back to article Take my advice: The only safe ID is a fake ID

My name is McLeod. Graham McLeod. If you're looking me up in a list, you'll find me under M as "McLeod, Graham". This is in contrast to "Dabbs, Alistair" – which I understand is now the title of an IT publication. At least it is according to an email I received this week, which began thus: With Dabbs, Alistair​​​ having such …

  1. chivo243 Silver badge
    Happy

    Space, Phil

    GD anyone? Just Phillin up Space?

    signed

    Rusty Shackleford

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Space, Phil

      you'll find me under M as "McLeod, Graham".

      Not in France you won't. No matter how often you insist, you'll be "Graham Mc Leod" and filed under L. You get used to it after a while...

    2. I3N
      Pint

      Re: Space, Phil

      So since I can't add multiple up votes for the KOTH reference ... I'll have multiple Alamos ....

  2. Alister Silver badge

    Silly first name.

    I was christened Alastair, but quickly gave up on the idea that anybody - even immediate family - would ever spell it correctly. Birthday cards over the years have been written to any number of variants, so I can probably claim at least 20 pseudonyms.

    I have never frequented Starbucks, but were I ever to attempt transactions with one of their baristas, I think I would just accept defeat and go for Fred. Let's see them mess that up!

    Oh and did one of your cups say Avast - that's some serious mangling of Alistair!

    1. Franco Silver badge

      Re: Silly first name.

      Have you seen the Billy Connolly sketch where he talks about doing an autograph for someone called Alasdair (the Gaelic spelling before anyone thinks I work at Starbucks....) and how Alasdairs always spell it for you? Very amusing.

      Almost as amusing is the variations you see on Siobhan or any other Gaelic or Irish name.

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: variations you see on Siobhan or any other Gaelic or Irish name

        Never mind the ones with mh, dh, bh etc, even relatives spelling Síle is good for a laugh.

        Hebrew can be fun too. Mispronounce Aaron and it's a wardrobe.

        Some surnames in Iraq, Syria and Iran were first names of Akkadians and Sumerians, very very long ago.

        I find USA names and spelling amusing. Colleen = little girl (-een is a diminutive). Kerry is a place. Shaun or Shawn is Sean, or Seán or Séan. Irish was written the same way for over a 1000 years while pronunciation changed, so Seaghán might have been original spelling, though Donal (Donall) might be a 2,500 years old name.

        1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

          Re: variations you see on Siobhan or any other Gaelic or Irish name

          I find USA names and spelling amusing.

          My father's first name is Robin, which caused no end of fun when we moved from Blighty to the US, where Robin is almost exclusively a girl's name.

          But in the context of Irish names, nobody mentioned the other one that causes fun: Niamh. "Proper" pronunciation is as if spelled "Neeve" in Anglish spelling conventions. More common pronunciation outside Ireland is more like "Nee-am" with nobody quite sure what to do with the "h" at the end.

          1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

            Re: variations you see on Siobhan or any other Gaelic or Irish name

            Well it's your own fault

            My Name Contains 7 Silent Letters

          2. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: variations you see on Siobhan or any other Gaelic or Irish name

            nobody quite sure what to do with the "h" at the end.

            Leinster people, meanwhile aren't sure what to do with any 'H'

      2. Alistair Dabbs

        Re: Silly first name.

        All spellings of Alistair are gaelic: the name is gaelic for Alexander. Hence my Starbucks name is now Alex, which every barista can spell flawlessly. It still amazes me that Aleister Crowley chose the name deliberately to create an air of mystique. His first name was Edward.

        1. Cuddles Silver badge

          Re: Silly first name.

          "Hence my Starbucks name is now Alex, which every barista can spell flawlessly."

          You mean they never spell it Alix, preferably with a heart over the "i" in place of a dot? They must really like you.

          1. TRT Silver badge

            Re: Silly first name.

            My Starbucks name is "Tex". Good job no-one there asks for a surname to go with that... I'd answer "Piss".

            1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Joke

              Re: Silly first name.

              My Starbucks name is "Tex". Good job no-one there asks for a surname to go with that... I'd answer "Piss".

              You could say 'Message' as your surname for Tex :)

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Silly first name.

              I'm Wayne Kerr.

        2. Mage Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Silly first name.

          Alexander maybe properly Eskandar?

          1. WolfFan Silver badge

            Re: Silly first name.

            Alexander maybe properly Eskandar?

            Only if you're aboard the Argo/Yamato trying to save Earth/Japan from the villainous Gamilons/Americans.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Blazers

            (For just how crazy the original idea was, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Ten-Go)

      3. This post has been deleted by its author

      4. scotchonrocks

        Re: Silly first name.

        Indeed... Alasdair... They got their noses up their airses

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Silly first name.

      Starbucks being Starbucks - expect your drinks wrote out to: Fredd, Fraud, Frad, Glen, etc...

      1. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Silly first name.

        I despair. How can you not know how to spell Alistair, or Siobhan? Now with Iain Thompson, I could understand when people ask one I or 2? I've met enough Iains in my time to know to ask. But Alistair?

        I guess it just goes to show the poor state of education, at least among Starbucks' employees.

        You just need to listen to how it is pronounced, Alistair, Alastair etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Silly first name.

          You just need to listen to how it is pronounced, Alistair, Alastair etc.

          Haha, I love it. You now assume people *pronounce* it correctly.

          Allow me to upvote you for humour :).

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: Silly first name.

            I suppose if you are giving your name when ordering coffee, and not ordering for someone else or using another name to track junk mail you maybe pronounce is correctly, unless you really need the coffee to sober up..

            Reminds me of a bit of schtik from Stargate Atlantis,

            'Graydon, are you sure?'

            'Yes, it's my name.'

        2. Franco Silver badge

          Re: Silly first name.

