Character encoding WTF



  • From the wikipedia page :

    "An image of a post envelope with address written in Krokozyabry. The envelope contained a Harry Potter book. This letter was sent to a Russian student by her French friend, who manually wrote the address that he received by e-mail. His e-mail client, unfortunately, was not set up correctly to display Cyrillic characters, so they were substituted with diacritic symbols from the Western charset (ISO-8859-1) The original message was in KOI8-R.

    One of many forum/blog posts that have the story (in Russian): http://forum.mamaska.ru/index.php?act=ST&f=4&t=93&st=0

    The address was deciphered by the postal employees and delivered successfully. Some of the correct characters (red) were written above the wrong ones (black)."


    wtf



  • A postal employee deciphered it?  Time for the post office to update its motto - 'Neither rain nor sleet nor invalid character sets...' 

     Canada Post would have just thrown the package in the garbage...



  • That postal system should take pride. Going the extra mile to deliver the package, with an address that is incorrect (wrong code page)  and doing it successfully is quite impressive. I wonder if it is the first time that happened in that area.

     



  • @kswanton said:

    A postal employee deciphered it?  Time for the post office to update its motto - 'Neither rain nor sleet nor invalid character sets...' 

     Canada Post would have just thrown the package in the garbage...


    This is an awesome post!  post of the year.


  • Duzbuns Hopsit pfarmerrsc

    I am reminded of the Blind Letter Office, from Pratchatt's "Making Money".



  • @asuffield said:

    I am reminded of the Blind Letter Office, from Pratchatt's "Making Money".

    thanks, nice reminder. I forgot about that.  (goes off to order the book



  • When does that one reach paperback?



  • Okay, I guess I can buy that the sender legitimately thought that the Russian alphabet consisted primarily of accented uppercase roman letters.  But wouldn't you be suspicious of the division symbol?
     



  • @cconroy said:

    Okay, I guess I can buy that the sender legitimately thought that the Russian alphabet consisted primarily of accented uppercase roman letters.  But wouldn't you be suspicious of the division symbol?
     


    Not many know that is a division symbol, it is too oldschool.



  • Those postal workers are intense, who would've even thought to try translating a gibberish address to a different charset and seeing if it came out to something real?



  • For my opinion on this topic, you can just read my sig.

    (BTW, I'm not complaining but this story is more than 3 years old!)



  • @kswanton said:

    A postal employee deciphered it?  Time for the post office to update its motto - 'Neither rain nor sleet nor invalid character sets...' 

     Canada Post would have just thrown the package in the garbage...

     

    I haven't had problems with Canada Post.  When my relatives in the states use the wrong postal code, it gets written in by someone at the post office and sent to me anyway.

     

    UPS, though, is one company that gives me headaches.

    "We found your package! Come get it!"

    *I drive across town in rush hour to get there before they close*

    "We don't have your package, why did you come here? ... Well who called you, do you know their name? ... It doesn't matter if they didn't tell you their name, they were supposed to."

     

    How could a tracking system possibly work based on the name of random employees who call me from one of 3 possible locations in the city?
     

     



  • @Jetts said:

    UPS, though, is one company that gives me headaches.

    "We found your package!"

    "Then we jumped on it, and threw it in a ditch. Here is a photograph of the ditch. Go find it"
     



  • Well, work this one out then:

    This envelope somehow made it to it's intended destination, thanks to the combined efforts of Indian Post and New Zealand Post.

    Note the following: everything in Indian language except address, misspelled city name "Auckland" as "Ocalend", no mention of the destination country at all, misspelled road which resulted in it going to the wrong road and being subsequently redirected to the correct address!

    That's pretty epic.
     



  • @kswanton said:

    A postal employee deciphered it?  Time for the post office to update its motto - 'Neither rain nor sleet nor invalid character sets...' 

     Canada Post would have just thrown the package in the garbage...

     

    In a former lifetime, I worked at a public library and put in some time as the mail clerk for the main branch. You'd be surprised what Canada Post will deliver on a good day. We'd occasionally get information requests from pretty much anywhere on the globe, addressed to "Library. Saskatoon. Canada" and the like. Sometimes that wouldn't even be in English.

