Minority Opinions

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Username Multiplication

with 4 comments

My default usernames have been drawn from two sources: the email address dictated by company policy at my first job, and the nickname granted by my first roommates at college.  Unfortunately, those aren’t always available, particularly for more popular services.  Today, for example, I was asked to sign up for a service used by several of my co-workers.  It’s not purely online, so I don’t blame them for not using OpenID or related technologies; it has been around and popular for several years, so I have only myself to blame for not collecting “my” username early.  The real surprise was that everything I could think of was taken.  Other variants of my name, the domain given to me by a friend years ago, the pseudonym I’ve taken on a family blog, everything.  On a previous occasion, I’ve used part of an MD5 hash, but that was for something far less social; this time, people I know will see and perhaps search for my username, so it needs to be fairly friendly.

KeePassX to the rescue.  I have been using it and LastPass for password management, and now wonder how I ever managed before.  Not only are my passwords generally more secure these days (even though this new service limits passwords to 20 characters and disallows spaces), but they keep track of my usernames, as well.  With some services using email addresses as usernames, and a few sites from my early years with even more ridiculous usernames, that’s more important than I had expected.  I also get to keep track of the unique email addresses I use for each site, and the answers to security questions used by financial institutions for an aura of security.

My new username comes from the Pronounceable tab of KeePassX’s password generator, set to only use lower-case letters.  Even then, it took a few tries to find one that I liked, and that came up with no relevant hits on a web search.  I might have tried for something even better, perhaps using a Markov chain word generator, but I’m satisfied enough with this one to consider using it for other things.  Perhaps I’ll use it to name a program; there’s value in being easily searchable.

On the other hand, perhaps its dubious pronunciation might come back to haunt me.  I know one person still trying to make money off a site that nobody spells correctly after hearing the name, and can easily see something similar happening here.  We’ll see.


Written by eswald

29 May 2012 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Technology

4 Responses

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  1. Ooh, you might like my onomastic manifesto: http://messymatters.com/nominology


    30 May 2012 at 10:39 pm

    • Thanks. By those criteria, this name ranks well on BREV, GREP, GOOG, PRON, and perhaps VERB, by sacrificing EVOC and SPEL. That should make it good for a hobby project that would mostly be spread by internet, right?


      3 Jun 2012 at 5:05 pm

      • Totally. I’m curious to hear the name!
        Can you backfit a shred of evocativity? I feel like that helps to at least have a toehold for your memory to bring it back to mind. Like “what was that site that tracks goals and sends reminders? … oh, beeminder!”
        We went a little overboard backfitting rationalizations for the name Beeminder: http://blog.beeminder.com/beenamer/

        Daniel Reeves

        3 Jun 2012 at 5:58 pm

      • There might be some evocativity for the right project, but I have nothing in mind that fits. It doesn’t even seem related to any English words, though it fits the syllable structure easily enough. The main feeling invoked is probably related to the similarity in sound with the name of a certain fish.


        5 Jun 2012 at 11:51 am

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