vance, perhaps one of the finest wordsmiths then alive, wrote a book titled _Servants of the Wankh_, silent h and all. Admittedly, he wanted the book's title to be different, but the Wankh *were* a pivotal species in the book and he definitely didn't see anything wrong with their name. Many years later he renamed them to the 'Wannek' after being told what 'wank' meant in Britain.

              If Vance didn't know... it's safe to say that next to nobody in the US did other than immigrants from countries speaking British English variants, at least not a few decades back.

              1. AK565

                Re: Wang Care

                I grew up outside of Boston. We all knew what wank(er) meant, just as we knew lift and torch. We never used it but everyone knew it whsn they heard it.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Wang Care

                  Same in California, which I've pointed out a time or three, but saying so is a waste of breath. For some reason the British think they know more about what happens in the US than the people who actually live here ... despite the fact that most of them have never traveled as far as Hull.

            5. Glenturret Single Malt

              Re: Wang Care

              Some years ago, it seemed to me that BBC announcers reading the shipping forecast started taking much greater care to enunciate separately the components of Gale 8.

          2. Ken Moorhouse Silver badge

            Re: I heard (perhaps apocryphal)...

            A company called Anchor something-or-other gave strict instructions to anyone answering the phone that they use the terms "Good Morning Anchor..." or "Good Afternoon Anchor...", and never "Hello Anchor...".

          3. jake Silver badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            Dr. Wang told a roomful of Silly Con Valley luminaries and hangers-on that he got over the locker-room derived humo(u)r of his name during his first year at Harvard, but we should feel free to snicker at it if we liked. In his opinion, it said more about the person doing the snickering than the owner of the name. He further said this applied to any name.

            1. molletts

              Re: Inside joke?

              One of my ATPL ground school instructors used to get very annoyed (quite understandably) at all the sniggering that occurred every time he mentioned the fast erect button on some gyro instruments.

              I know it's immature, but I still find it amusing.

          4. Juan Inamillion

            Re: Inside joke?

            Yep many years ago (before I was in IT actually) I /cough/ came across Wang Care. It was related to some computer equipment on an early very high end synthesiser (Synclavier, since you ask). The staff at the distributors apprised me of it straight way, to much nudge nudging.

          5. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            Wang Care really existed back in 1982 or so. Sales agents in my neck of the woods were careful to call it Wang's product care package

          6. Lotaresco Silver badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            A quick web search confirms that Pen Island, maker of branded business gifts, still has their original domain name online.

            It is very important, in a work context, to note that www.penisland.net is the domain name for Pen Island. Do not confound it with www.penisland.com.

            This has been a public service announcement.

        2. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: Inside joke?

          ...until they realised the helpdesk team would answer the phone by saying "hello, CFI Care"

          Might that not have counted under "truth in advertising"?

        3. phuzz Silver badge
          Facepalm

          Re: Inside joke?

          One of the companies we work with has a Time and Attendance system, which leads to tickets asking about the T&A system...

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Inside joke?

      Could be worse. I had to work alongside a System Control and Test team. Whose American manager at no point went, "Let's promote ourselves as SCT instead."

      1. A K Stiles Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        It's not that long ago that a team near me renamed themselves from A(and)SS to S(and)AS instead, for some reason...

      2. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
        Pint

        Re: Inside joke?

        In Adelaide, South Australia, the Flinders University has/had a very popular canoe and kayak club with matching and equally popular t-shirts.

        I kid you not.

        Lots of this involved, no doubt -----------------------------------------------------------------^^^

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inside joke?

      We have an office in Shanghai, they have an IT team and often have an intern join them. For some reason, they decided to not setup the interns with a full new account each time they get a new intern, and instead use the same account for all of them.

      This means that anything the intern works on gets recorded in SVN as shitintern, which I thought was a bit on point - at least when you're looking at the history and saying "Who the fuck wrote this old bollocks... aah, the shit intern"

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inside joke?

      Senior Head of Information Technology

      Or as one lady? called me the Little S.H.I.T

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inside joke?

        Very early on in my career, I worked for a small subsidiary of Serco called "Project Engineering" who started to find themselves doing quite a nice little sideline in network installs for other companies and wanted to spin this off into a separate business.

        The manager concerned called for suggestions for a name, and we came so close to getting him to agree to "Project Engineering Network Integration Services" before he finally twigged.

        1. rototype

          Re: Inside joke?

          Nearly as good as when the Polytechnics were changing over to being Universities, Newcastle Poly narrowly avoided being remaned to City University of Newcastle upon Tyne. (I think it was the sports bods that gave them the headsup on that one)

          1. Dante Alighieri

            Re: Inside joke?

            I remember the story on Metro radio - news announcer couldn't continue when he worked it out (?Alan Robson)

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inside joke?

      Remember Remedy?

      I used to be a Support Engineer for their Action Request System.

      Yes, I was an ARSSE

      1. Hopalong

        Re: Inside joke?

        Ahh... ARS, I was always hoping that they would bring out an extended version and they would add an 'E' to the end.

        I always called the little yellow finger icon to created a record an 'Marigold' for some reason.

        1. iwi

          Re: Inside joke?

          Company I worked for in the 1990s DID extend/customise ARS and proposed calling it ARS-E until someone pointed out the obvious. At which point it became EARS

          1. Psmo Silver badge
            Paris Hilton

            Re: Inside joke?

            ELBOW, shirley?

            1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
              Joke

              Re: Inside joke?

              I know plenty of folk who couldn't tell their ARS from their ELBOW.

          2. Dwarf Silver badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            @iwi

            And the company in question was based in Vauxhall and their office was a lovely mushroom brown colour on the outside.

        2. AndyMTB

          Re: Inside joke?

          When PCs were first being rolled out in the Aerospace factory I worked at, slowly replacing DEC's All-in-One offering on a Vax cluster, they had a tedious habit of locking-up/not booting/disconnecting from the network (Pathworks over Decnet - there goes all the old 386 protected(?) ram. One bright spark I workd with suggested a Fast Action Response Team to dash around the facory to sort things out. He would have got away with it too, until he suggested we leave calling cards in case the user was away at lunch -"You've been FARTed". You know who you are, Frank!

      2. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        I remember Remedy. Or rather, a reasonable implementation of it, and a "what drugs were the people who coded this on taking and NOT SHARING" implementation of it.

        1. Down not across Silver badge

          Re: Inside joke?

          Remedy. Ah yes, I recall being asked to pull some data out of it.

          The obfuscation of the schema was infuriating. It's not like it stopped anyone from writing their own queries/reports, just meant wasting a lot of time working out how to map the table/column names to something real.

          Drugs probably would've helped, as it was I settled for copious amount of beer.

    6. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Inside joke?

      "Certainly not worthy of a whole On Call column. The abbreviation for my employer's name ends in SH and we are the IT department, we laugh about it in the office, never heard anyone outside the office catch it..."

      There's a tanker firm here in Scotland who's domain name is wemovesh.it, domain redirects to their actual company name.

      1. ICPurvis47
        Devil

        Re: Inside joke?

        When I was working for a tyre company, we used to write the name of the truck company on the removed tyres before storing them, so that their fleet manager could inspect them and decide whether to scrap them or send them for retreading. One of our regular customers was a brewery named Whitbread, whose most popular product was Whitbread Tankard. One of my colleagues (not me, I hasten to add) always wrote their name on the tyre as Titbread Wankard, and left it in plain sight from the road. Mr. Plod used to come around occasionally to have a quick gander at the assembled stack of discarded tyres. Another of our customers was a coach firm who had several contracts to supply school busses. One day we had a coach in for four new tyres on the back axle, one of the old tyres was not only down to the canvas, but through the steel cords as well, and had two fringes of rusty wires around the shoulders of the carcase. Mr. Plod was _very_ interested in that one!

    7. Anonymous IV
      Alert

      Re: Inside joke?

      I'm sure I've told this one before, but in a previous century our company had a department which existed quite happily for a long time as "Organisation and Methods" (O&M).

      A new and rather dubious Chief Exec then joined the company, and for no obvious or logical reason decided to change this department's name to "Systems and Methods".

      After this rename, the members of the department delighted in answering the telephone with "S&M, how can I help you?"!

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        Were they part of the BDSM Ovement?

        https://bdsmovement.net/

      2. Androgynous Cupboard Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        A friend in sales & marketing for a rather large firm was delighted after he persuaded them to put "Head of S&M" on his business cards.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inside joke?

        Should we called that a ruined ORGASM opportunity?

      4. AK565

        Re: Inside joke?

