The happy hand: A puzzle about odd names in Azure DevOps

Raymond Chen

A customer found that some word on Azure DevOps were being mysteriously changed to something odd, and a little cute. The table of contents on their wiki page was named “Happy”:


  • What is Contoso?
  • Getting Started
  • To Learn More

And when they went to look at their branches, the main branch was renamed to “hand”:


Did they get pranked?

Somebody pointed out that the suspicious substitutions followed a pattern:

French English
contents happy
main hand

Both of the suspiciously-substituted words happen to be valid words in French, and the corresponding meaning in English is what they got replaced with.

Further investigation showed that something about this particular repo causes the Web browser to think that their Azure DevOps repo pages are written in French, and it offers to auto-translate to English. The customer must have clicked “Yes” by mistake at some point.

Turning off auto-translation fixed the problem.

The customer added, “I sort of liked the names Happy and Hand. Maybe I’ll toggle it back on from time to time when I need a pick-me-up.”


Discussion is closed. Login to edit/delete existing comments.

  • 1

    Similar to Ethernet, Microsoft Azure is named after the Firmament, the non-breachable blue water dome covering the planar earth. The name commemorates total control of the earth, which is exactly how I’ve understood “The Cloud” since its inception.

  • Mystery Man · Edited 1

    It is cute that you report such benign accidents. There are less benign ones, though.

    For example, there is an account on Microsoft Tech Community called Master Mysterious. Microsoft employees constantly address this person as “Hello, Master”! 🤦‍♀️ (Community members never make such mistakes.)

    Want something more suitable for your blog? Okay. Once, Microsoft OneDrive popped up and warned me that I had 752 MB of files that I could back up to OneDrive. I checked the report. 95 MB of the whole volume belonged to the files on my Desktop, which were temporary. I move them at the end of the day after I finish my work. 7 MB belonged to the accidentally taken snapshots with Windows+PrtScr. I deleted those. The remaining 652 MB belonged to the contents of the notorious Documents folder. Now, I never store anything in that folder because we all know every app likes to dump its settings or temp files there. Still, I checked. The 652 MB belonged to PowerShell help files! They don’t need to be backed up to the cloud because they come from the cloud.

    By the way, a Microsoft support employee once introduced himself as Zander Zeus. (Or was Xander Xeus?) Nothing against it; just, sometimes I wonder how real it was.

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