What is Your Blogger Handle?

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TRS 80 My first couple computers (TRS 80 and Commodore 128) led very solitairy lives. Though they had the constant company of a human companion, they lacked the familiar company of their own kind. I wonder if they longed for a form of communication that didn’t require a fur-less primate jabbing his fingers at a keyboard.

Commodore 128 To foster computer to computer community, I purchased my first Modem for my third computer, an Amiga 500. Not content to slap on just any modem, I shelled out the big bucks (in 1 dollar bills from tips bagging groceries) for a 1200 baud modem. That’s a full four times faster than the laggard 300 baud modem my loser friends were using at the time.

Amiga 500 It didn’t take long before I was a member of every bulletin board on the island (Guam). Then again, it doesn’t take long to join two or three boards. Surprisingly, Guam actually had more BBS systems running out of people’s homes than you’d think. I was a co-sysop of one board for a short while.

When signing up for a BBS (Bulletin Board System) membership, it was essential to choose a good handle. Now you might mistakenly associate a handle and a login as the same thing. But you’d be way off base. Way off base. A handle was much more significant than a measly login. It was your identity in the interconnected ASCII based world of the BBS. A well chosen handle was a reflection of your personality, or lack thereof.

Maverick Think Top Gun. He didn’t go by the moniker “TomC1962” he was freakin’ Maverick! How lame would a trucker feel if she was known as Ellie32. No way man. For those long lonely rides on the freeway, a trucker needs a handle with character and panache. Something that generates r-e-s-p-e-c-t. When you get on the CB, you’re talking to “Storm Chaser” and “Rusty Nail”, not some lame ass “JohnD” or “JaneD” (no disrespect if that really is your handle).

F-16 So back in those days I went by the handle “Dragon”, assuming it was available. I felt it was a good reflection of my east-meets-west heritage and love for LOTR. Of course every geek boy with a modem was after that handle, so I started going by “Falcon”, in reference to my favorite fighter jet, the F-16. I couldn’t be content with the handle “Dragon_Int64.MaxValue”

Nowadays, this concept of the “blogosphere” evokes some of the same feelings that the early days of the BBS craze (if you could call it that) did. Part of that feeling is rooted in the use of handles by some bloggers I know. For example, you might say Dare’s handle is “Carnage4Life”. Eric Porter dons a cape and parse tree and becomes the Human Compiler. Robert Scoble sprinkles his link juice (rel=”please do follow”) across the blogosphere because he is… (cue dramatic music) The Scobleizer.

And my handle? Well it should be obvious that it is “Haacked”. It’s basically a play on my last name, “Haack” (pronounced “hack”). So if I post as Haacked in your blog’s comments, it’s not to hide my identity. It’s merely a nod to a bygone era in online history. Just a small way to add a little flavor to an otherwise boring world of bits and bytes. It’s not my goal to hide the fact that my real name is … *transmission ended*

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8 responses

  1. Avatar for Phil Ringnalda
    Phil Ringnalda March 12th, 2005

    You do have to be a little careful while commenting with a handle, though: people I recognize, and people using an obviously innocent handle in comments aren't a problem, but strangers using a non-name that looks even a bit like search engine keyword bait don't often get the benefit of the doubt, they just get the immediate spam-delete. Especially if your handle is "Hotels New York Accomodations," you're better off not using it in my comments.

  2. Avatar for Chris Serjak
    Chris Serjak March 12th, 2005

    I have to give credit to my wife's grandfather for my most recent handle: Sir Jack.

    Believe it or not, it took 26 years of much more profane nicknames generated from my surname before anyone came up with that one. I like to think it befits my nobility and honor. Or else I've been knighted for repeated self-abuse.

  3. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked March 13th, 2005

    Phil: Interesting point. Hopefully my handle is quite obviously innocent. Doesn't everybody want a comment from "Haacked"? Hmmm... that might scare some people. I may have to start using "Haacked aka Phil".

    Chris: Sir Jack, trust me, I've had my share of nicknames. In college and highschool, my soccer teammates addressed me by clearing their throats as if they were going to "Haack" up a loogie.

  4. Avatar for Niels Hansen
    Niels Hansen March 13th, 2005

    Mine was the Computer Kid. Yeah it was stupid but at the time I was only 12 and I had my 300 Baud modem for my Commodore 64 called the Pocket Modem. This openned a whole new world fo me. I was living up in Edmonton, Canada and I found this monthly newspaper in the city on computers called CompuRun. It had a list of BBS's on the back. There was over 50 at the time and I would be on them all day when I could.

    I even had my own BBS that I wrote the software for it. Back then I got a book on Modems and figure out how to write to the Modem. In Basic for the Commodore 64/128 you would use Print#15 to send data to the modem (Don't ask me how I remember this but I still do because I probably did 1 million print#15 lines)

    Those were the days! I'm not sure if I consider BBSs the same as blogging but its pretty close. Newsgroups felt more like the BBS days.

  5. Avatar for Jeremy Brayton
    Jeremy Brayton March 16th, 2005

    I was NEVER good about making up names. My BBS handle was Jer, a nickname I got from someone in high school. That stuck for a short while until I tried to come up with something decent for IRC (since Jer was taken a million times by a million other Jeremys).

    I know it's you when you sign Haacked, but some people could percieve that as a spam bot misspelling a word to try to trick various spam catching techniques. When I first saw it I thought "hrm, possible spammer?" Then when I realized you had a blog and what haacked actually means to you, it became a little more clear.

    I guess it's good to know I'm not the only one who came up with a handle based upon parts of a first/last name. I'm not the only un-original bastage in this world, hurray!

  6. Avatar for jayson knight
    jayson knight March 16th, 2005

    Always have been and will forever be known as X.Static (or some derivative thereof). And no, it has nothing to do w/ the awful metal band Static-X. I never did get into BBS too much back in the day, just didn't have the patience for slow modems.

  7. Avatar for Simon
    Simon May 20th, 2005

    My first computer was a Commodore 64. I bought a 300 baud modem, that amazingly dialed itself! The first 300 baud modems didn't.

    I kept that machine alive for a very long time. I even bought a custom 2400 baud modem for it. I finally picked up an XT w/ CGA monitor and 10 meg HD from an auction for $5 in 1994 I believe ... when the C=64's floppy drive died. :)

  8. Avatar for Community Blogs
    Community Blogs April 15th, 2007

    It wasn’t till 1987 that I experienced my first (and worst) case of technolust ever. The object that