        S&M can also mean 'Standing & Modelling'. It's used to describe a gay bar or event at which most of the patrons are neither drinking, dancing, nor attempting to pick each other up. I first heard that on Fire Island years ago.

    8. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Inside joke?

      Not an abbreviation but some bastard form of contraction: a former employer's HR system assinged me the user name «bug». Rather apt for working in IT.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        I worked with a guy who was called Terrence Tester (or Terrence Test, I can't remember now). Nice enough guy but he frequently had problems where his details were spuriously deleted from databases.

        1. J. Cook Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Inside joke?

          Heh- My 'catch all' testing account is Robert Tables, from the XKCD comic.

          1. stiine Silver badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            If I ever have to change my name, I'm going to become Robert Oot and hope the my clients have first-initial last-name account names...

            this also reminds me of www.expertsexchange.com before they bought a hyphen.

            1. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: Inside joke?

              I worked at a place where your files were given you Initial Middle and Last name. Mine works out as TMP. The number of times I was asked to delete all my files that were clogging the disk when large runs made lots of temp files.....

              1. JimboSmith Silver badge

                Re: Inside joke?

                My doctor who was absolutely lovely was finishing her training to be a GP. She was as I think all doctors are referred to by her last name and initial. Sadly this spelt (phonetically) a slang term for the female genitalia.

          2. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            I had a friend of Breton origin who insisted that his name, beginning with Ker, was spelled K' since it was the proper way to write it down, triggering some failures at the time in all IT system it was entered into...

            1. Norman Nescio

              Re: Inside joke?

              I had a friend of Breton origin who insisted that his name, beginning with Ker, was spelled K' since it was the proper way to write it down, triggering some failures at the time in all IT system it was entered into...

              Thank you for he opportunity to link to one of my favourite informative web-pages:

              Falsehoods Programmers Believe About Names

              Obviously, old systems had to deal with quite limiting constraints, so blaming an old system for being limited to say, ASCII, would be unfair. On the other hand, there are some brain-dead assumptions being made, even today.

              NN

              1. Stevie Silver badge

                Re: Inside joke?

                Names are chicken feed to what many UK web-programmers think addresses should look like, or what constitutes a "legal" phone number.

                Why yes, I have done business with small manufacturers and local govt in the UK in the recent past. How did you guess?

                One site I was just required to use first insisted that a legal phone number only have a certain number of digits (and naturally, the pattern was only legal for UK phone numbers despite the site being for the use of foreigners as well as Those Now Standing Alone Together). I complained about that, and it was fixed, but then the address accepted "USA" as a valid country but converted it to UK when the document was finalized.

                Then there's the sites that insist I fill out the address, then tell me they have a better suggestion (usually involving the zip+4) and when I accept that the site generates an address format error.

                Other sites trying to sell me stuff have address fields with regex guardians that don't believe anywhere outside the UK exist. I honestly think they'd be better off just dumping it all in a textbox feeding a CDATA parameter, and letting a human sort it out.

                Then there are the idiots telling me they don't like my browser and want me to use umbongo, chrime or gooseygoosey (download here). That one usually garners a "LOST SALE" email to every email address I can find on the site on account of I have no nostalgia for 1997.

              2. Man inna barrel

                Re: Inside joke?

                This reminds me of the story of Mr O, who had many attempts to apply to study at a British University. He filled in the form, left the first name blank, and put 'O' as his name. The form was rejected, as you had to write your full name, not just initials. But O was his full and only name. Mr O wrote a covering letter to that effect, and resubmitted the form. Another rejection, addressed to Mr Only Gonly. So he put that name on the form, and was accepted.

                One on my colleagues at Bradford University was Mr Fok. I think the jokes ceased to be funny some time during fresher's week.

                1. Terry 6 Silver badge
                  Pint

                  Re: Inside joke?

                  Pint because it's a weekend and for being a Bradford Uni person. (It's probably much changed since I graduated several decades ago - Harold was still Chancellor in those days)

        2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

          Re: Inside joke?

          > his details were spuriously deleted from databases.

          I bet that had him feeling a little testy.

        3. Ian 31

          Re: Inside joke?

          Shiny new change control system was implemented where I work. Part of what was required was that every single stage had to have the initials of the person who would do it, whether in the business or IT, entered in the relevant column. First one I submitted was rejected with a snotty 'generic use of IT for whoever will do a piece of work in a change control document is not allowed'.

          I politely replied that if the sender cared to look at my full name at the top of the submitted form s/he would see that my initials were, in fact, IT, and that I had conformed to the data entry format specified in the documentation provided for the shiny new change control system. That change request went through.

          This issue popped up again though as the change control team staff changed. I'd send the same answer, rinse and repeat. Eventually the change control manager emailed to ask did I have a middle initial and could I use that as well? Technically against the documentation, but who was I to argue. I replied saying that I was happy to do so, but as my middle name is Christopher it probably wouldn't help.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            How did the change control manager react to that? One can only assume the answer is not well.

    9. Ochib

      Re: Inside joke?

      We had to change the name of an IT system that was due to be installed from Patient Information Support System to Hospital Information Support System

      1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        Our proposal for the Problem/Error Notification Information System survived two technical reviews before a name change was enforced by the budget holders.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Inside joke?

          BUM = Business Unit Manager, AKA Sales Managers , so rather apt!?

      2. The Oncoming Scorn Silver badge
        Paris Hilton

        Re: Inside joke?

        WISAT (I forget what it stood for, but something in Global IT) became Wankers in Shirts And Ties.

        SLAG - Stragglers Loopers Action Group (Research Machines trouble shooting team of PC's with multiple failures).

        Icon - See RM

      3. Ian 31

        Re: Inside joke?

        Working in local goverment was involved in developing an application to handle the ordering, despatch, invoicing etc for the sort of large bins you'll see behind many small to medium sized businesses. Application developed, tested and accepted. Then came the vitally important question, what is it to be called? We pushed for Commercial Refuse Application, CRApp. I was surprised how far that got before someone in senior management said no.

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Inside joke?

        Boooo!

    10. John G Imrie

      Re: Inside joke?

      Lawers Morison and Fosters website is https://www.mofo.com/ and yes they do use MoFo as an informal name.

      1. IHateWearingATie

        Re: Inside joke?

        I've never worked out who thought that calling a firm of solicitors "Wright Hassel" was a good idea. I know its the names of the founding partners, but really?

        (They're based in Leamington Spa should you want to look them up)

        1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

          Re: Inside joke?

          I was about to remark on a local law firm that had a name that when spoonerised indicated how horribly slow they could be, but then realised a potential public libel of a law firm is not a good idea.

        2. H in The Hague Silver badge

          Re: Inside joke?

          Wake & Paine funeral directors in Twickenham is also somewhat unfortunate. Been like that for decades, have actually driven past their shop.

      2. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        As I recall from the many posts on Groklaw about the whole SCO/Linux/unix mess, they are retained by IBM and and also referred to as the Nazgul.

      3. Outski Bronze badge
        Happy

        Re: Inside joke?

        There's a law firm Bird & Bird, who have the domain twobirds.com which I always thought was quite amusing for such an organisation

    11. tfewster
      Facepalm

      Re: Inside joke?

      One company I worked for had a strategic growth programme called "Winning The Future".

      I got a lot of childish amusement from the regular email updates with the subject "WTF"

    12. Wyrdness

      Re: Inside joke?

      Back when Siemens had their headquarters in Staines, the receptionists apparently used to answer the phone with "Hello, Siemens Staines"

    13. JimboSmith Silver badge

      Re: Inside joke?

      I had a fun afternoon once years ago testing out a spam filter. A mate working in another company had sent me an email from his work address about the christening of his offspring. I replied and I received a reply that my email was rejected owing to the "use of language" in it. I called him up and he said he had no idea what was going on. Eventually we narrowed it down to my saying I thought the choice of venue was "bad ass". We tried bad arse which also was rejected, as was arsed, pissed etc. I then spent what remained of that Friday afternoon with him and me sending emails finding out what words triggered their filter. I don't remember if we got round to cum but I doubt it.

      1. Peter Gathercole Silver badge

        Re: Inside joke?

        I got pretty fed up one evening when talking to the support centre for a Unix variant, when mails out to them containing the output of what I was doing did not arrive.

        Apparently, the mail system applied a filter on both incoming and outgoing mail of the company, a large UK bank, which took exception to fsck and blackholed the mail, and me cutting and pasting in the actual text from my screen into the mails triggered the exception.

        It took a while to work out what was happening as well, because the messages back to me about inappropriate use of language were sent overnight, not immediately. The following morning, I was deluged by these messages. I phoned the help desk of the company I was working for, and had a thankless talk while they tried to explain that it was a common euphemism for a banned word, and I tried to explain it was a real command that would be used in real technical conversations, and eventually ended up scanning about 10MB from my own personal junk spam log (this is before HTML mail) to prove that it really wasn't common at all.

