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From: Matthias Seifert
Subject: Re: Generating Serial Numbers
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 2002 19:52:37 +0200
Organization: Software Evolutions
References: <firstname.lastname@example.org> <3DB81533.1A665FD8@alcatel-ke.de>
On 24 Oct, Tim Sinkins wrote:
> John Devereux wrote:
> > "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?
> > We started at 1 and counted upwards... You mean there's
> > another way???!!
> As the guy said you don't want anyone to know that this is sale no 1.
> Easiest way to avoid this would appear to be to pick a number 12345
> and count up from there.
This still leaves some room for guesses - at least about the number of
products produced in a given period.
If I were to chose a "random" numbering system I would start with 0 and
then count by adding a (huge) prime but only using a fixed number of
And one could even insert an additional checksum digit (say at the third
position) - for those who have to handle enquiries by phone, which results
(In this case the checksum is generated by simply XORing the 6 digits.)
I really would be surprised if anyone still were able to figure out the
number of products produced (in total, or in a given period) - without
knowing the "seed" and the position of the checksum digit.
With that knowledge OTOH it is quite easy to determine the production
number, e.g. to decide whether a given product was produce before or after
a given design change.
Plus the advantage, that you still can count 999999 products with 6 (plus
one for the checksum) digits.
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