          "You just need to listen to how it is pronounced, Alistair, Alastair etc."

          Yeah, try explaining to an American that Stuart is a Scottish name and therefore I am more qualified than they are to know that it is categorically NOT pronounced Stoo-art or for that matter spelt Stewart if it's being used as a first name.

          1. Test Man

            Re: Silly first name.

            Irish names - try

            Caoilainn not Kaylyn

            Caoibhe not Keeva

            Aoibhinn not Aveen

            Aoife not Eva

            Seána not Shawna, Shona,etc.

            1. Alistair Dabbs

              Re: Silly first name.

              So-called gaelic spellings = affectation. I have no problem with that but recognise it for what it is: play-acting at being ethnic. It's no different than spelling your name in emoji. As for pronunciation, who cares? If Americans say Stooart, all the better! My in-laws address me as Aleess-tear. I pronounce my own name as Allister.

              1. joeW

                Re: Silly first name.

                "So-called gaelic spellings = affectation"

                Spoken like a true sassanach!

                1. Nick Kew Silver badge

                  Re: Silly first name.

                  Spoken like a true sassanach!

                  Oy! That's enough anti-sassenach hate-speech. We're not all like that!

                  That french sexologist is clearly a canard. As is so much more of this Dabbling.

                2. Chris G Silver badge

                  Re: Silly first name.

                  Why should English speakers who are not Scots or Irish and don't speak Gaelic, know how to spell the name using Gaelic spelling rules or know how to pronounce a name written by the Gaelic rules?

                  Or are we all obliged to us Cyrillic when using a Greek or Russian name, or pin yin when communicating with a Chinese person .

                  I live in Spain name of Chris is almost never used but lengthened to Christian, which I am emphatically not, generally I will ansewr to anything that is not rude.

                  1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

                    Re: Silly first name.

                    Or are we all obliged to us Cyrillic when using a Greek or Russian name, or pin yin when communicating with a Chinese person .

                    Not sure you'll find many Greek names written in Cyrillic, which is the writing system introduced to Russian-speakers by Saint Cyril in the 5th Century, and is both similar to, and quite different from, the Greek alphabet.

                  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                    Re: Silly first name.

                    "Why should English speakers who are not Scots or Irish and don't speak Gaelic, know how to spell the name using Gaelic spelling rules or know how to pronounce a name written by the Gaelic rules?"

                    Perhaps because Northern Ireland is still part of the UK? You know, the same fucking country that they live in -- for the time being?

                    I sympathise, since I grew up in England and my first exposure to names spelled according to Irish conventions was definitely in adulthood. However, that ought to be considered an over-sheltered and deprived childhood, not "just the same as everyone else".

                    Either that, or we on the Eastern Island should just accept that we don't give two fucks about those on the Western Island and, in consequence, stop pretending that there is no border in the Irish Sea.

                    1. Andy A

                      Re: Silly first name.

                      I've never understood why the spellings used for the same sounds in English, Welsh and the various Gaelics ended up being different.

                      After all, the people who first wrote them down - probably monks - would all have had the same type of education.

                3. Russell Chapman Esq.

                  Re: Silly first name.

                  I'm a sassanach too. It was a term used by the Highland clans about anybody, including the Lowland clans who lived further south. I'm clan Hamilton and Paterson on my mother's side.

                  1. joeW

                    Re: Silly first name.

                    "It was a term used by the Highland clans about anybody"

                    Be that as it may, the root of the word is from the gaelic for "Saxon" and it means "English".

                    Which has lead to one of the more amusing new Irish words in recent years, "Sasamach" (Brexit) - which sounds almost identical to "Sasanach" (English) but is also portmanteau of "Sasana" (England) and "Amach" (out).

                    1. Russell Chapman Esq.

                      Re: Silly first name.

                      Portmanteau, a wonderful word. Still remember my mother dealing with a rather large man who was being less than gentlemanly, she told him he was carrying an oversized portmanteau

                  2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

                    Re: Silly first name.

                    "I'm a sassanach too. It was a term used by the Highland clans about anybody"

                    And a failed attempt to pronounce "Saxon". Applied by both Scots and Welsh even if the ethnicity of the person being spoken about was Anglian.

                    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

                      Re: Silly first name.

                      And a failed attempt to pronounce "Saxon". Applied by both Scots and Welsh even if the ethnicity of the person being spoken about was Anglian.

                      And with all likelihood the political vision they found annoying was brought in by the Normans.

                  3. Nick Kew Silver badge

                    @Russell Chapman

                    Thanks for that explanation. Sounds like one of those words whose meaning evolves. Like "frogs" (from the Parisian coat of arms), or various others that would likely get me banned if posted here.

                4. This post has been deleted by its author

              2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
                Coat

                Re: Silly first name.

                "I pronounce my own name as Allister."

                Have you tried 'Dare, Alice' as your weekend pseudonym?

              3. Mage Silver badge

                Re: Silly first name.

                Depends on your ethnicity. Many Scots, Welsh, Irish, Manx, Cornish, Bretons and some guys on north coast of Spain may have a different viewpoint. Also pronounce the same spelling differently, validly. Or have different spelling for the SAME pronunciation. (Mind your Ps & Qs might refer to old Welsh ( Map -> ap) and old Irish (Maq - mac)).

                Most people are given their names by parents, for better or worse, and for diverse reasons. SOME parents might have been playing at being ethnic. Some ARE non-English ethnicity.

                There are other people like the infamous John Stevenson (much later alias Seán Mac Stíofáin), who re-enforced his play acting with guns and bombs.

              4. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Silly first name.

              Irish names - try

              And then there are the Americans who think Caitlin is pronounced Kate Lynn

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Silly first name.