        Didn't do any good, so I explained to the rest of the team that they had to avoid using the real command name when using mail.

        I want to have an experiment sometime to see how many common words I can make into euphemisms by using them in dodgy contexts.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Inside joke?

          "I want to have an experiment sometime to see how many common words I can make into euphemisms by using them in dodgy contexts."

          One would think all of them. English is wonderfully flexible that way. Anyone who doubts this should read an annotated version of Shakespeare sometime.

          Kind of makes the current bickering over blacklist/whitelist and master/slave in technical documentation seem exceedingly pointless and more than a trifle puerile, no?

          1. tip pc Silver badge

            Re: Inside joke?

            “ Kind of makes the current bickering over blacklist/whitelist and master/slave in technical documentation seem exceedingly pointless and more than a trifle puerile, no?”

            NO IT DOESN’T MAKE IT POINTLESS AND PURILE

            1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

              Re: Inside joke?

              It does.

              1. Victor Ludorum

                Re: Inside joke?

                Oh no it doesn't.

                (It is supposed to be panto season...)

    14. Falmari Bronze badge
      Thumb Up

      Was worthy

      Most certainly was worthy, just for the humorous double meaning of the following lines.

      The emailed report was festooned with the abbreviation for cubic metres. Positively spattered with it.

      It was hardly surprising the firewall had spat it out.

  5. jake Silver badge

    Don't you just love teh metrics ...

    Good thing the gas engineer didn't use the term stère instead of Cu M ... He would have undoubtedly been busted for trying to solicit wood while at work, and we can't have that now can we.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

      Pedantic mode

      Stère is actually only used in forestry. At least in France. It depicts a 1mX1mX1m of *piled* heat wood. Cut and piled in normally 1m long bits.

      For other forestry than heat, m3 is used because you normally measure the trunk so this is an accurate measure, without all the holes of piling them up.

      1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
        Joke

        Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

        And as some say in Belgium:

        Ah ben, si on parle de s'taire, c'est pas comme ça qu'on s'entendra

      2. MJB7

        Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

        Ein Stere is the normal unit for purchasing heating wood in the southern Black Forest too...

        1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

          Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

          As that is right along the French border and has been French territory in the past, I can't say I am surprised. On the other hand, the Berlin dialect is also quite heavily influenced by French (but for very different reasons).

      3. jake Silver badge

        Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

        "Stère is actually only used in forestry."

        Gee, really? I never wood have guessed.

        What is it with people insisting on explaining jokes around here all of a sudden, anyway?

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Stère

          ...it's an anagram?

      4. NITS

        Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

        What we here in West Pondia call "cordwood", a cord being a stack of firewood 4 ft high x 4 ft wide x 8 ft long, or 128 ft^3. When I lived in Maryland it was illegal to quote firewood prices in units other than "per cord" (or, presumably, per fractional cord) -- no "$xx per truckload".

      5. Old Used Programmer Silver badge

        Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

        So....the metric version of a cord.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Don't you just love teh metrics ...

          Well, yes. I thought everybody knew that ...

  6. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge
    Trollface

    Scunthorpe still far out ahead in this race?

    Not to mention Penistone...

    1. chivo243 Silver badge
      Coat

      Just read this one today...

      https://nypost.com/2020/11/26/austrian-village-named-f-king-changes-name-after-unwanted-tourist-attention/

      What kind of king?

      1. LogicGate

        Are you talking about this place https://youtu.be/bawmxQE_Fj0 ? (NSFW audio)

    2. yoganmahew

      I'm old enough to remember when Middlesex and Essex were blocked by spam filters. Made a mess of my fantasy cricket. Hmmm, a quick G, sees it's still an issue: https://www.computerworld.com/article/2767791/spam-filters-blocking-ontario-county-with-a-racy-name.html

      It seems we have both much and little to fear from AI...

      1. PerlyKing Silver badge
        Happy

        Sexy times

        I've heard that ERNIE used to be called a sex maniac because so many winners lived in Essex, Sussex and Middlesex.

      2. H in The Hague Silver badge

        "I'm old enough to remember when Middlesex and Essex were blocked by spam filters"

        I wonder how anyone living here copes with those filters:

        The Manhood Peninsula is a large peninsula of land to the south of Chichester. The name is thought to derive from the Anglo-Saxon maene-wudu meaning ‘common wood’ or 'common land'.

        https://peninsulapartnership.org.uk/where-is-the-manhood/

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Always look twice to see if you misspelled "peninsula", and precisely how. ;-)

      3. JohnGrantNineTiles

        Back when e-mail was new our local planning department had a problem with e-mails containing the word "erection"

    3. Manolo
      Joke

      Or Clitheroe

      1. Unoriginal Handle

        Or Wetwang ? https://goo.gl/maps/oTQRS1g3f2nBq7rf6

      2. JeffB

        Or that famous Hebridean village that describes many politicians...

        1. Rol Silver badge

          would that be Cuntstable country?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Or Clitheroe

        Don't think Ernie ever found it

    4. Tom 38 Silver badge

      My uncle for a while lived in Crapstone in Devon.

      Devon has loads of them - just in Plymouth there is Admiral's Hard, Cockington Close, Bladder Meadow, Brest Road, Bush Park, Butt Park Road, Clittaford Road, Dickiemoor Lane, Pennycomequick, Looe Street and the Hoe Foreshore.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Funny placenames

        An American colleague likes to "collect" silly British placenames. He was particularly pleased to discover Shingay cum Wendy in Cambridgeshire.

        There's a road called "Bell End" somewhere in Northants. He had a picture of the sign as his screen backdrop for a while.

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          Re: Funny placenames

          There's a tiny hamlet in Cornwall called Cocks. I heard from some locals that they removed the sign because they got fed up of it being stolen.

          There's a photo of me somewhere standing next to the sign, of course...

        2. ClockworkOwl

          Re: Funny placenames

          There's an old flight of locks at Nob End, at the back of Little lever...

        3. BenM 29

          Re: Funny placenames

          >>An American colleague likes to "collect" silly British placenames.

          He may or may not have Shaggs (Near Wool in Dorset) and Shitterton (next to Bere Regis also in Dorset) in his collection, or perhaps he still needs Wilsford-Cum-Lake (Near Salisbury, Wiltshire), where Sting used to live, to complete his collection?

          Glad to be of service!

          1. onemark03 Bronze badge

            Re: Funny placenames

            The name "Foggy Bottom", (a suburb of Washington DC partly on the banks of the Delaware), has always amused me.

            Can US readers tell us of any more funny names from their homeland?

            1. Solo Owl

              Re: Funny placenames

              Geographic pedantry:

              Foggy Bottom is not a suburb, it's just a 15-minute walk to the White House. It is the neighborhood where the State Department, the World Bank and IMF, and a university are located. It is on the Potomac River, not the Delaware River or Delaware Bay. (There are no suburbs of Washington on the Delaware River, as that is ~100 miles away. You may be thinking of Philadelphia.)

              In the southern states, "bottom" is a common word for low-lying land, often a flood plain. In many towns it's the poor people and minorities who live in the bottoms.

            2. NITS

              Re: Funny placenames

              In MILFord, Ohio there is Round Bottom Road. I tell my wife that it brings a smile to my face every time I see that street sign, as it reminds me of her :)

              There are some amusing place names in Pennsylvania Dutch country -- Intercourse, Bird-In-Hand, and Blue Ball are located near each other.

              There's Boring, Maryland.

              1. NITS

                Re: Funny placenames

                Replying to myself -- I forgot to add Paradise, Pennsylvania, which is located near the aforementioned Intercourse, Bird-In-Hand, and Blue Ball.

                In Seattle, Washington there's a streetcar line popularly known as the South Lake Union Trolley.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Funny placenames

              Well, I live near Lizard Lick...

        4. Caver_Dave Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Funny placenames

          There are quite a few Bell Ends in Northamptonshire. It just denotes the orientation of the adjacent church.

          The front door of Dr. Martins is on Bell End, but they use the side street in their official address.

        5. romanempire

          Re: Funny placenames

          Wollaston - lovely village :-)

        6. Spanners Silver badge
          Go

          Re: Funny placenames

          My parents house was just down the road from Twatt. My daughter took har fiance up to Orkney and had a nice selfie under the sign

        7. Electronics'R'Us Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Funny placenames

          As you take the A2 east bound from the Dartford Tunnel, you will see a sign for

          CHALK

          THONG

          I was always amused at that one.

