Internet Identity Crisis: How to Choose a Good Handle


I have never had nicknames that stuck. EVER. This, coupled with having a common (at least common 30 years ago) first name and a painfully long and complicated last name, makes creating an “internet identity” or handle difficult. Media Culpa provides a few good tips to good twitter handles here. In addition to these criteria, I think a good handle should be:

  • Easy to prounounce
  • Easily spoken aloud in less than 5 words
  • Even easier to spell (especially when spoken)
  • 3 syllables max
  • I have been using lweite, which admittedly is horrible, and conforms no almost none of the above criteria. I have lliissaa in a few places, but it is taken on twitter (which is probably what matters most).

    So what to do? Is it appropriate to stalk the person who has the handle I want and who, by the way, never uses her account? Probably not… its a little creepy (and also, I couldn’t find her email address–yes, I did stalk her a bit). Should I just start from scratch? How about pwnedbylisa? too geeky? I’m sure my “woes” will end at some point and I will settle on a handle to use across all accounts I own, and hopefully these tips will make it easier for others who are trying to build their personal brand.

    Mac made easy

    Before buying the current cute little 12″ G4 powerpc I have toted all over the world, I was known between friends to be the one who thought that Macs were BS. I ended up buying it because it was the right price, lightweight, and small–ideal for carrying along traveling.

    At first a bit nervous about all the programs I thought I would be unable to use, I have to say that I fell in love with it within 20 minutes and forgot completely about my mis-informed perception that development for mac is behind that for PC. In fact, I have found every program I need and more… some programs that I use ONLY run on macs simply because the developers refuse to use the inferior Windows OS to develop.

    To help people that are just beginning their life-long Mac love affair here’s a list of programs I use–most of which are open source, and thus free:

    Firefox–Internet Browser–This is a MUST HAVE for every computer Mac and PC alike… DOWN WITH IE! For a list of good plug-ins see this post on Brendan Nee’s blog. Replaces Internet Explorer.
    Jungledisk–Automatic backup–an easy-to-use interface that works with Amazon S3. Replaces CDs and the built-in “Time Machine” which takes hard drive space.
    KeePass–Password Database–have 45907 passwords to remember? KeePass keeps them in a secure database. Replaces scraps of paper and dusty corners of your memory.
    Adobe Suite CS3–Graphics Tool–this is not open source, and not easy to use unless you know how, but its a must-have for web development and complex photo editing. Also offered on PC.
    Skype–VOIP Internet Phone Service–call your friends around the world for cheap over the internet. Replaces the device known as a “telephone”.
    Transmission–BitTorrent Client–simple interface and easy to use. Replaces Microtorrent.

    Web Development Tools:

    TextMate–Text Editing Tool–the best text editing tool I’ve used, free 30 day trial then 39euro, but worth paying for and only for use on macs! Replaces Aptana or notepad.
    Transmit–FTP Client–also not free, but worth the $30 for excellent, light-weight UI. Replaces Filezilla.
    Xamp–Offline Webdev Tool–this is the same as the PC version. No replacement.

    Free and Open Source Substitutes for above programs you have to pay for:
    Aptana–Text Editing/FTP–replaces TextMate but is a bit bloated and crashes from time to time.  (Edit:  Aptana Studio is freely available (and open source) for the Mac (Universal Binary) as well as Windows and Linux.. Thanks Paul)
    Filezilla–FTP–replaces Transmit, but is not as lightweight or intuitive
    Gimp–Photo Editing–replaces Adobe Photoshop, but I have not fully tested its capability

    That about concludes my list. I haven’t included a replacement for things like Quicken because I don’t use it, but Buxfer.com and mint.com have features that track personal finances (Quicken does not run on MacOSx). To avoid having to pay for Microsoft Office, you can use Google Docs which has spreadsheet, word processing, and presentation capabilities. Here’s a list of other mac open source programs that is comprehensive but concise.

    Wine Tasting

    One of my closest friends from childhood has been out here visiting this week, and we decided to take her out for an afternoon of wine tasting. Since we had a car, we started off in the Marin Headlands and continued on to the northern part of Sonoma county. Sonoma is the lesser known of the two wine-producing counties in the bay area (with Napa being the more famous..), but it is better for a more relaxed and tourist-free tour. Plus! many of the Sonoma wineries don’t charge for tasting.

    We went to Alder Brook, Everett Ridge, and Bella, and I am proud to say that I bought my first case of wine! I bought a split case of Sauvignon Blanc and Red Zinfindel at Everett Ridge (which I would highly recommend!)

    Whew! Its been a fast couple of weeks!

    So.. I haven’t posted in awhile.. but to sum up the last few weeks I have

    delorespark.jpgGone to 1 horse race and lost $18 but got a free t-shirt! “Run” 1 crazy “race” called bay-to-breakers in which 50,000 people throw tortillas, dress up in crazy costumes, build floats (usually having to do with carrying a kegger), and drink heavily

    Rolled down 2 hills in a park (this park in fact..)

    Eaten burritos 3 times in Delores Park (see Left) and gone to 3 awesome concerts (Mason Jennings, Manu Chao, and Afrodesiac–a brass band with African influence)

    Gone to at least 4 of the 578 taquerías within 4 blocks of my apartment. (A taquería is pretty much kicks the shit out of all other Mexican restaurants.. and its fast food style.)

    Attended 5 different different events in 1 day.. namely the Mission Carnival parade and festival, an awesome designer fair in Hayes Valley, Opera in the Park, and drank 5 drinks at local bars in the mission.. (does that count?)

    So thats about it for the last few weeks.. =) I’m lookin’ forward to my parents coming in a few weeks!