                "And then there are the Americans who think Caitlin is pronounced Kate Lynn"

                Years ago woking in the US with some colleagues from france. During an office move we were amused to hear one of the removal people shout to another "do you know which office this Jean Mary woman is moving to"

              2. This post has been deleted by its author

              3. ChrisBedford

                Re: Silly first name.

                And then there are the Americans who think Caitlin is pronounced Kate Lynn

                It is. It's pronounced any way you like. It's pure snobbery to judge people (Americans, or others) whose culture doesn't include speaking Gaelic for not pronouncing Gaelic names "correctly". Just get over it.

              4. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Silly first name.

                "Irish names - try

                And then there are the Americans who think Caitlin is pronounced Kate Lynn"

                But how the hell would they ever know it was pronouned "Cash-Leen"

            3. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Silly first name.

              ...

              Gráinne not Gronnyer

              Cliona not Cleaner

              ...

              Aren't Gaelic names fun?

              1. Test Man

                Re: Silly first name.

                "Cliona not Cleaner"

                I was also going to say that! But the person I know who goes by this name spells it Clidna.

                1. Waseem Alkurdi

                  Re: Silly first name.

                  @Mage

                  Alexander maybe properly Eskandar?

                  In Arabic, Alexander reads as "Eskandar", too.

                  Now, off for some Google-work!

                  1. Jonathan Richards 1
                    Go

                    Re: Silly first name.

                    You can see how Alexander => Al-Iskhandar when morphed from Greek to Arabic (and then transliterated back!). A bit as if the Italian statesman were to be morphed by the Scots into McHeyavelly.

          2. pmb00cs

            Re: Silly first name.

            Stuart is an English name, derived from the French name Steuart, which is derived from the Scottish, and correctly spelt, name Stewart.

            All because of Mary Queen of Scots.

          3. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Silly first name.

            Well since even "educated" Americans think Notre Dame is pronounced "Noter Dayme".......

            1. Trilkhai

              Re: Silly first name.

              Everyone I know here in the US shifts the pronunciation of "Notre Dame" based on which location is being referred to — "Noter Dayme" if it's the American university, "Notra Dahm" for the famed church in Paris.

          4. Grinning Bandicoot

            Not silly just non Platonic

            Don't knock American (US) names. Many were created at Ellis Island by the Immigration inspectors where the qualification was did they vote for the party that selected the Head of the Customs District and most likely Irish of Irish descent. In those good ol' days of cultural sensitivity the reply to "Gimme me your name" which carefully givenwhich would then be entered phonetically as heard by by that particular inspector and meanwhile in another.... One family if separated could end up with multiple surnames and given names were Anglicized at the will of the inspector.

            It has been reported as the US descends to anarchy that one person entered her child into the school system as La - a, pronounced Ladasha, so if its Stuart,Stewart, Stwert its of no consequence as WE sink past in time beyond Sam Butler and dictionaries to somewhat codify the language.

          5. Badbob

            Re: Silly first name.

            “ NOT pronounced Stoo-art or for that matter spelt Stewart if it's being used as a first name.”

            Ehhh, three people I work with are called Stewart (first name). All spelled that way. I’m also Scottish. It’s never as cut and dry as you think.

          6. Glenturret Single Malt

            Re: Silly first name.

            I have just sent an email this afternoon to my friend Stewart (in Perthshire). I must send a follow up to let him know he has a silly name.

        3. Alister Silver badge

          Re: Silly first name.

          You just need to listen to how it is pronounced, Alistair, Alastair etc.

          Except that almost universally, people pronounce my name as my username is spelled, and I'm sure Mr Dabbs gets the same, too. Even if I carefully emphasise the second "A":

          Hi, I'm Alastair, pleased to meet you.

          Hi Alister.

          AAAAAARRRRRRGH!

        4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Silly first name.

          "You just need to listen to how it is pronounced"

          You mean the spelling changes as the evening wears on?

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: Silly first name.

            You mean the spelling changes as the evening wears on?

            Starts off "Alastair", but towards the end of the evening, becomes "Wstfgl?!"

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Silly first name.

          "[...] Iain Thompson [...]"

          Then there is Euan, Ewan, and Eoghan

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Silly first name.

            "Then there is Euan, Ewan, and Eoghan"

            And Giovanni.

        6. Tim99 Silver badge

          Re: Silly first name.

          @big_D

          Thompson/Thomson?

        7. ICPurvis47
          Devil

          Re: Silly first name.

          My name is Iain, spelt the scottish way. It really annoys me when cold callers ask to speak to "Lain". I just say "No" and hang up. I suppose they can't differentiate between a lower case L and and upper case I, because the typeface is a sans-serif one on their screen, and their script is all in lower case (as usually adopted by email clients for some reason).

    3. Alfie
      Headmaster

      Re: Silly first name.

      Yep, its a daft name. With numerous valid spellings. At one point I worked in an office with three others - all different spellings.

      It is made worse by having a second name that starts with r, so it all runs into one word in speech. God knows what my father had been drinking when he went to register my name. Back in the good old days before the internet I used to get all sorts of spellings in the post after phone calls.

      Hence the reason I stuck with the first decent nickname I ever got called at school, even if I am named after a dog, I bet even Starbucks can spell it!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Silly first name.

        "I bet even Starbucks can spell it!"

        Elfie?

    4. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Silly first name.

      I give my name as Hastur. When they call my name to announce my product is ready I let them say it three times. It's so much fun to laugh at the surprised screams as a tentacled horror erupts out of thin air to say hi. =-D

    5. Trenjeska
      Joke

      Re: Silly first name.

      Still a good support at League of Legends

  3. SaleNowOn
    Pint

    Competition time.

    Kudos to the barista who managed to mangle your name into the name of an anti-virus software and there's almost an Alexa in there as well. I'll buy a pint for any barista who can misspell Alistair into "Windows NT forever".