          Near where I used to live (in Thanet) a particular sign was forever being stolen so it was eventually made into two separate markers.

          It pointed to

          HAM SANDWICH

          1. JohnGrantNineTiles

            Re: Funny placenames

            If you go a bit further down the M25 and then take the A21 eastbound you pass Pratt's Bottom.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Funny placenames

            It's gone now, at least the sign is.

            We used to have a church camp by the lake. It was run by a Methodist Church and they called it the Methodist Camp. But the road signs refereed to lots different camps so it was abbreviated as "Meth Camp". So the signs were a popular photo op for some people.

            Two local towns are named Fertile and Manly. Not too funny by themselves but the local paper couldn't resist putting up the headline when a "Manly man marries a Fertile woman".

        8. Tom 7 Silver badge

          Re: Funny placenames

          Bell End is just down the road from Belbroughton in Worcs.

        9. Blake Davis

          Re: Funny placenames

          On Interstate 59, Exit 69: Eatonville

        10. ICPurvis47
          Facepalm

          Re: Funny placenames

          I used to drive a delivery lorry around Dorset, and often went through the villages in the valley of the river Piddle, such as Piddle Trenthide, Piddlehinton, Puddletown, Tolpuddle, Affpuddle, and Tincleton. I also used to travel up and down the A5 when I was at Uni, and went through such delightful places as Paulerspury, Potterspury, and Potter's Bottom.

          1. Richard Cranium

            Re: Funny placenames

            There's a nice map of the UK with a focus on "unusual" place names:

            https://shop.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/st-gs-marvellous-map-of-great-british-place-names-folded-poster-or-framed/

        11. Wizardofaus

          Re: Funny placenames

          "An American colleague likes to "collect" silly British placenames. He was particularly pleased to discover Shingay cum Wendy in Cambridgeshire."

          He'll love this, then

          https://goo.gl/maps/XNcd1Rd9x46CBSZU6

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Funny placenames

            Do you really need to point more tourists in the general direction of Stonehenge?

        12. Dante Alighieri

          Re: Funny placenames

          Wallish Walls

          Pity Me

          Cockfield

      2. Grease Monkey Silver badge

        In the days before the victorians changed names to be more palatable there were plenty of such names.

        Shitlington (Over, Middle and Nether) were near here. The three villages became Overton, Middlestown and Netherton and the whole parish lost its H to become Sitlington. All of which were only a few miles from Shat.

        Ramsbottom in Lancashire used to be Ramsarse.

        More recent bowdlerizations have including the changing of Butt Hole Road to Archer's Way (I seem to remember El Reg reported on that one)

        1. Fr. Ted Crilly
          Mushroom

          oh yeah onomatapea land

          Grunty Fen... I plan to end my days there...

        2. GloomyTrousers

          I'll refer you all to https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gropecunt_Lane - commonly now renamed as Grape Lane in various English towns and cities.

      3. RandomUsername

        Not to forget Dogshit Park in St. Judes. At least what everyone who lived nearby called it.

        1. Caver_Dave Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Our Borough Council moved our Rugby match from our usual venue to a municipal park.

          I walked off after 5 minutes of play, the rest of them after the first scrum collapse onto 4 or 5 piles!

        2. Dante Alighieri

          locally

          Tittybottle park

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      still trips over plagiarism filters used at a college and a university i used to work at

      Didnt object to Shingay-cum-Wendy, little soddbury end, titford, wortley bottom and many more

      still bypassable by regex injection either prefix line with a # or double backslash

      Or just save as a pdf....

  7. WanderingHaggis

    sorry double post

    how do I delete a double

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: sorry double post

      You have a Withdraw link on your post.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        Re: sorry double post

        But if you do that doesn't it just splatter everywhere?

        Oh! You meant the post, not the subject of the article!

        1. Dante Alighieri
          Trollface

          Re: sorry double post

          No, they've just done twins

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I worked on a gas pipeline project a while back and there was much sniggering that we should use "cum" in place of (the more normal, for us at least) m3, because "that's what the operators were used to seeing on the displays."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Single-handed operation?

    2. MJI Silver badge

      I would wonder what cum would mean for a measurement, but m3 is a SI standard.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        I would wonder what cum would mean for a measurement, but m3 is a SI standard.

        As far as I know, "m3" isn't an SI standard, or did you mean "m3"?

        1. MJI Silver badge

          Oi at least I get the case correct, not my fault I keep forgetting superscript HTML code

          1. John G Imrie

            Who needs HTML code m³

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              ASCII and you shall receive.

              1. stiine Silver badge

                Or you could just cut-and-paste, like I do.

  9. Roger Kynaston Silver badge
    Go

    monitoring software

    Back in the day I had an early monitoring system. Relative greybeards will remember Big Brother. Well, the site for getting extensions was deadcat.net and this fell foul of the Council Net Nanny which decided that this was a necrophilia site and not suitable for the delicate eyes of housing officers and other LG officers. I had a lot of work to persuade the powers that it was a genuine site for geeks such as me. I think Big Brother worried them as well for that matter.

    1. Yeti

      Re: monitoring software

      A friend of mine while at work can't access websites of any organization representing a foreign state due to apparently every embassy contains "ass".

      1. J. Cook Silver badge

        Re: monitoring software

        A clubuttic issue, for sure.

        Of the web filters I've worked with (Websense, Cisco/Ironport WSA, Umbrella, and good ol' squid with some customizations to the configuration file), Websense and squid were the only ones that I could have done that with. We didn't use the word filters, because there were other, better solutions, and TBH, we use d it more as a security appliance and a means of enforcing productivity by blocking things like failbook etc. than an actual corporate censor.)

        1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

          Re: monitoring software

          Websense rings a bell. I think we used that. It was upset by the word screw. It was tough avoiding the word at a mechanical engineering company. And no, a bolt isn't the same thing at all.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: monitoring software

            "And no, a bolt isn't the same thing at all."

            No, no, no! Not without a washer!

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: monitoring software

              Washer? I barely knew her!

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: monitoring software

        If only these guard robots had heard of spaces, they could tell their clit from their clitheroes.

        1. shedied

          Re: monitoring software

          There *must* be a comic book (or movie adaptation) for that type of hero.

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: deadcat.net

      I think that, given that site's content today (attention : NSFW), you would have a lot more trouble justifying its use in a workplace environment now.

    3. don't you hate it when you lose your account Silver badge

      Re: monitoring software

      Try working for an organisation that does work in sexual health, add to that possible donors including rolex and then complain about setting up a blacklist on your email/firewall. Oh the fun and games.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: monitoring software

        You try writing genuine marketing emails for Viagra which don't hit everyone's spam trap...

        1. MCMLXV

          You try writing genuine marketing emails for Viagra ...

          No.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: monitoring software

          A former client was Pfizer's media planning provider. No fun running their mail system when a new campaign for Viagra was in the offing (Pfizer had also been a client in years past).

      2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: monitoring software

        The best system I saw was one where the first time a system/user tried to access potentially NSFW content was to inform that the user that they are welcome to proceed but that all such accesses are logged and reviewed and inappropriate access will be dealt with.

        It was a sensible, pragmatic approach.

        1. Dante Alighieri

          Re: monitoring software

          In a medical environment I can easily submit an access request for websites that are blocked - to be honest work is fairly permissive, if they weren't they would have al lot more helldesk calls...

  10. Andy Non Silver badge
    FAIL

    Inappropriate content

    In a former life I was asked to place an IT related advert in a well known weekly computer trade newspaper. I sent an email to them with a query about placing the advert but it kept bouncing back as undeliverable with a message that the email had been rejected because it contained inappropriate content. I sent an email to their advertising team querying them about the problem but that too bounced back with the same message. As far as I could tell there wasn't anything remotely offensive or inappropriate in either email, so we placed the advert elsewhere. It must have been some sort of over vigilant email filter kicking in.

  11. A____B

    Over sensitive company intranet

    At a previous employer the in house discussion system also took it upon itself to censor.

    I wrote in a message that "a particular criticism was rather hard on a company" -- only to have it changed to "a particular criticism was rather ***** a company" and a warning that my manager would be informed if I triggered the system again. Raising this with the help line also highlighted differences between English and American (they don't use that phrase much apparently). I was not alone - the help message board quickly became full of similar messages.

    Two work-arounds arose - one was that 'difficult' words started gaining extra spaces in them and the other was the use of deliberately wordy circumlocutions such as when writing instructions -- e.g. "To remove the plate, press down h a r d o n the cover and turn the cylindrical metallic attachment device fitted with a helical slope anticlockwise". Descriptions of connections of male and female plugs/sockets were very entertaining.

