May 1, 2000-- Newsletter #78

By Joe Burns

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Goodies to Go (tm)
May 1, 2000--Newsletter #78
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Please visit http://www.htmlgoodies.com
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Greetings, Weekend Silicon Warriors,

Oh, am I hooked! My wife has a collection of Mexican miracle crosses, which are called "cruz de milagros" in Spanish. Of course I felt left out, not having a collection of my own, so I thought it would be good to start collecting items with the name "Burns". One trip to eBay and it's like falling in love all over again. I am now the high bidder on 12 different auctions and have actually won three. I just bought a 1901 first edition of the poetry of Robert Burns. I can't wait to read it.

Did you hear . . .

The rock group Metallica has become the first rock group to sue Napster for copyright violation for the illegal swapping of the band's music. (Several colleges and universities are following suit.) In apparent retaliation, a cyber-vandal posted the text, "LEAVE NAPSTER ALONE" on the Metallica Web site.

Have you ever heard of the small country of Tuvalu? Well, Tuvalu - which is easily located by looking off of the northeastern coast of Australia--has lucked into a Web gold mine. Their country extension is ".tv", and that must be worth money... $50 million, to be exact. That's how much Idealab will be paying in installments over the next 12 years. The deal with Idealab has already netted the tiny country $15 million, which is one million more than their current national budget. That's wonderful. May they use the money wisely and live well.

Network Solutions (NS) has sent a formal request to the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), in hopes of starting two new top-level domain names. NS would like the domain extension ".shop" created, to be open to all who wish to register site names with that suffix, and ".banc", which would be open to financial institutions only. That has to start happening. The current top-level domains are filling up.

Now onto today's topic...

You know what I need? I need a handle, a nickname. Something that makes me sound much cooler than I probably am.

I've been following the news about the young Canadian boy alleged to be the hacker who pulled off attacks on some of the largest Web servers in the world. You've probably heard the story. Do you remember the handle the kid hacker used?

Mafiaboy.

That's a pretty good one, huh? These handles represent who you are - or at least who you want to be. Of course, we're not all hackers or crackers, so most people set their handles through their email logins. It's really fun reading what people call themselves. I went through some of my deleted emails to look at the email addresses people have chosen. Dig these:

Jewelsrave, Jeeps, Flyboy, BabyBrian, Woogley, Okledoff, BadGuy, ComptonDuo, Vid, Chasam, Dobber, Songman, SnowFlaek, VolsOne, LSUTigerFan, CrasherNet, Optin', Primoz, Zoberan, Zamboni, LowBrow, NetMan, EditorMan, BagaDonuts, Wayward, Chuckee, and YaYa.

See? Now, those names have some punch to them. I know they're just handles, but it at least proves these people put some thought into their future email addresses. You know what else is great about the names above?

They don't have numbers after them. Those people got to those names first, and first is good. We all know that the first man to walk on the moon was Neil Armstrong, but can you name the second? That's my point!

I always think it's a little funny when I get a letter from someone whose address is something like BettyBoop1524@something.com.

I always figure that kind of figure has to be a running count of the number of people that chose BettyBoop. If it were a more specific number, like a year or a one, I could see choosing the name, but 1524? Does that mean I could write letters to everyone from BettyBoop1 to BettyBoop1523 at something.com, and all 1524 messages would hit an actual mailbox?

A login numbered that high must have been suggested by the computer after the person created the account. He or she put in "BettyBoop" and the computer replied something like:

"I'm sorry, but that login has already been taken. May we suggest BettyBoop1524?"

See, right then the person should have said "No," and gone back to choose another name. There must a different way to spell BettyBoop, or another cartoon character you could be just as happy with.

I should talk. I have only chosen my login name once. Every time I got a new email account, I basically went with whatever the computer suggested. If you've ever allowed a computer to pick for you, you probably know the drill: First letter of your first name, plus your full last name, up to seven letters. If that login is taken, then they add the first letter of your middle name. If that login is taken, they switch it around and put your last name first, and then your first initial. If that one's taken, they begin adding numbers.

Does that sound familiar? I know, I know; I should have stopped the process when I had the chance. I should have said to my university webmaster, "Stop! I want my login to be StudlyGuy!"

Yes! StudlyGuy!

What student wouldn't find that funny, writing to their professor, Doctor StudlyGuy?

Eh, the Webmaster wouldn't allow it to happen anyway, so I'd still get stuck with the computer-generated email login. Here are the ones I've had so far:

"Jburns", "jeburns", "jburns2", "burnsj", and "joe".

There is NOTHING worse than possessing an email login that ends with the number two. The two key on the keyboard is also the "@" key. That is so hard to type and gets messed up on every other attempt.

I did like the last one, "Joe". At least that gave me the ability to pronounce the login. The others above have never been transmitted on the first verbal try. Everyone asks, "What was that?"

I'd like to be able to say that, given a choice, I wouldn't have used the traditional format, but I did. I am the only person who receives mail on the HTML Goodies site. I could have chosen any login I wanted. What did I choose? That's right, "jburns". I'm just part of the establishment, I guess.

Luckily I've never been on the server that did that underscore thing between the two names. I have a nice short name, so it wouldn't have been so bad:

joe_burns@server.com

Those with long last names get into all kinds of trouble:

bill_georgiamitsopolis@server.com

That's an actual name. It's Greek. I was at his wedding!

I think it's time for the handle revolution. We should each stop, look at our boring handles, and become something we want to be. I want a handle that is so great that when I tell people my email address, they're impressed. I want to appear suave, sophisticated, and debonair. I shall call myself...

GoodiesGuy!

Nah, that's silly.

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That's that. Thanks for reading and replying. I really do appreciate your letters. I can't respond to them all, but I try to write back to as many as I can.

Joe Burns, Ph.D.

And Remember: The second man to walk on the moon was Buzz Aldrin.

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