    1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Pint

      Re: Competition time.

      Avast isn't that far aware from Vista either.

    2. Waseem Alkurdi

      Re: Competition time.

      Or, if you want to try, OS/2.

      Ah-lis-teh (dunno, isn't that how it's pronounced in the UK?) -> Oh-es-tuh ?

  4. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Trollface

    A different name for every site?

    Sadly, after a while it poses similar problems to having a different password for every site. You end up having to keep complex records to remember who you are for sites which you only visit every month or so.

    I assume you would end up being Nidea, Ivor on the vast number of sites, and only maintain discreet aliases for the sites you frequent on a weekly basis.

    Next up, a password manager upgrades to a full identity manager.

    Anonymous because......then again why bother?

    1. big_D Silver badge

      Re: A different name for every site?

      It reminds me of Hudson Hawk...

      Almond Joy : Almond Joy. Get it? Candy bars. It's better than when we first started out, our code names were diseases. Do you know what it's like being called Chlamydia for a year?

      1. Alister Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: A different name for every site?

        Chlamydia is a very nice name for a girl, isn't it? some sort of flower?

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: A different name for every site?

          "The Carter parents were a quiet and respectable Lancre family who got into a bit of a mix-up when it came to naming their children. First, they had four daughters, who were christened Hope, Chastity, Prudence, and Charity, because naming girls after virtues is an ancient and unremarkable tradition. Then their first son was born and out of some misplaced idea about how this naming business was done he was called Anger Carter, followed later by Jealousy Carter, Bestiality Carter and Covetousness Carter. Life being what it is, Hope turned out to be a depressive, Chastity was enjoying life as a lady of negotiable affection in Ankh-Morpork, Prudence had thirteen children, and Charity expected to get a dollar’s change out of seventy-five pence–whereas the boys had grown into amiable, well-tempered men, and Bestiality Carter was, for example, very kind to animals. "

          A wonderful quote on names from Sir Terry...

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: A different name for every site?

            @iglethal

            Yep, I had that in mind too.

            My quote "Chlamydia is a very nice name for a girl" is, I'm sure, a Pratchettism, but I'm buggered if I can find it at the moment. I thought it was part of that passage you quoted, but apparently not.

            1. Antonius_Prime

              Re: A different name for every site?

              It's actually the generator of it. iglethal's quote is the footnote.

              It's Magrat thinking your quote, that predictibly, being Pratchett, he segues off with a footnote.

              The best one on names is, to this day, Glod Glodsonsonson.

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: A different name for every site?

                "Glod Glodsonsonson."

                Thank you for my first out loud laugh moment of the day :)

              2. Alister Silver badge

                Re: A different name for every site?

                @ Antonius_Prime

                Thank you, I knew it was there somewhere.

              3. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: A different name for every site?

                "Glod Glodsonsonson"

                Unless there was a daughter in there so you could get Glod Glodsondotterson.

                1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

                  Re: A different name for every site?

                  Unless there was a daughter in there so you could get Glod Glodsondotterson.

                  I think the Icelanders actually spell it dóttir. But that wouldn't work because the name is made up from the father's or mother's first name + son / dóttir - so you could have Glod Glodsonsonson whose father was Glodsonson Glod, or you could have Glodetta Glodettadóttir but Glodetta Glodsondóttir tends to imply that Glodetta has had some very significant surgery.

                  I still think the President with the best name ever was Vigdís Finnbogadóttir in Iceland.

          2. PerlyKing
            Go

            Re: A different name for every site?

            I can't quote the names, but I think my favourite bit of name silliness from Sir Terry was the village men in, er, "Wintersmith"? Anyway, they were along the lines of Baker the butcher, Butcher the miller, Miller the carter, Carter the blacksmith, ... you get the idea ;-)

            Oh, and the various incarnations of CMOT Dibbler :-)

            1. Alister Silver badge

              Re: A different name for every site?

              @PerlyKing

              That was the Morris-Men in Lords and Ladies, although they may also have appeared in Wintersmith - same village anyway.

          3. Franco Silver badge

            Re: A different name for every site?

            "because naming girls after virtues is an ancient and unremarkable tradition"

            Adam Hills did a very funny piece on this and why it wouldn't work in Australia, working on the assumption that the virtue you name your children after is one you would like them to have. You would end up with sons called "Opening Batsman" and daughters called "Big Tits"

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: A different name for every site?

              That "prefix your email" thing dosnet work for yahoo,

              are they not a big enough player to bother implementing this?

              Can someone tell me which ones do? i might change

              1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

                Re: A different name for every site?

                "That "prefix your email" thing dosnet work for yahoo,"

                In the settings you should be able to create a single alias, with multiple variations.

                For example - base alias = something@yahoo.mail.com

                All the variants would then be along the lines of something-<variant>@yahoo.mail.com

                You can have *lots* of variants.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: A different name for every site?

                You're still using Yahoo for your email? Ya - "almost every single one of our accounts has been hacked multiple times" - hoo? That Yahoo? Just checking...

            2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
              Thumb Up

              Re: A different name for every site?

              "You would end up with sons called "Opening Batsman" and daughters called "Big Tits""

              Thank you for my second laugh of the day :D

            3. WolfFan Silver badge

              Re: A different name for every site?

              You would end up with sons called "Opening Batsman" and daughters called "Big Tits"

              And this would be a problem, why, exactly?

              1. TRT Silver badge

                Re: A different name for every site?

                Wasn't there some QI thing about Russian (/ that part of the world roughly) girls being called Power Station and Industrial Tractor Unit or something?

                1. Woza
                  Joke

                  Re: A different name for every site?

                  On youtube, there's part of a Trevor Noah standup show about Zambia, which includes names like Profanity, Screwdriver, Detective Table, as well as the mechanic with two sons called Brake and Clutch.