    The other option, of everybody acting like grown-ups and not sniggering or taking exaggerated offence at unintentional double-entendres was seen as too difficult.

    I use the term 'double-entendre' as 'innuendo' may be mistaken for Italian pornography :-)

    1. Unoriginal Handle

      Re: Over sensitive company intranet

      If you'd like a double entendre, I could give you one? As the bishop said to the actress...

      1. Scott 53

        Re: Over sensitive company intranet

        I was keeping an eye out for an innuendo, but I think you slipped it in while my attention was elsewhere.

        1. Zarno Bronze badge
          Devil

          Re: Over sensitive company intranet

          There's a track by Bloodhound Gang titled "Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo".

          More than enough innuendo in there.

          The music video is also rather interesting...

          Then there's the Bob & Tom rewording of The Beach Boys classic track Kokomo.

          Or a certain track that is named "La la la la..." from the show Drawn Together.

          I'll see myself out, and leave you to explain to IT why the filter was tripped.

    2. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Over sensitive company intranet

      Concerned about innuendo, but you're flippant with "double entry Andre"?

    3. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: everybody acting like grown-ups

      One wonders if there are any of those left, these days.

    4. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Over sensitive company intranet

      You want uncomfortable situations?

      I was working with a young, married, and rather attractive female engineer (I might add, she was very good at her job), who confided to me that she could never remember which was the male connector and which was the female.

      Visions of difficult conversations with HR flashed through my mind, as I attempted to come up with a safe answer.

      My answer is lost in the cobwebs of my memory, but apparently it was innocuous enough that she continued to work with me. She was a very bright woman, and a natural engineer. Last I heard, she had moved on to a Sales position.

      1. H in The Hague Silver badge

        Re: Over sensitive company intranet

        "she could never remember which was the male connector and which was the female"

        I learned a bit about electronics and connectors before I learned about the facts of life - so initially found that naming convention quite unfathomable.

        1. knottedhandkerchief

          Re: Over sensitive company intranet

          Try discussing the difference between slow-blows and fast-blows (fuses).

      2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

        Re: Over sensitive company intranet

        > Last I heard, she had moved on to a Sales position.

        Not so bright after all, then. Or at least, not fussy.

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: Over sensitive company intranet

          Peter principle.

        2. Ian 31

          Re: Over sensitive company intranet

          Sales position probably paid better.

        3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge

          Re: Over sensitive company intranet

          Oh, plenty bright.

          More money and better hours.

      3. ICPurvis47
        Angel

        Re: Over sensitive company intranet

        When I was an apprentice to an engineering firm, we all had to undergo basic Fitting training. One of my intake was a very young and not exactly worldly wise fellow, who asked the instructor why male and female threads were so named. The instructor ("Knocker" White) put his arm around the boy's shoulders in a fatherly way and said "I think you should go and talk to Sister Amos about that".. Sister Amos was the nurse in charge of the Accident Room, and guardian of our moral health.

  12. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Superscript?

    Perhaps, but explaining how to insert a ³ might be less confusing in the long run.

    1. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Superscript?

      Out of curiousity, what would you say the typesetting of ³ is?

      1. Flightmode

        Re: Superscript?

        While ³ is technically a superscript 3, I think that OP was getting at the point that you can either type a regular 3 and then superscript it in a way supported by the application you're using, or you can type Alt-0179 which inserts a unicode ³ without additional formatting.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Superscript?

          One of these options translates across operating systems and programs, and doesn't require rote memorisation of unicode.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: Superscript?

            The keyboards I use most often have ², ³ etc. mapped as <Alt-Gr>2, <Alt-Gr>3 etc. I was about to point this out as a much simpler and easier to remember alternative to <Alt>-0179 when I realised it doesn't work on this Windows 10 machine either in "United Kingdom Extended English" layout or "Cymraeg", which is the one I use most often as it includes modifiers for accented characters which aren't present on the UKE keyboard.

            Hmmm...

            M.

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: Superscript?

              Windows 10 has moved all that stuff into some fancy emoji and symbols menu. I can't remember, off hand, how you access it.

  13. phy445

    Nearly got away with it

    I once got sign off for a website with the grand title: Polymer Engineering Near Interfaces & Surfaces

    The only thing that stymied me was that the IT team who set these things up used a site’s initials for the home folder name on their system...

    1. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: Nearly got away with it

      They knew what they were doing, and probably giggling when they created the folder.

  14. this

    I seem to recall

    A Welsh IT outfit that had the amusing domain welshit.com. Or maybe I dreamt it - it was some time ago.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I seem to recall

      You ddn't dream...

      https://web.archive.org/web/20180411055652/http://welshit.com/

  15. Victor Ludorum

    Sort of IT related

    I was trying to sell a car on a certain website for Trading Autos, unfortunately just after listing it the car decided to bork itself. Rather than spend £300+ fixing an £800 car, I altered the advert to say the car was 'stuck in limp mode'. Advert was blocked and flagged for moderation... Turns out they didn't bother to do anything about it for 10 days.

    1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Sort of IT related

      I think Autotrader does that whenever you edit a free ad, to stop people engaging in listing shenanigans. Nothing to do with 'limp'.

      1. Victor Ludorum

        Re: Sort of IT related

        It wasn't a free ad. I asked them for the £42 back, they weren't interested as the ad had just expired...

  16. 0laf Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    Omitting the 'O' in accountant or accounts was always a common trigger too.

    1. Admiral Grace Hopper Silver badge

      Or, as my colleague shouted out when reading a compilation listing while the other side of the room was stacked full of visiting dignitaries, "You prat, there's an 'O' in 'count'!".

  17. Barking House
    Big Brother

    Early days of Firewall content scanning

    This takes me back to circa 1995 and the early days of firewalls and content scanning for inappropriate words - We had a bank that cranked the very new firewall content scanning all the way up to 11. They were initially very pleased but soon reported that a significant portion of e-mails was not getting through. I looked at the firewall logs and soon discovered that the content scanning was looking for all traces of words that could be considered offensive, so for instance the word "digital" was triggering the rules as it detected the word "git" in digital. Hence a lot of e-mails getting blocked ....

    Once rules were modified to be less aggressive the issue was resolved.

    1. Martin Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Early days of Firewall content scanning

      Only a year ago, I was trying to write a nice review about a tradesman who had come out on a Saturday to sort out a problem. It kept getting blocked. No useful message, it just said that it was inappropriate language. I finally realised that Sa-turd-ay was causing the issue, and changed it say he'd come out at the weekend.

      1. My-Handle Silver badge

        Re: Early days of Firewall content scanning

        Either that or it didn't like the idea of a tradesman coming out...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Early days of Firewall content scanning

        spaces ffs

        DELETE FROM ReviewTable where

        comment like '% turd %'

        OR comment like '% shit %'

        OR cmment like'% poo %'

        1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

          Re: Early days of Firewall content scanning

          Msg 207, Level 16, State 1, Line 3

          Invalid column name 'cmment'.

      3. Martin Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Early days of Firewall content scanning

        Not that I'm particularly upset about it, but I wonder why I was downvoted? Can't see anything particularly upsetting about that story...

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Early days of Firewall content scanning

          Someone doesn't believe that you got a tradesman out on Saturday?

  18. Boothy Silver badge
    Pint

    I worked for a place many years ago now, that had a system called the Tactical International Tracking Service.

    For about two years, while this 'tactical' system was still in use, my boss desperately tried to get any new system we built to fit the acronym A.S.S. He actually managed to get it to fit a couple of times, but always had his suggestions shot down by whoever was going to 'own' the new system. Just no sense of humour with some people!

    Icon, because it's Friday!

    1. Omgwtfbbqtime
      Black Helicopters

      Sounds very leftpondian, rather like: Practical Exercises Not Involving Soldiers.

      1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

        I believe that a certain LeftPondian millitary force also had an acronym for: Civilian Under Naval Training

    2. My-Handle Silver badge

      I'd be looking forward to the day when all the separate interfaces for the Tactical International Tracking Service were combined into one Universal Portal.

      :D

    3. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Our contamination scientists are always going on about Acid Sulphate Soils. Some of their reports are a hoot to read.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Admin Support Section

    A very camp contractor went up to the third floor and said "Hi, I'm looking for ASS"

    1. MiguelC Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Obvious answer

      Aren't we all?

  20. Allan George Dyer
    Paris Hilton

    Archaic Usage

    Until recently, the HK government was fond of using "cum" in it's meaning of "combined with". Who wouldn't want to use a litter cum recyclables collection bin?

    However, I declined the invitation to a "Networking cum drinking party".

