As a young person, i found myself very much appreciating people like Samuel Clemens who’d chosen to adopt “alternate identities”. Here are a few i’ve used:

  • Sherlock Costello — This one is from several decades ago. In 1996, when i first got on the internet, one of the corners of cyberspace i immediately discovered and fell in love with was what we all affectionately called “the newsgroups”. While the NNTP protocol on which all of these communities were built has since gone the way of the 8-track tape player, for quite some time back then, they were a really great way to seek out information. One of my favorite places to hang out was alt.hackers.malicious and even though i had no intention of hacking anyone, i enjoyed trying to learn how others might do so. Upon posting there using my real name, a ‘regular’ (i think it was Toni Heinonen (sp?) if i’m remembering correctly (this makes me wonder what Toni, Snag’n’bytz and all the rest of the gang are doing now so many years later)), sensing my naivety questioned the wisdom of doing this on this particular newsgroup. And so i made up Sherlock Costello, and used that moniker quite a bit for a while back then.
  • ni — On most of my own computers, i’ve created my main non-root user account under this identity. Really it was pure laziness (wanting to type as few characters as possible every time i was SSHing in from somewhere else). Swiped from Monty Python (the knights who say ni).
  • Dortmunder (or quite frequently, dort for short) — i used this mostly in IRC back in the day. Swiped from the Donald E. Westlake series (his fictional character Dortmunder was a particularly unlucky thief).
  • Ernst Doubt — This is more recent, and i still use it. Occasionally i use the variation Earnest for my ‘given’ name.
  • bearfoot — A few years ago, i began hiking on the Appalachian Trail here near my home. Even though i have no plans to ever try “through hiking” the entire thing (it runs from Georgia to Maine), i decided to adopt my own “trail name”. Unless i’m hiking in the dead of winter, i go shoeless. And in honor of my favorite destination locally (Bear Mountain) i adopted the “alternate” spelling instead of the usual one for bare feet.
picture looking north from the top of Bear Mountain
Race Mountain to the north, from the top of Bear Mountain in April of 2018