                  (Not linking as it's mildly NSFW)

                2. BostonEddie

                  Re: A different name for every site?

                  Moonunit?

                3. Tim99 Silver badge

                  Re: A different name for every site?

                  @TRT

                  An acquaintance knew a male Kenyan called Strawberry Bicycle, apparently it was normal for parents to name children after what they liked or aspired to.

              2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

                Re: A different name for every site?

                You would end up with sons called "Opening Batsman" and daughters called "Big Tits"

                And this would be a problem, why, exactly?

                Well, Mavis Altounyan wasn't very fond of it.

                (This is my entry for the Obscure Literary Reference Of The Day contest. SAAFE!)

          4. MrAverage
            Headmaster

            Re: A different name for every site?

            "A wonderful quote on names from Sir PTerry..."

            FTFY.

            Surely worthy of the silent 'P' given the subject matter :)

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: A different name for every site?

              Don't forget P G Wodehouse's character Psmith.

      2. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        Re: A different name for every site?

        It's even worse if your disease name is Buboni Nick Plague.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: A different name for every site?

      "You end up having to keep complex records to remember who you are for sites which you only visit every month or so."

      I wouldn't call KeepasX complex.

  5. Warm Braw Silver badge

    It's only a matter of time...

    ... before websites don't even need to know your name, they'll be able to infer your identity from all the other information that's been collected on you over time. Unless we poison the well while there's still time, which is what I hope is what's motivating at least some of the pseudonymous subversion.

    Once the false identities are out there, it's amazing how persistent they are. I've been getting insurance quotes addressed to Mr. E. Shopper for years now. Years ago, we set up a fake employee, complete with a DDI and write-only answering service, to whom all unsolicited sales calls were routed. He still gets the occasional e-mail, though the phone calls did eventually dry up...

    1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge

      Re: It's only a matter of time...

      I know a chap who used to use the names of his cats as pseudonyms for email lists. One day, a telemarketer phoned up and was most insistent in wanting to talk to "Tiddles", even after it was explained that Tiddles had not signed up to this new email list for a couple of good reasons.

      Firstly, Tiddles was a cat, and secondly Tiddles had died a decade earlier hence was unavailable for comment. Such is the intelligence of telemarketers that these snippets of essential information took quite a while to penetrate.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: It's only a matter of time...

        One day, a telemarketer phoned up and was most insistent in wanting to talk to "Tiddles"

        "OK, just hold the line and I'll go and call her."

        Eventually they might get the message all is not quite as they expected.

  6. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Are you Sue?

    Shirley wouldn't it be Donim, Sue ?

    Anyway given the modern propensity for people to give their kids name variants that just makes them look either dyslexic, illiterate or just plain stupid (or all three - my kids have classmates such as Aymie and Joolee for examples) you do have to wonder if it's quite as obvious as it might be...

    1. Mage Silver badge

      Re: Are you Sue?

      In the 1970s a teacher friend discovered her new class had a Yvonne. But pronounced Wy-von-knee, her parents saw it written down...

      1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Are you Sue?

        In the 1970s a teacher friend discovered her new class had a Yvonne. But pronounced Wy-von-knee, her parents saw it written down...

        But the fact that you write "a Yvonne" rather than "an Yvonne" makes me wonder which consonant you start the name with.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: rather than "an Yvonne"

          But who is this Anne Evon of whom you speak?

        2. Mage Silver badge
          Coffee/keyboard

          Re: Are you Sue?

          an is a extra letter. Well spotted.

      2. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Are you Sue?

        "But pronounced Wy-von-knee, her parents saw it written down..."

        When i was a kid , i thought recipes was re-sipes , 'cos i'd only seen it written down

      3. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Are you Sue?

        "her parents saw it written down..."

        Was the father named "Ex-Aviour" by any chance?

    2. Erix

      Re: Are you Sue?

      No, that would be De Mall, Sue

    3. 's water music Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Are you Sue?

      Anyway given the modern propensity for people to give their kids name variants that just makes them look either dyslexic, illiterate or just plain stupid (or all three - my kids have classmates such as Aymie and Joolee for examples) you do have to wonder if it's quite as obvious as it might be...

      I used to think this too until I realised that those kids are so l33t they just gave all of their teachers different seeded identities so they avoid getting 'totting up' detentions as often.

      fooled you--->

  7. Mage Silver badge
    Joke

    Irish names in Irish or English.

    No point in looking up the pronunciation or spelling. Ask the person that has it. Ulster and Munster have a massive difference in pronunciation.

    My name is Méabhdh ni Conchobhair, (*) but too many websites don't allow Mhic or nic or mac separately or accents. The mac is son and 0' is descendent.

    (* A real spelling. Not Mauve O'Connor despite spelling checker. Maeve and Connor are reasonable pronunciations. Also if you think I'd put my real name here, I have bridge you'd like.)

    I'm a great believer in aliases, Dabsey. Handy for Authors in this age of having to clearly be in a particular genre but not gender. I do search on full name, first and second parts and nickname / similar versions when inventing names. I have now 12 books of names for people with fresh babies as well as some saved websites. Alien names are a little less tricky. I get the old Kindle eReader to read them to see how they sound.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

      " Handy for Authors in this age of having to clearly be in a particular genre but not gender."

      A couple of years ago a local charity shop re-organised the content of their fiction shelves. They occupied four bookcases - two either side of a corner of the room. They had now assigned each pair into two separate alphabetically sorted sections labelled "male authors" and "female authors".

      The assistant was visibly miffed when I pointed out that names by spelling or pseudonyms do not guarantee an author's gender.

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      WTF?

      Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

      . I have now 12 books of names for people with fresh babies

      !! As opposed to...??!

      1. Steve the Cynic Silver badge

        Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

        !! As opposed to...??!

