Archive for January, 1997

Just Call Me ‘sedward’

January 27, 1997

A little riddle to get you all started this semester.

How can you tell when you and your persona are associated far too much with your online activities?

When people start calling you by your login name.

In real life, your name is everything.

It’s your identity as well as your identification.

It’s what’s written on your driver’s license (right next to your pretty picture) when you tell “Mr. Bouncer,” “Excuse me … I’m with the D.J.”

You need to be identified as a certain someone in the world in order to write (and bounce) checks and to get a terminal in the computer labs on campus.

In fact, you even need an identification and a name so that when you get amnesia, you have something to forget.

All of these cases require you to be a gracious Mr. Harry Goodguy (or Sally Goodgal) citizen. However, when you are exploring the online community as a “netizen,” all of these rules and norms get booted out of the window.

In many cases, you are a nobody online. You are a mere “E-speck” in the world of cyberspace.

Nobody cares about who you are, what you look like or what type of underwear you prefer to wear on your head.

You are recognized only as a name with an “@” mark.

A lot of times, you can designate your login name to a name of your choice (such as “bigboy,” “ultraman,” or maybe “pullmyfinger”), but in many other cases, you are designated to whatever your provider throws on you.

Often, your first or last name – or even a combination of the two – is used. You’d think that that would provide you with a really cool, identifiable name.

WRONG!

Sometimes, these lethal and uncontrollable combinations are the oddest kind and could leave you with a login name stranger than “bigboy.”

On the UH server alone, there are many login names that are good party conversation material, and would be deemed as somewhat peculiar as you go around advertising it as your own.

The following list is in no way to poke fun at the individual users (I don’t have a very “normal” login myself), but simply a way to illustrate the “unidentifiability” aspect of placing people to their E-mail addresses.

Let’s start with the users whose login names sound like UNIX commands or something out of a computer manual. A few of my favorites include “pine,” “pico,” “linc,” “ping,” “echo,” “watt,” “mac,” “hewlett,” “del,” “date,” “log,” “lib,” “pg,” and “elm.”

Some users may accidentally send E-mail to a fellow UH community member rather than run a program.

Unidentifiable.

While we are on the topic of the UH, let’s mention some of the buildings that occupy grassy knolls on campus. They include “art,” “miller,” “george,” and “hamilton.” Do these logins sound more like big brick structures?

Once again, unidentifiable.

Ok, by now you are either thinking to yourself, “This is hysterical! Do these users actually exist?” or “Get a life you strange, stalker guy. When and how did you find the time to research this otherwise lackluster topic?”

For those of you who did not have the second thought come up in your mind, I feel your pain. You folks probably do the same thing (by fingering other users), but on a regular basis.

I’m willing to bet that you were quietly thinking to yourself, “How in the hey did he find that one out? I thought I tried that one already!”

Still dumbfounded? I have a few more to present to you.

These will be under the topic of “Strange, but True.” They are, “ying,” “yang,” woody,” “rise,” “fairy,” “pong,” “viola,” “wing,” and “yo.”

As you can tell, your name in real life is far more helpful when wanting to associate yourself with it.

After all, you can only do so much with an unidentifiable login name such as “scooter.”

Happy surfing!

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