    Of course, on the not-so-good days, we'd get those nice letters that looked like they'd been shredded, stomped on, run over by a fleet of mail trucks, and then dropped into various petrochemicals for good measure, stuck inside one of the nice "Hey, we destroyed your letter. Ooops. Here's what left" mailers. 



  • Was probably lucky that an employee saw it and remembered having seen similar stuff in a computer setting.

    Also, try this address:

    Seaborgium,
    Lawrencium,
    Berkelium,
    Californium,
    Americium.

    Or better, just tape samples of the elements to the envelope. Though since many are radioactive with very short half-lives, that could be a bit problematic.



  • @cconroy said:

    Okay, I guess I can buy that the sender legitimately thought that the Russian alphabet consisted primarily of accented uppercase roman letters.  But wouldn't you be suspicious of the division symbol?
     



    Considering the fact that a 3 counts as a letter in Russian, no, I don't think I would be.



  • @Cap'n Steve said:

    @cconroy said:

    Okay, I guess I can buy that the sender legitimately thought that the Russian alphabet consisted primarily of accented uppercase roman letters. But wouldn't you be suspicious of the division symbol?



    Considering the fact that a 3 counts as a letter in Russian, no, I don't think I would be.

    That's a 3? I always thought it was a snake.

    I believe the Euro sign is in there somewhere, too. 



  • No actual Euro-sign, but Э/э (e) does looks slightly like a mirrored € sign. You may be thinking of Greek, which has ϵ as an alternative to the normal lowercase version of epsilon (ε).

    The "3" is З/з (z).

    Of course, context goes a long way. Even if you don't understand what it says, you can make an educated guess, thanks to spaces. Additionally, it depends on the font that's being used - Courier New, for example, has fairly distinct differences between these characters.



  • @Kyanar said:

    Well, work this one out then:

    This envelope somehow made it to it's intended destination, thanks to the combined efforts of Indian Post and New Zealand Post.

    Note the following: everything in Indian language except address, misspelled city name "Auckland" as "Ocalend", no mention of the destination country at all, misspelled road which resulted in it going to the wrong road and being subsequently redirected to the correct address!

    That's pretty epic.
     

    Well, I very much doubt that anyone could have delivered anything with such an unreadable address.

    Or did you just post a very small picture thinking that we could somehow see what was wrong with those 1x1 pixel letters? 



  • I regularly receive mail where č in my last name is replaced by something else - I've so far seen è, è, ?, č, #e8, C. Never had any delivery problems though.



  • @ender said:

    I regularly receive mail where č in my last name is replaced by something else - I've so far seen è, è, ?, č, #e8, C. Never had any delivery problems though.

     

    I think it's probably safe to say that the post office won't really pay much attention to your name when delivering to an address, though...



  • Wow, just wow.

    I got the impression that whoever did the transcoding has done that many times -- like they did some chars off the top of their heads.

    Dunno why I feel that way, though. 

     



  • Maybe we should have a competition to see who can get the most obfuscated address through the postal system... having said that, given some of the examples above I think I'd struggle to come up with anything more obfuscated!



  • I do remember the article about the person who drew a street plan because he/she couldn't remember the exact street name.

    @PhillS said:

    Maybe we should have a competition to see who can get the most obfuscated address through the postal system... having said that, given some of the examples above I think I'd struggle to come up with anything more obfuscated!

    Write the address backwards or mirrored. 



  • @XIU said:

    I do remember the article about the person who drew a street plan because he/she couldn't remember the exact street name.

    Or the guy who drew a little map of Britain with a dot indicating where to send to.



  • @GettinSadda said:

    @Kyanar said:

    Well, work this one out then:

    This envelope somehow made it to it's intended destination, thanks to the combined efforts of Indian Post and New Zealand Post.

    Note the following: everything in Indian language except address, misspelled city name "Auckland" as "Ocalend", no mention of the destination country at all, misspelled road which resulted in it going to the wrong road and being subsequently redirected to the correct address!

    That's pretty epic.
     

    Well, I very much doubt that anyone could have delivered anything with such an unreadable address.

    Or did you just post a very small picture thinking that we could somehow see what was wrong with those 1x1 pixel letters? 

    Well, for a start, the address is in the centre of the image and very much readable.  As well, that's obviously not real size.  They squished it a bit to make it fit in the newspaper's back page. 


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