        Stale ones, obviously.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

          "Stale ones, obviously."

          In Swedish they have two words for fresh - "frisk" and "färsk"***. One means something is pleasant and clean. The other is applied to something that is new but not necessarily actually fresh.

          ***The difference is the subject of a pun in the Swedish version of "Asterix in America" . The seaside village's supply of fish comes all the way from Paris markets rather than being caught locally.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

          "Stale ones, obviously."

          Yup. AFAICR babies get to smell stale very quickly.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

            "Yup. AFAICR babies get to smell stale very quickly."

            Yes, you should always eat them on the day of purchase. They don't freeze well either.

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

        Well, often they have baby in the title. They are usually names for humans.

        Does anyone do similar books for cats, dogs or ... race horses?

        1. lglethal Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Irish names in Irish or English.

          My grandfather had shares in a race horse called Richard Cranium. It never one a cent but my grandfather didnt care one whit...

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hugh Jorgen

    is my weekend alter ego.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hugh Jorgen

      Mine is Richard Pencil

      1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Hugh Jorgen

        I used to know someone whose real name is Richard Large...

        1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Hugh Jorgen

          "I used to know someone whose real name is Richard Large..."

          He has a wife you know....

          1. Alister Silver badge

            Re: Hugh Jorgen

            He has a wife you know....

            You know what she's called? She's called... 'Incontinentia'...

            Incontinentia Buttocks

  9. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Pint

    Damn, why didn't I think of using an amusing pseudonym for login...

    Sincerely

    Panzie, Jim

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whenever I got to Starbucks...

    ... I always say my name is Nero, Costa or Pret. (or sometimes Elvis or Jesus)

    They spit in my flat white thought, so the joke's on me.

    1. Tigra 07 Silver badge

      Re: Whenever I got to Starbucks...

      Do they charge you for the extra pump of spit?

    2. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Whenever I got to Starbucks...

      Once when I was visiting a Costa the barista was a man called Jesus. How I wish I'd taken a photo of the till display: "You are being served by Jesus."

      1. LDS Silver badge
        Angel

        "You are being served by Jesus."

        He was known to serve wine, bread and fish, but coffee?? Anyway, it would have been a miracle to serve it back then...

        1. Tigra 07 Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: "You are being served by Jesus."

          A true miracle. He was working at Costa turning the coffee into water.

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: "You are being served by Jesus."

            "A true miracle. He was working at Costa turning the coffee into water"

            That's not a hard miracle to pull off!

  11. LDS Silver badge
    Joke

    "I am forced to hide my serious writing behind aliases."

    Steve Bong?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As long as the house number and postcode are correct, envelopes bearing a homophonic variant of the street name will always be delivered safely.

    Don't count on it.

    One day I received a letter with a clear, printed address. My number and street name - but in another town with a post code in the outer reaches of our postal area.

    Put it into a letter box - boldly inscribed "NOT <mytown>". A few days later it popped through my letterbox again.

    As it looked important - I put it inside a new envelope with the same address details and put a stamp on it. Presumably it was delivered correctly that time.

    Last year a stranger knocked on my door with a Royal Mail mis-delivered small package for me. My address and post code on it was clear and correct.

    It had been delivered to another town with the same initial post code letters - otherwise not a match.To a street which was "xxx Court" not "xxx Street" - and to a number which was the reverse ordered digits of mine.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      As I recently learnt from a real postman

      If an envelope has a pale yellow barcode on it then chances are it won't be seen by a real human and routed by a machine instead, that's why it ended up back at your house. The trick is to thoroughly cross out said barcode and it will be passed to the proper department. They're even allow to open undelivered letters to see if they contain enough clues to deliver correctly.

      1. toxicdragon

        Re: As I recently learnt from a real postman

        "They're even allow to open undelivered letters to see if they contain enough clues to deliver correctly." Wait so the dead letter office is real? Why am I so suprised at that?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: As I recently learnt from a real postman

        "[...] chances are it won't be seen by a real human and routed by a machine instead, that's why it ended up back at your house."

        The person delivering the mail would have had to look at the envelope to see which house. The human mind not seeing irrelevant detail*** would excuse them not noticing the town name was wrong. How they missed my large annotation is less understandable - but possibly down to the same phenomenon.

        ***Even if it is the size of a man in a gorilla costume.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Don't count on it."

      ... reminds me of when we moved house ~20 years ago. We had smart idea for sending out change of address notices to print off our address book onto sticky labels (we've done this for years for Chrstmas cars which means we're still reliant on a copy of Lotus Organizer that we use for this!) and then print another set of labels sayingh "we've moved, our new address is...." then stick addres label _ stamp on one side of a card with change of address info on other. We'd not counted on automated address recognition in the sorting process reading the wrong side of the card so about a third of the cards came straight back to us - took 2 or 3 iterations of sticking them back in the postbox marked as misdelivered until they eventually stopped coming back!

      1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

        How to send change of address forms...

        Use the post card as usual, address it as normal, but put your new mailing label in the From: location with a note akin to "Check out my new address!" ... The only way you should get it back is if the recipient no longer lives there, the card gets ReturnedToSender, or the post utterly has a massive brainfart to deliver to the Sender.

        HTH, enjoy a pint, & if the publican asks where I've gone tell him I've been abducted by aliens. =-)p

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        @AC

        we've done this for years for Chrstmas cars

        Wow, you're generous. Can I be your friend and put on your Christmas car list please? I quite fancy one of those new Hyundai Kona EVs if you can manage that.

    3. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Huh. For years our post frequently went to Apppppp Avenue and theirs came to our Apppppp Rd. Different areas and different postcodes too. It took a lot of complaining before the sorting office ( same sorting office) got the hang of this. And neither house had been built post war, let alone recently

  13. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    I'm still amused how mine came out as "Rogan" once.