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Archaic Usage

      "magna cum laude" anyone? seems to be lauding a major something...

    2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

      Re: Archaic Usage

      I'd totally forgotten about that usage , and it wasnt that long ago it was en vogue.

      Cant see it coming back though

    3. Outski Bronze badge

      Re: Archaic Usage

      Still very common usage in Malaysia, almost every cv we received for our KL office would trip the rule

  21. Nick London
    Holmes

    Think of the poor steel supplier

    I am a structural engineer by trade.

    All of a sudden we had e-mails intercepted by the ISP's porn filter whenever we received proposals for the erection of the structural steelwork.

    Nuff said.

    1. H in The Hague Silver badge

      Re: Think of the poor steel supplier

      "All of a sudden we had e-mails intercepted by the ISP's porn filter whenever we received proposals for the erection of the structural steelwork."

      I think a council got taken to court because they never replied to e-mails from somebody who wrote to them complaining about an erection on an adjacent property.

      1. TheMeerkat Bronze badge

        Re: Think of the poor steel supplier

        Once in an African country I had a pleasure to discuss Erection Insurance with the insurance company management.

        Nothing to do with insuring bodily functions obviously.

  22. This is not a drill
    Facepalm

    Careful what you name your files

    Working at a marketing company I once had a junior engineer come to me in a fluster, and asked to speak to me about a delicate matter in private.

    He had been working on a directors laptop and and found hundreds of files referring to a sexual act. We had a look at the machine, I creased up. Knowing the Director quite well I gave him a call and suggested he find a new naming structure for his very harmless "analysis by sex" reports.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      'Analysis by sex"

      Was this limited to seven / eight letter folder/director names?

      ...directory names. Not director's names but that is another dimension of truncatory fun.

      1. AK565

        Re: 'Analysis by sex"

        Upvote for 'truncatory'.

  23. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Sort of apropos of this.

    When, many years back I was on Jury service, the case was delayed while the defendant's statement was sent electronically ( they could have printed it and and brought it along quicker, but that's another issue). The reason being, it turned out after 'is Honour rather testily asked why here was such a delay, being that the electronic system for sending the statements wouldn't transmit the swear words so they'd had to get it rewritten taking out the words that wouldn't go through.

  24. UnlikelyGeek

    Titter ye not names

    Many moons ago I worked for a corp whose server naming conventions were based upon a historic name plus a device description; it always made me giggle whenever we needed to reference the on site mail server.

    It's first part name was 'Hermes', after the Greek messenger of the gods... Apt.

    It's second part name was 'Exchange', for that was the MS mail system it ran. Also apt.

    Concatenating the two gave it's full name: Hermesexchange.

    Sadly it was only me who ever saw the irony of a Her-me-sex-change.

    Oh, happy days.

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      Re: Titter ye not names

      I'm old enough to remember when experts-exchange.com had no hyphen...

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Titter ye not names

        >I'm old enough to remember when...

        And Cex became Webuy

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Titter ye not names

          I was wondering the other day why CeX online appeared under a different name.

    2. Giles C Silver badge

      Re: Titter ye not names

      On a similar line an ex colleague was very proud of the server name

      For a blackberry enterprise server for exchange

      He managed to get it reading Besexchange01 entirely deliberate of course. I think we had the server for about 5 years

      1. ActionBeard

        Re: Titter ye not names

        For an album release in 2012, Susan Boyle's marketing people used the phrase "Susan album party" as the basis for an advertising tagline and came up with the Twitter hashtag #susanalbumparty

        I believe it was modified shortly afterwards.

  25. Sequin

    I subscribe to a weekly email, which the author numbers using Roman numerals.

    Every now and again he has to change to arabic numerals, when the number is in the 30's as many spam filters will block emails with XXX in the subject

  26. MarkET

    Local knowledge vs auto translation...

    Reminds me of translation of resource files for display messages and manuals. Once had a complaint from a Finnish company about a technical support document describing an ISA 'expansion slot'. Apparently our translator did not have sufficient colloquial knowledge of the language.

    1. OssianScotland

      Re: Local knowledge vs auto translation...

      Wasn't it Ronald Reagan on a state visit to Poland who managed to completely mistranslate "we want better relations with the Polish people"?

      1. NITS

        Re: Local knowledge vs auto translation...

        It was Jimmy Carter. IIRC the translator was better-versed in classical Polish literature than in current word usage, so the President's saying that he understands "the desires of the Polish people" was heard by modern speakers as "the lusts of the Polish people".

        Goes to show that we can't have archaic, and eat it too.

        1. AK565

          Re: Local knowledge vs auto translation...

          In the early 80's I took summer classes in Poland. Our childhood language models left Poland nearly 100 years before. One big language change: the word for a peck on the cheek you gave your grandmother now means a lover's kiss not on the lips.

        2. W.S.Gosset Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Local knowledge vs auto translation...

          > archaic

          Probably the best and most unexpected pun I've seen in decades.

          Massive hat-tip, mate.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aha, bad word filters

    Many systems have blacklists of words when they send out those handy "enter this code" form entries. We had fun generating the list, only for an apoplectic director to come in and complain that the system, in a demo, had provided the code "UTWAT" for him to enter. Apparently this would end civilisation as we know it, destroy our reputation etc etc.

    Rather than make the code generator really slow I just removed all the vowels. Still in production I think.

  28. Karl Vegar

    Has no one drawn these to together yet?

    Measuring the well known abbreviation in m3 should be worth at least a sniggle?

  29. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

    419?

    I once worked with someone who was the son of a wealthy Nigerian prince, and whose father died - in Nigeria. The Nigerian probate solicitors dealing with the will basically couldn't email him at all, his bank blocked payments to them - try persuading a bank's antifraud team you really do need to send money to someone in Nigeria in order to get your inheritance - and so on. Fortunately he saw the funny side, at what was obviously not an easy time for him.

    1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: 419?

      Sorry to hear about his troubles. I can help with the transfer if he just sends me the money in the form of iTune gift cards.

  30. PTW
    Coffee/keyboard

    Foxes Biscuits

    had one hell of a time 20 years ago, they were trying to arrange some sort of joint venture/tie up with https://www.otisspunkmeyer.com/ in the US.

    Icon, because I'm a child and the name still makes me laugh, although probably more to do with the apocryphal public schoolboy game involving biscuits & m^3 -->

  31. TDog

    Hardcore Visual Basic

    Very useful web site (Bruce McKinny) - As HM Customs and Excise were using VB in 2000 as dll's to power their internal intranet I tried to consult the online version - got a visit from their security. Explained what had happened and red faces all around. Then one of my colleagues asked:

    "So what about emails?"

    "We check them too and block the bad ones"

    "And what happens when you are contacted by aggregate suppliers?"

    "What?"

    "You know - hardcore as in concrete "

    "Oh shit!"

    I suspect that animal fertiliser suppliers would have been excluded as well.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hardcore Visual Basic

      There was a case ~10 years or so ago where someone made an objection to a planning application and sent in his objection via email to the relevant council email address referring to the issues he had with his neighbour's "proposed erection". The application was approved and the complainant tried to find out why no account had been taken of his concerns only to find the council said they had received no objections so the application had been approved without any discussion. Turned out his email had been silently blocked due to "erection" being considered to be a "rude word". I think the case went to court over whether the council had a right to block emails, especially as "erection" was a perfectly standard word in architecture/planning context but I seem to recall he lost as it was deemed to be the same situation as the post office misdelivering/losing a letter and that he could have takne steps to check

      1. shedied

        Re: Hardcore Visual Basic

        So what you're saying is, the erection took place.

        Boy, that's hard^W difficult to deal with

        1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

          Re: Hardcore Visual Basic

          It stood up in court.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Overeager Filter

    About 15 years ago I was supporting a software product and interacting with a customer in a large US corporation. One email I sent kept being rejected for "security and/or content reasons". After warning my customer, I sent a series of chopped down versions of the email until I established that the presence of two specific words would cause it to be rejected. The words were "model" and "replicate".

    This made it hard to talk about a problem in creating replicated nodes on a diagram representing a software model.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can remember when during the short life of ST-Ericsson we seemed to have a continual process of "tweaks" to the company structure every few months resulting in all the "business units" getting new and invariably three-letter acronyms (anyone with business cards was forever crossing out the printed unit name and writing in the new one!) and at one point the group I was in ended up being the "Wireless Multimedia Division" .... or WMD - as this was close to the time of the Iraq war inevitably many people (including some senior management) started to refer to us as the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" division ... until a memo came out to announce that as the name WMD was "causing issues" we were being redesignated as WMMD.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I remember a company where we were based in UK and US and at one time trying to check flight availabilty on Virgin Atlantic was not possible as virginatlantic.com was deemed to be a sex site by the web filter. I think it was the same filter that also deemed a local scout group's Ten Tors training website, which my son was doing, was blocked for being a gambling site.

