On Wed Mar 21 12:00:24 2001, Jonathan Peterson wrote:
> 1. Please can we stop this silly 'firstname lastname' format. The most
> significant string (family name) should come first, with a standard
> delimiter (comma) before the first name (which should come last). This is
> what bibliographies and libraries have used for years, so should everyone
> else. Please use:

That would work if 'significant' was well defined in relation to names,
but it isn't.  It works with dates because 'significant' has a well
defined meaning in relation to numerical quantities.

In some circumstances the family name is the most important: the
bibliography example works because we tend to talk about 'Einstein'
rather than 'Albert'.  It would also work in most situations in some
countries (like Japan) where the family name is used much more
frequently than in English-speaking countries: in Japan it is standard
to give your name as family name followed by common name.

In some countries the 'family name' is actually defined by your job,
location, or other mutable property.  It used to be like that in Europe.

In other countries the family name changes each generation, so taking
"Jonathan Peterson" as an example: his father would be "Peter <something>"
and his children would be "<something> Jonathanson".

> 2. The address format is a real mess, being least significant string first,
> and no clear guide as to whether comma or newline or both are the acceptable
> delimiters. Also, the location of the postcode string is arbitrary, and in
> any case the postcode repeats information and is often redundant. However,
> since postcodes can be easily fed into computer programs, and are language
> independant, they should replace all that other stuff.
> Please use:
> ISO planet code, ISO country code, POSTCODE, Building Number[, apartment
> number][, business name]

So, you think the Martians actually care about ASCII, Roman alphabets,
or the 'International' standards!?  Well, they do care a bit, but only
for the sake of peace.

> Note also that country code is compulsory. In the past post offices assumed
> that addresses without a country code were local and assumed the 'current'
> country as the one required for delivery.

No they didn't.  If the address is obviously not local, they try their
best to send it to the correct country.  If the postmen were machines,
then they would probably make assumptions.  Human postmen can do amazing
things, like deliver letters addresses to "John Smith, the house with the
blue door, near the flower shop in the main street in Newtownards".

> Note too that ISO planet code has been introduced so that when we colonise
> mars, we will not be left with 3 billion ambiguous addresses! What a mess

Colonise Mars!?  Not if we get here first.

> that would be! As you see I have really learned from the Y2K thing, which
> caused such massive chaos here on earth when all the computers stopped
> working and the planes fell out of the sky etc etc.
> I hope others will take these suggestions to heart,
> Peterson, Jonathan
> Earth, UK, W1H 6LT, 40, Ideashub
> 2001-03-21

To assist with interplanetary communication, the Martian government has
decided to standardise on the URL syntax for specifying locations within
our solar system.  They are working with standards bodies to produce
seperate schemes for pan-galactic and inter-galactic URLs, but they are
being hampered by a lack of absolute inertial frame of reference in the
universe, and some stubborn blue creatures from Sirius.  The
interplanitary URL is sufficient for our short-term expansion plans.
Unfortunatly the actual specification of the scheme is a millitary
secret, but I can target your house with the following:

Have fun!


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