    Sleep, Arthur.

    1. Commswonk Silver badge

      I'm still amused how mine came out as "Rogan" once.

      Nice one, Josh...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Aliases are fun

    but essential with every man and their dogs putting their life history on the Internet.

    It is only a matter of time before Google etc knows more about you than you do (if they don't already)

    I've been seeding false data for more than 10 years. My 'first school' is not a school I ever attended. It exists and was in the same town that I grew up in. Likewise, my 'Mother's Maiden Name' is never her real one, it is my Grandmothers on my fathers side. Except for offical government and banking documents, my place of birth is never my real place of birth and for most I'm at least 10 years younger or older than I really am. One site even accepted 5th Nov 1605 as my DOB....

    I use a psuedonym quite a lot. I have three books published on Amazon that are under this name and not my own.

    1. dajames Silver badge

      Re: Aliases are fun

      One site even accepted 5th Nov 1605 as my DOB....

      ... and yet, strangely, some sites don't accept a DOB of 1st January 1970 -- that's a Unix date value of 0, and the site complains that I haven't filled in the date.

      Actually, that's not so strange, is it, given the quality of most websites? I wonder what people who really were born on that date do ...

      1. David Nash Silver badge

        DOB of 1st January 1970

        Do the millennials who coded it not think there is anyone that old? What do people older than that do?

        Or are they just stored with a negative date?

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: DOB of 1st January 1970

          The world was only created on 1st Jan 1970, anybody believing they are older than this just have false memories implanted by the matrix.

          1. Waseem Alkurdi

            Re: DOB of 1st January 1970

            1st Jan 1970 2000.

            Fixed!

          2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

            Re: DOB of 1st January 1970

            "The world was only created on 1st Jan 1970"

            Nah. The world hasn't been created yet. This is just a debugging run. (Hopefully not the last one either, since there seem to be quite a few howlers still in the code.)

    2. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Aliases are fun

      " I have three books published on Amazon that are under this name and not my own."

      What, Anonymous Coward? How do we know it's really you then?

    3. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: Aliases are fun

      One site even accepted 5th Nov 1605 as my DOB....

      A friend had persistent problems with contacting TalkTalk, he hadn't joined them voluntarily, they'd taken over another provider and his details had been transferred. He always had to remember that the answer to the birthdate question was 01/01/1900 as the previous company hadn't recorded DoB.

    4. LDS Silver badge

      "even accepted 5th Nov 1605 as my DOB"

      You were lucky you weren't "born" some years earlier - AFAIK old versions of SQL Server for example chocked on dates before 1601...

    5. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Aliases are fun

      Ann Eurism, Anna Lize, Ann Thrax, Ann Chovy, Amy Nesia, Al B. Sure, Al Coe Haul, Al Lew Minium, Al Becore Tuna, Axe Ceptance, Lee Prechaun, Lawn Gnome, Gary Gnu, Mona Lisa, Pete Redish, Sam Sonite, Ralston Purina, Wallace N. Grommet, Dan Germouse, Levi Athan, Phil McCrackin, Dick Stroker, Seemy Titswiggle, etc.

      It's WAY too easy to have fun with aliases, many in ways the automated systems will never twig to because they're not sophisticated enough to catch the play on words.

      "Hi! My name is Caulk Throb. Nice to meet you!"

      *Cough*

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aliases are fun

        "[...] many in ways the automated systems will never twig to because they're not sophisticated enough to catch the play on words.

        As in Jeremy Hunt?

        1. Soruk

          Re: Aliases are fun

          This reminds me of Jim Naughtie's slip up on pronouncing his name when referring to him as the Culture Secretary (as he was at the time) - and a couple of hours later Andrew Marr made exactly the same mistake.

          1. Sir Runcible Spoon Silver badge

            Re: Aliases are fun

            My Uncle, who'd had a stroke (and consequently a bit lairy at times) was at a weeding of a Mr David Hunt. At full volume across the hushed church he said

            "It's a good job his name isn't Isaac".

            I laughed like a drain, most everyone else just went pale and shocked :D

  15. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge
    Pint

    Yay, it's nearly weekend!

    Great start to it as well, thanks to Gleeballs, Dan!

    Cheers

    Theethoughts, Phil

  16. jasha

    Kyden-Titty, Fay

    Made me laugh much more than it probably should have.

  17. Efer Brick

    Trudy Llamatits and Wendy Wannacry

    Are just two I picked up from podcasts this week

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    As far as te BBC uis concerned...

    I am a 36 year old single Afro Caribbean woman living in Milton Keynes.

    Needless to say I am nothing of the kind.

    1. muddysteve

      Re: As far as te BBC uis concerned...

      "I am a 36 year old single Afro Caribbean woman living in Milton Keynes.

      Needless to say I am nothing of the kind."

      You mean you are really 42?

      1. Antonius_Prime

        Re: As far as te BBC uis concerned...

        Remember the lessons of the BOFH. If you're gonna make an identity, make it as out there and as box tick-y as possible.

        You never lied about your age, disability or how far along in your transition you are. and that you hid all that for fear of discrimination in the 80's.

        1. Waseem Alkurdi
          Trollface

          Re: As far as te BBC uis concerned...

          @Antonius_Prime

          Speaking of the BOFH, let me try:

          I am Sir Thecomp Uterguy.

          (I'm alluding to Roger Amchip, Charles Omputer, and Frank Irmware, the BOFH's overtime fillers ^_^)

    2. jmch Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: As far as te BBC uis concerned...

      "single Afro Caribbean woman"

      and the Beeb haven't offered you a job yet?

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: As far as te BBC uis concerned...

        "and the Beeb haven't offered you a job yet?"

        It's probably the Milton Keynes bit that's stopping them. Neither London nor Salford.

