The Unlucky People Whose Name Breaks Computers


There are people out there who wish they had a name like Smith or Jones. The unlucky folks with the last name “Null” face problems other people can’t imagine. That’s because the word “null” can be produced by a system to indicate an empty name field. Now and then, system administrators have to tried to fix the problem for people whose name is actually Null, but it’s extremely difficult to do. For people saddled with the name, some of the frustrations include not being able to book airline tickets, not being able to enter information on a government tax website, and running into problems setting up utilities. The more important the website or service, the stricter controls will be on what name is entered. Every couple of years computer systems are upgraded or changed and they’re tested with a variety of data – names that are well represented in society, but Null isn’t normally one of them. For those who are stuck with the name, they’re often reduced to having to rely on the old-fashioned way of doing business — sending in paper documents or going to businesses in person.