Wayback Wednesday: Four-letter words

But making the list would have been so much fun!

Computerworld  |  Shark Tank
Computerworld / IDG

This pilot fish works in an IT group that supports a semiconductor fabrication facility.

“The first step of the manufacturing process was to microscopically etch four-digit serial numbers onto the silicon using a laser,” fish says.

“One day, a microcode change request for the laser machine was made by manufacturing. They were quickly running out of four-digit serial numbers and wanted the laser reprogrammed to use alphanumeric characters.

“The first thought that came to mind was that there are some very offensive words that might be constructed from four alphabetical characters. We asked the factory director if she wanted a filter built into the new program to screen serial numbers using a predefined list of distasteful words.

“To our great surprise, we were told no.

“The change was implemented and life rolled on. But from time to time afterward, we would look up and speculate: ‘I wonder if they’re shipping JUNK in the factory this week.’”

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