home
about
blog
contact
code portfolio language conlangs puzzles music composition analysis

Names and renaming

2018-01-23 misc

There are only two hard things in Computer Science: cache invalidation and naming things.

—Phil Karlton

With computers in general, naming things has been a constant source of difficulties for me. I've delayed starting projects for hours just because I couldn't decide what to name the directory that holds them, and that's something nobody else will ever see.

So naturally, I spent a lot of time deliberating over what my usernames and website URL should be, both of which are highly public. The issue is that I started developing my online presence at a time when... well, the future suitability of my aliases was not a primary concern. This is reflected in some of my earliest choices, which include "OddLlama" (don't ask) and "Doorknob" (still my Stack Exchange username).

At one point, I eventually decided to standardize on a single name, which ended up being "KeyboardFire" (everywhere except for Stack Exchange, where I decided too many people knew me by my existing name to change it). The problem with that name is that it sounds like something someone came up with in middle school, mostly because it is in fact something I came up with in middle school, and I could not imagine verbally dictating an @keyboardfire.com email address to someone. When I realized my existing domain name was about to expire, I decided it might be time to finally abandon it in favor of something a little more professional.

The natural choice, tockman.com, was already registered – by a domain parking page, but I didn't want to go through the hassle of contacting the owner and negotiating a transfer that they might or might not be willing to arrange anyway.

That left me with several alternatives:

When I realized tck.mn was an option, I was initially a little hesitant, given how nonstandard both the lack of vowels and .mn TLD are. But domain hacking isn't as uncommon anymore, and a 5-letter domain name was very tempting. And tckmn also works well as a concise username, being just long enough to probably not yet be taken in many places (following in the footsteps of rms and dmr is difficult with the initials alt).

Also, andy@tck.mn is a pretty high quality email address.

It'll be annoying to change my username everywhere (as a rough estimate of how annoying, I have 107 entries in my password manager), so I do have some justification for spending unreasonable amounts of time thinking about this. But at least it's a definite improvement over my previous names.