  35. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    When SuperH was around they used SH in a lot of names .... however the IT department weren't interested

  36. wrangler

    I regularly use a forum on one US web site that blocks "injunction", presumably for PC reasons. I've pointed it out a few times, but they persist.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      Of course they persist, your messages contain the word "injunction" and are blocked for that reason.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      The injunctions are coming

      I had to look quite hard to see what was non-PC about that word.

  37. tweell

    US Navy acronym soup

    Military loves acronyms, US Navy even more so. The brass decided to take the first four Ohio class ballistic missile submarines and replace the ICBMs with cruise missiles. So, the Ohio, Michigan, Florida and Georgia submarines got 154 cruise missiles each. I'm told that watching a sub refit for OMFG do a deck launch is indeed awe inspiring.

  38. Fr. Ted Crilly

    One day I'll manage to insert 'tps report' into some protocol... before I retire

  39. Grumpy Scouse Git

    Filter Fun

    Many years ago I did a Disaster Recovery exercise at a customer site in Scotland. To provide for some entertainment for the several hours worth of tape restore to sit through, the customer decided to restore the email spam/pron/profanity folders first. A manual review of the many, many attachments found there proved to be somewhat educational to say the least!

  40. Wapiya
    Childcatcher

    Corona did accelerate online tools for our schools.

    But the states of our country try to use the itslearning platform. So all the state educational ministers decided that the abbrevation and link for this would be the 2 letter short form of the respective state and then .istlearning

    Our state minister must have been asleep at the helm. Schleswig-Holstein shortens to sh .

    The mirth of all students in the schools is still not lessening. sh.itslearning is quite unfortunate ...

    The press had their field day.

    1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

      The correct reply to that is the German translation of the English word formed by those first four letters. And no, I am not going to put that in writing, I know how offensive that is to most Germans.

  41. Anonymous Tribble

    4-ecks!

    I was trying to look up train times for a trip to a meeting at another site. The company firewall blocked the train timetable web site for some reason. So I used a VPN to get onto a customer's network and accessed the site from there with no problem.

    It turns out a lot of trains had been cancelled that day and the departure times were all showing as 'XXXX'.

  42. six_tymes

    the engineer has got to be some what of an idiot, why would he choose that particular abbreviation when there are many others to choose from, such as m3, M3, m^3, m**3, cbm. or, don't abbreviate at all.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Transcribing speech.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Moro Islamic Liberation Front

    I worked for a while in the southern Philippines at a time when the Moro Islamic Liberation Front where causing problems. Their name was regularly blocked by the naughty word filter on the email system - a rather unfortunate choice of acronym.

  44. MJB7

    PDP-11 debugger

    The PDP-11 debugger was called the "Terminal Interactive Testing System", with the obvious abbreviation. I still remember when a programmer came bursting into our room to report that Chris had been talking to our (rather well endowed) female boss and innocently said "I learnt all I know about TITS from you".

    That was my first job (40 years ago), and about a third of the programmers were women. I think they hadn't had the opportunity to learn that "computers were for boys" at school.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: PDP-11 debugger

      It might have not helped if he used the word "debugger", either.

  45. maddoxx

    Centralized User Management

    Was the tool I was about to program in 1994 - in good old Germany. Have been told some years later the company mothership heavyweights came from the US and went speechless after they have been told about our great CUM tool.

    Which was in fact a user and host admin tool for good old yp/NIS..... and ran on a SUN IPX - called "Die CUM"

  46. OssianScotland

    Email Filters

    Working for an oil company meant a constant battle with the spam filters which,for some unknown reason, didn't like terms like "twelve inch pipe" (especially when combined with "drill"). Most were solved, but I could never get the filter to accept the term "hole expanders" which I was assured was perfectly legal, decent, honest and truthful in the industry.

    Another story involves a manager in India who managed to send a set of (mindbleach still needed) VERY hairy images to the whole organisation list, not his intended recipient!

  47. Emir Al Weeq

    At least he got a warning

    I once had this problem when a supplier I was dealing with finished an email with "if you have any questions cum comments...": a perfectly legitimate word in this context. After repeatedly chasing the supplier via email for the information I was waiting for I called my contact only to be told that he'd been responding to each chase by resending. We both spoke to our helpdesks to track down the problem and found that my end was binning the email without telling either the sender or recipient of what it was doing. Not helpful. I can understand not telling the recipient, thus avoiding annoying someone who is being spammed, but tell the sender, and if it is spam: who cares if we spam them back?

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: At least he got a warning

      Bouncing suspect spam email back to the sender doesn't work. Spammers routinely forge addresses. Far better to drop it on the floor, or the bouncer runs the risk of spamming an innocent.

      Remember, there is absolutely nothing that guarantees the delivery of email. Any business that has a business model that requires email as part of it's foundation is fooling itself (or it's investors).

    2. MCMLXV
      Thumb Up

      @Emir Al Weeq

      Kudos for the handle :)

    3. ICPurvis47
      FAIL

      Re: At least he got a warning

      I was once hauled over the coals because I had ended an email organising a site meeting for the following week with "See you next Tuesday". Someone at the receiving end had misunderstood this and assumed it was an euphemism, and had complained to my boss.

  48. rich_a

    Medical dictionaries

    We have a product that works with medical dictionaries which are uploaded by a regulatory body in XML format. One day nothing worked, so spent some time looking through the XML downloaded and quickly found the cause. The XML was incomplete, it had the first few hundred KB complete then had something like "This content is blocked because potentially offensive words were detected. The offensive word is 'penis'" as the last bit of text in the file. Looks like IT's shiny new web filter was a bit too overzealous. Still, I enjoyed writing the "pretty much everything we do is to do with the body, it's particularly important that we have the definitions for vital reproductive organs intact" support ticket for the poor bod responsible for fixing the issue.

    1. Ian 31

      Re: Medical dictionaries

      For the last few years we've used G-Suite which allows the use of organisational word filters for email. Some genius in senior management decided that this would be a good idea and paid for a 3rd party supplied 'block list' to ensure bad words wouldn't be allowed. Brilliant. I work supporting social services case management systems in local government. Blocking an email that contains the phrase 'he said he wanted me to suck his <male chicken> in an attachment to an email titled 'Urgent, required for court proceedings tomorrow morning' regarding a potential child sexual exploitation situation is really not a good idea.

      1. skswales

        Re: Medical dictionaries

        My better half fell foul of over-zealous new filter blocking all messages to the exam syndicate referencing one of the books on that year's syllabus. Can't remember which now. But it did cause a bit of a stooshie in their manglement when they had a team of irate external examiners who believed all their emails had been ignored.

  49. A.P. Veening Silver badge

    I remember screwing up an online forum by embedding terminating HTML codes halfway in censored words and expressions ("first post" was always replaced by "boobies"). As the censored word or expression was replaced, the embedded HTML code was removed, so the start had no corresponding terminator. The results were sometimes spectacular.

  50. Already?

    My OH is a big fan of camping and caravanning but at our age prefers to book sites where children aren’t allowed. It’s quite normal; these sites tend to use the phrase Adults Only to identify themselves as child-free. She's a teacher, it took a couple of visits to the school IT gurus to explain why her evening web searches kept triggering their alerts.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      personal services

      no reasonable expectation to use employers IT access for personal use - potentially actionable and lucky not to be sacked yet, especially after hours as you imply.

      You do have your own internet access...

      If I was council IT/HR it would be written warning and access restricted to defined working hours and monitored (as usual) - breaking the whole IT structure to allow "adults only" searches could be actionable and very expensive for the school/authority if my little johnny/janet saw something they REALLY shouldn't as a consequence.

      Anon as I await the haters

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Woodcock wasn't pleased he couldn't sign up for an ISP using his name for the email and account name.

    That's was a combination of mirth and red face. Mostly mirth.

  52. xyz Silver badge

    I once did a Google for...

    Boil bitch anus.

    My female dog had a boil on its bum.

    Hoo-boy.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I once did a Google for...

      A Google search for "X Rated Capacitors" earned me a discussion with IT at one stage.

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The first one that caught me was just silly

    Thanks to the US aversion to having anything to do with S E X, an email that I sent while working in the USA fell foul of their filters because of the address I'd quoted in the email had the words Cuckfield, Sussex mistyped as "Cuckfield, Sus sex".

    Bloody puritans. I was hauled up by my boss on my return and given a warning. That lasted all of one minute until I showed him a printout of the offending email.

