Picking a Username

I used the handle malaprop as my username on sites when I started doing stuff on the web, and it worked decently. Short, memorable, and almost always available. I got involved in Chicago programming communities and found a shortcoming: it often took weeks or months before someone connected my name and my handle. There weren’t any wacky sitcom hijinks, but it was confusing.

I switched to “Harkins”, which is what I’m still using today. It’s DRY (rather than two names for the same person), short, easy-to-spell, but it’s available less and less regularly as more people get online.

I’m trying to pick a new username. I’d like it to be based off my real name, but I’d also like to balance that with brevity. “Peter_Harkins” is plain too long, I don’t want to use more than 10 characters. “PHarkins” is right out, I don’t need to be conflated with phone phreaks and other creative spellers. I’ve been assigned “harkinsp” at too many schools and workplaces to enjoy it, and it’s not very unique.

I’m tempted to get a bit playful and do something like “hark_ins”. I’d have some hassle with the various underscore/hyphen rules of different sites, but it’d always be available.

Any suggestions? What handle have you based on your name?