Pointless restrictions

I bought Fiona an iPad for Christmas.  (So far she’s used it mostly for playing Bejewelled Blitz.)  One of the nice extras that Apple offers is personalised engraving on the device.  I wanted to use this to include Fiona’s name and email address, using the old RFC-822 standard format Name <emailAddress>.  But no:

And I just want to shout: “why not?”  How can it possibly hurt Apple if I have angle-brackets engraved on my wife’s iPad?  Surely it can’t be that they pass the message embedded in an XML document and they’re incapable of escaping < into &lt;?  If it’s that, then am I allowed to use ampersands?  Because the text doesn’t say I’m not to.

And what happenes when Rafa Benítez wants to buy a iPad?  People do have accents in their names, you know.


11 responses to “Pointless restrictions

  1. I would also presume the developers are capable of escaping XML and handling a variety of character encodings.

    Based on that, my theory is that the restriction probably stems from the engraving machine. (Poor API? Poor font lacking accents??? Even so, surely could always convert to a bitmap in the calling code, as laser engravers definitely support images).

    Or maybe it’s just a particularly poor web developer . . . .

  2. Even if the engraving machine has a hardwired character set, can we really believe that it lacks < and > but doesn’t prohibit and §?

  3. People in the USA don’t have weird characters in their names. The world outside the USA doesn’t matter. Google “the world according to the usa” for more information.

  4. The one that really bugs me is .. “coders” who love arbitrary unspecified formating. ie: A typical North American phone number is (NPA)NXX-XXXX ie: (123) 456-7890 .. or alternatively 123-456-7890 .. or variations thereof.

    But when a webpage rejects 123-456-7890 because it has dashes, so you change it to 1234567890 and it rejects it because its missing a space after the NPA area code portion… that sort of thign drives me nuts; its very common, even on big name sites, and every site has different weird rules.

    Why not just strip the non-numeric, or requrie the user to enter only numeric, or use 3 separate numeric-only-fields, or.. etc.

    Such lazyness, that effects thousands of people every day. For shame!

    @Michishige — the US has a blended population, but even ignoring that — the US has multiple official languages; English and Spanish. Spanish is full of accents, no?

    Apple is on the same continent as Canada which is full of accents in the French portion; course, theres quit a bit of French in New Orleans, too ..


  5. How very annoying.
    Like sites that restrict your password:
    “Sorry, we wouldn’t want to be TOO secure now would we?…”

  6. Michishige Kaito says: “People in the USA don’t have weird characters in their names.”

    That was my first guess — but then I remembered the huge Spanish-speaking polulation, with their ‘ñ’-infested names. So I don’t think Aglophonocentricism explains it.

  7. @Mike: I actually live in Spain, so I know what you mean. There arent many names with ‘ñ’ in them, by the way, but a lot of them with accents. Point was that the average American citizen cares little for anything outside of his country. This, of course, includes American programmers.

    Also, it seems they consider learning languages (besides English) a waste of time, because it’s everyone else’s duty to learn English. And that’s not me being usa-phobic. I’ve been told that by American folks, with a straight face. The same kind of people that think Asian languages should switch to the roman alphabet becuause THEY can’t read it, and us spaniards should also suppress all this accent madness, because it’s just so weird and meaningless. Same goes for french et al, of course.

    @Jeff: First notice of the USA having anything but “American” as official language.

  8. The U.S. does not have an official language.

    Most common folk, in any country in the world — the U.S. included, care only for making it through the day, and being with friends and family at night — or having some kind of distraction after work.

    Also, it is extremely easy to overlook the amount of (international) volunteer projects initiated and contributed to by, not the U.S., but the people who live (or were born) there.

    Now, consumerism … that IS a real problem in the U.S.

  9. As a Canadian living near the border,I was inundated with US culture (but hey, they got our comedians so fair trade ;) .. and one thing that stuck was some of the differences —

    The US is proud of its ‘melting pot’ nature; growing up, we learned the US woudl accept anyuone, and they woudl become an American.

    The Canadian way has always been — we’ll take anyone, and welcome your cultyural differences, as long as you behave. So we have strong multiculturalism, and many ‘little Italy’, ‘little Korea’, etc and so on all over.

    I’m not sure which is a better system .. the melting pot seems rude, but at least everyone tries to Be American and work for the common goal, whereas we have it pretty good and great food and culture, but lots of cultural crash or xenophobes in our own country. *shrug*

    As in all things, humans make it complicated :)

    The US is obviosuly American English predominantly, but the second most popular language is Spanish; I think its a federal noted thing, but I’ve never looked into it. (In Canada, we’re officially Englisn and French, so I just assumed the US was the same for English and Spanish.)

  10. The Mexican Apple store’s engraving system is the same. You’d think that one would allow accents and tildes. You’d think in 2011 we’d have sorted out unicode and multiple writting scripts.

  11. I’d chalk it up to poor oversight and lazy developers.

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