Sunday, May 11, 2008
The Number Games
Number games are very important to most Singaporeans - many wish to be rich through 4-D, TOTO, Big Sweep and other games that Singapore Pools (and other illegal rivals) offer. It is inevitable that we are identified by numbers since computers are used in all public services and also private businesses. All of us have many identifiers and even our assets (or liability, I still cannot decide how to classify my car) like motor vehicles have identifier, also know as Vehicle Registration Number.
For motorists with deep pocket and a preferred number for their vehicles, LTA offers bidding for vehicle registration numbers. You can bid for a number for your new vehicle or existing ones. I know many motorists who decided to bid after receiving "lousy" system assigned numbers. So how much does the exercise cost? At least S$1,000 to bid for any number while the lucky numbers, the single-digit number and the low numbers will attract many bidders and thus, yield higher bids. There are also additional fees for retaining and exchanging Vehicle Registration Numbers between vehicles.
I was curious about how the suffix alphabet was computed and found the algorithm - each alphabet of the series yield an ASCII code (A = 65, B = 66, ...). Subtract it by 64 and multiple with a constant code for each position. Number value is also multiplied with a constant code. All the products are summed up and the remainder of the result when divided by 19 will yet the position of the 19-character string that determines the suffix. Check out the tool that illustrates how it is done.
If my name is Eric, I would love to have my Vehicle Registration plate showing "ER 1 C" but the alogorithm for the suffix alphabet turns up "T" so the legitimate plate is "ER 1 T". How about the intimidating "EV 1 L"? The legitimate plate is "EV 1 Y". Have you seen interesting Vehicle License plates?