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From: Mark Borgerson
Subject: Re: Generating Serial Numbers
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <4b8a72c48aM.Seifert@t-online.de>
X-Newsreader: MicroPlanet Gravity v2.50
NNTP-Posting-Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 14:32:18 GMT
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 14:32:19 GMT
In article <4b8a72c48aM.Seifert@t-online.de>, M.Seifert@t-online.de
> On 24 Oct, Geraldo Sazias wrote:
> > Maybe slightly OT but here goes:
> > I was wondering where companies get their schemes to generate serial
> > numbers for their equipment. These are almost always coded to prevent
> > competitors from finding out how many products one has produced.
> > Are there standards for generatin serial numbers or do companies make
> > these up on an ad-hoc basis?
> Erm, if the whole sense of those coded serial numbers is to not allow
> competitors to get any idea of the production numbers, would it make a lot
> of sense to use a standard way to encode them? :-)
A few points:
1. If you're putting a serial number longer than 5 digits on a device,
break the number up into groups of 4 or 5 digits so the user can
read and write down one group at a time. (as they do on credit cards)
2. For larger numbers where you are going to offer phone support,
use part of the number as a checksum on the rest. Then a simple
PC program can verify valid serial numbers for the service tech.
3. As opposed disguising the number of units produced, sometimes
serial numbers are used to fool the user into thinking than more
have been produced than is the case. One company I worked for
always used integers starting at 100. That way the person who
bought the first unit might get the impression that 99 previous
users had found all the bugs! ;-)
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