Those good old-fashioned file-naming conventions…

Back in the late 1990s, this Canadian pilot fish’s team was running a Unix-based software package that used numerous data files.

The IT workers shared the data files with several people, most of whom weren’t very technologically-oriented.

That’s why they used easy to read file names that included the project name, project codes and dates relevant to the project data (e.g.: “XYZCompany_Proj_19970515”).

Then came the fateful day when the company’s new general manager decided to get involved with IT operations.

The GM insisted that the IT department begin using various codes in place of the project name, and then code the date. The new file names had to look like ABEIAHAE.001 to conform to the 8.3 file naming convention.

Pilot fish and some of his colleagues expressed their disdain about this decision in a number of individual letters to the general manager.

“We felt that people would need to use a secret decoder ring to understand the cryptic file names and explained that it was Unix, thus the 8.3 file name format wasn’t necessary,” fish explained.

The letter obviously didn’t go over very well, as one of the IT workers ended up having to write a letter of apology for using the words “archaic” and “preposterous” in his complaint.

After a few more letters of apology were demanded, most of the IT team ended up leaving for other jobs.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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