Once every ten years, every household in the UK gets to fill in a census form. This year, for the first time ever, I think, you can do it online. So, imagine how delighted we are that I am the only person in my household whose name actually fits in the box. Yes, really, there’s a 50 character limit.
Why? Suppose they’d splashed out and allowed 500 characters instead. What would that cost? Well, let’s assume 100M names. That’s an extra 450 x 100 = 45,000 MB of data, assuming they’re still using databases with fixed width fields. 45 GB. That would’ve cost them nearly an extra Â£5 at today’s prices. Not Â£5 per person, or Â£5 per household. Â£5 total.
Thank god for government savings, eh?
BTW, my wife rang and asked what to do. Amazingly, they opt for the least useful possible answer: start at the beginning of your name and keep going ’til you run out of space. I’m sure future generations will be very happy to have complete middle names and no surname. Not.