    Even today, US TV bleeps the word 'ass'.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: The first one that caught me was just silly

      "the US aversion to having anything to do with S E X"

      I guess I'm not here, then, amd neither is my daughter. (We won't discuss you lot's "Indecent Displays Act" of 1981, because that would just be cruel.)

      "US TV bleeps the word 'ass'."

      No, it does not. Certain idiots might choose to bleep it in certain places for reasons which escape me, but there is no US-wide blanket bleepage of the word ass on TV.

      Stop it with the lies already, you're just making yourself look silly. Or you would, if you weren't a cowardly nameless, faceless blob of grey goo. Shirley if your own censorship laws are so benign you can post under your El Reg handle instead of hiding behind "AC".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The first one that caught me was just silly

      When I was courting a young American girl (I was 15 at the time) the discussion turned to sex, and whether or not we should indulge. She said that her big siter allowed her BF to "Ride her Ass". As an Englishman in the US, I was highly amused to imagine the Big Sis sitting astride a donkey while her BF mounted it from behind. I shared this mental picture with my GF, and it took quite a lot of explaining that to us, an ass was a donkey and not an arse. (We didn't, by the way).

  54. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    All praise the Call Log Investigation Team.

    I'll get my coat.!

    1. Aussie Doc Bronze badge
      Coat

      Re:

      I'm sure they had an office but nobody could find it.

      I'll get my coat, too.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It can help with the pain of a transition though...

    Many years ago when the office I worked in transformed from remote keying in of all the paper stuff from the office, to actual mainframe terminals on user desks, the project was called Front End Keying, or FEK for short. It made all the subsequent meeting much less tiresome!

    ("Have you been FEKd yet", etc).

    For 6 months work became pretty much a Carry On film.

  56. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Trying to buy a trailer...

    I needed to purchase a "low boy" long haul trailer. After considerable review of quotes I selected an Eager Beaver product.

    Went to show the purchasing lady the trailer I picked out, and we discovered there are fundamental differences between going straight to eagerbeavertrailers.com and doing a google search for Eager Beaver...

    Send to you from a town fairly close to Bumpass, Virginia.

    1. NITS

      Re: Trying to buy a trailer...

      Not to mention Big Ass Fans. Large ceiling fans used in warehouses, factories, big-box stores. Their logo is a donkey facing away from you.

  57. Paul 87

    Have two like this!

    The first features a lovely young lady from another country, now English wasn't her first langauge but she usually managed pretty well with most words. One day she takes a call into the support line where there were some S.M.A.R.T. error messages appearing on a client's computer, so she dutifully logs the call and passed it down to the relevant team to handle.

    Within minutes the Hardware Manager is on the phone to her and asks her to open the ticket and re-read what she'd put

    "Client has a hard d*ck failure" she'd typed in error

    As she does so, the Hardware manager quips "well love you'd be better off handling that one than me" (he was a dirty old bastard too!)

    -----------------

    The second one is tamer, having to talk a developer out of their chosen abbreviation for Cumulative Totals was well, a rather more lengthy discussion than I'd anticipated. He swore up and down that no one would read it that way and my arguement was that as part of the customer facing team, who had to train the user on the feature there was no way I was reading out Cum budget and Cum totals on an open call!

    Eventually they relented!

  58. NITS

    DTF

    A national retailer here in West Pondia had an initiative called "Door To Floor", apparently aimed at improving efficiency by moving received goods directly from the receiving dock to the sales floor, bypassing the stockroom. They must have been doing some training at one store where I was dispatched to fix something IT-related. Hanging in the stockroom was a humongous banner that read "DTF University". After picking my chin up off the floor, I asked the manager if she was aware that the kids use "DTF" in txt-speak to mean "down to f*ck". She told me that she had not been aware of that usage, and thanked me.

    The banner was gone at my next visit.

  59. Chairman of the Bored Silver badge

    Failure Analysis

    We had a guy appointed head of Failure Analysis (FA). So he started occasionally wearing a kid's paper crown and announce that he is the King of FA.

    If you called his office you might get his deep, booming voice ask, "So! What is your FA King problem?"

  60. ssieler

    About 10 years ago, we were using a third-party (European) mail filter service ... a friend in Guatemala tried to send me a one line email, something like:

    stan, see this statue of liberty replica in Colmar, France: <some url>

    ...and it got rejected.

    We traced it down and found that the mail filter service rejected it because of the word 'replica' ... they'd been seeing tens of thousands of spam emails trying to sell "replica rolex" and other "replica" watches ... and they went way, way overboard.

    We dropped them and started managing our own mail after that!

  61. ITS Retired

    I find most censorship rather childish. This entire long thread of comments proving censorship as such. Most of us are not in school anymore. Many for several decades. I'm long past gray, mine beard's white.

    Censoring medical terms? Court records? Engineering common terms? Common words in every day use? But then again common sense is in short supply in many places. Authoritarians in manglement positions keep making sure of that.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "But then again common sense is in short supply in many places. Authoritarians in manglement positions keep making sure of that."

      I think you meant to type "Politicians cutting grade-school budgets keep making absolutely certain of that".

  62. Demosthenes Locke

    Odd, I thought Cu. M. was a reasonable abbreviation. But M^3 works.

    Reminds me of the swimming pool construction project at my college. The idiot architect didn't know the difference between a yard and a metre, so he made us a 25-yard pool. Then he wondered why we couldn't get it certified for swim meets. When the problem was discovered, he famously said "yard, metre, what's the difference?"

    The head of the construction crew said "3.3701 inches each".

    When we later discovered that electrical conduit after electrical conduit did not match up to one another, requiring dogleg bends, we weren't all that surprised. The idiot couldn't frakking MEASURE.

  63. AK565

    You know, I'll never look at 'm^3' the same way ever again thanks to the readers of El Reg.

  64. chartupdate
    Alert

    Putting the S in hit

    Some years ago I worked in support for a company which sold digital services to the radio industry. We had a product that allowed radio stations to manage their DLS text, the scrolling updates that appear on digital radios. To avoid abuse, given it allowed the presenters to put up their own messages, it had a profanity filter, the configuration of which had to be tweaked when the system mysteriously declined to acknowledge the playing of Saltwater by Chicane.

  65. Terry 6 Silver badge

    And just as a postscript to all of this. I am, as I type this, in the middle of trying to forward the government's green voucher confirmation to an approved contractor so they can start the work. But this government email is being bounced by the contractor's Spam filter.

    It is literally nothing more than a genuine and expected email from a government department being sent to a company who's job it is to receive and act on said email..

    <bounce>

  66. Martin Cleaver

    In a similar, but slightly less smutty vein, I had great difficulty sending a requested phone number to a contact on Facebook Messenger. FBM flatly refused to send the message with his name and phone number. Then it became apparent that FBM didn't like his surname. It's "Bot".

  67. Already?

    The major US-based systems and services supplier I worked for 20 years ago had for a while a filter that correctly blocked emails containing profanities and strong language. The fun part was that it helpfully appended to the bounced email a list of words that could have caused the block, hence the sender was helpfully presented with that same list of the worst (best? hardest? strongest... yh) words that weren't allowed. Yes - c**t was in there, in full.

    1. jake Silver badge

      "Yes - c**t was in there, in full."

      What a horrible word. Possibly the worst in the English language. I mean, how many children have been stifled by an adult saying "You can't do that!"? Only a complete cunt would think otherwise.

  68. Blackjack Silver badge

    Adults filters always cause problems

    When Cyber Cafes were a thing, think the New Tens, aka 2010 and change, a place had a filter so strict it blocked most news sites, I ended having to use my Nokia N8 Mobile Data instead.

  69. Nick Pettefar

    http://www.waynekerrtest.com/ I remember them from when I worked at Malmesbury TMC. We used to test the new electrostatic telephone microphones with their sound bridges ( I recall).

  70. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    S'funny that, I worked for an IT company that provided IT support to a major national brand of gas supplier (no more clues). I used to pull the early shift (I preferred it) but I was NOT on the Desk that provided that support as I was a techie at a different level. However, a young lady off that desk came to me in a panic because she had been wrestling with an email problem being experienced, exactly as reported.

    With no one else (yet) in the office, I asked to see the offending email/headers despite the fact that I was operating systems and hardware (Groupware - who provided email systems support - were not in yet).

    Yes, the offending (and offensive, to some) abbreviation for cubic metres was peppered throughout the email.

    This story is either my dealing with this matter, or another IT help desk experienced the exact same incident independently. In IT, I suppose anything is possible, so I guess it is just a case of someone else experiencing the same thing and not someone changing gender and assuming the story...

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