  19. Evil Auditor Silver badge

    ...instead, I am forced to hide my serious writing behind aliases

    Wait, what?! Something for the Weekend, Sir? is not serious writing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Something for the Weekend, Sir? is not serious writing?"

      A few hundred years in the future it may be esteemed as a Samuel Pepys Diary of our time.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Used Piet Pompies as one of the alternative names when filling in surveys before downloading trialware.

    Afrikaans users will understand.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not a van der Merwe?

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mickey The Cat

    Back in the closing days of the last century, a freind of mine with a cat called Mickey (as in mouse) signed up to some pet/cat/vet website under the name of Micki D'Catt. She was rather bemused a few months later when a credit card offer arrived through her letter box addressed to Mr Micki D'Catt. For a laugh, she sent it back and lo and behold a week later a nice shiney new credit card arrived.

    She used it purely for cat related purchases - never once was it questioned, and Mickey started to receive a not inconsiderable amount of other tempting offers through the post.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Mickey The Cat

      Many years ago in the industry of newspaper printing - income tax evasion was notoriously commonplace. Wages in cash in hand were happily paid to Mickey Mouse and probably Donald Duck.

      1. Evil Auditor Silver badge

        Re: Mickey The Cat

        Micki (sic!) Mouse, Donald, most likely Scrooge too - not unheard of client names in private banking...

    2. David Nash Silver badge

      Re: Mickey The Cat

      Why would the name have been questioned, if she had the card?

      It's not like it was in the name of Mickey the mouse.

    3. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      Re: Mickey The Cat

      I was feeling in a bad mood one day when some salesdroid kept pestering me to sign up for a store credit card. I gave in & filled out the form as "Notgunna Payforit". I laughed my ass off when "I" got my shiny new card a week later. So much for making sure the person actually exists, that the PII isn't obviously fake (like a DOB of 01.01.1000, etc), or that the indicated income (None: Unemployed) might be suitable for the issuance of credit. Nope, doesn't matter, just issue that card & collect our commission! *Snort*

    4. Roj Blake Silver badge

      Re: Mickey The Cat

      Didn't Bart Simpson's dog once have a credit card as well?

  22. SVV Silver badge

    Of the 11% of survey respondents who admitted mischievous mistruths

    How many were telling the truth? And of the ones who claimed to use truthful information, how many were lying?

  23. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Dick Gleeballs?

    Now that is a name... :)

  24. Dr. G. Freeman

    Some people still think "Gordon Freeman" is an alias for me, even thought I was born and named before that game.

    used these two in the past,

    Ed Zijduk, who still gets invited to speak at conferences

    Otto Mann (even funnier when gets furniture companies' junk mail)

    but now just use random cartoon characters or footballers from my youth as pseudonyms.

    Parcel for Ace McLeod ?, I'll sign for it.

  25. Milton Silver badge

    Don't tell the ꓕ⍳o⇂⇂ꙅ

    And of course, for internet noms de plume, one is assisted by the cornucopia of potential mischief presented by Unicode. Which search will unearth the mysterious pimpernel, Ǡɭʪʈɑɩг—known to mirrors as plain old ꙅdd∂ꓷ, for example?

    My personal incognito nom de merde is of course unguessable ...

    —ꟽᴉ⇂ʇou

    Yes, sadly they seem more like noms de guerre these days, and yes, coat is being fetched ...

  26. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Casino Royale

    Is the only decent Bond film that Craig, Daniel has starred in.

    But I'll let you have the opening shot in Spectre if you must.

    1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      Re: Casino Royale

      But neither of them feature Pussy Galore.

      1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

        Re: Casino Royale

        "Hello Mr Bond. My name is Dick Gleeballs and this is Pussy Galore. Our evil overlord have decided that you most certainly need to visit a certain Mr Johnny Aws".

    2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      Re: Casino Royale

      There's only only one decent Bond Film called "Casino Royale" and it certainly doesn't feature Daniel Craig in it...

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then there is nominative determinism that makes one wonder if an article by an expert in a field is just a leg pull.

    A UK registrar of births, deaths, and marriages had the family name of D'eath. Wonder if she was ever tempted to write memos in CAPITAL LETTERS? There is potential for one of that lineage to name a child Susan.

  28. Champ

    Mickey, is that you

    My disposable email address of choice is m.mouse@evilempire.com, which I came up with after watching a documentary on how delightful Walt was.

  29. Dr_N Silver badge
    Coat

    I Thought Activ Forte ...

    ... was a Danone yoghurt?

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Terrance

    I have enough problems with my (hated) name of "Terence". (Hated because it dates me fairly precisely to the late 1950s as well as sounding ugly and having too many types of consonants to pronounce easily.)

    It can be Terence/Terrence/Terrance/Terance and frequently become "Tel" which sounds so off hand and familiar that it almost feels like an insult for anyone to use if. Terry, the preferred choice, isn't actually much better. And sounds too much like one of the Likely Lads . The dim and annoying one.

    AC because you've already got too much information in this post.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Terrance

      There's also Pterry - where the P is silent as in snow.

      1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

        Re: Terrance

        "There's also Pterry - where the P is silent as in snow"

        There is no P in snow....... and if it were, it would be yellow. (which you are advised not to eat)

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Terrance

        You'd be well-advised to find another supplier. Your current self-medication has dissociative side-effects.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Terrance

      In the UK you can change your name unofficially as long as there is no intention to commit fraud. An officially registered change is done by deed poll.

      A friend hated her full first name - and had always been referred to by an abbreviation. For her 60th birthday she finally decided to get it formalised to the abbreviation. She was delighted with her driving licence and passport in the new name.

      When she gets a cold caller asking for her by the old name she can honestly say "no one of that name here".

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Terrance

        In the UK you can change your name unofficially as long as there is no intention to commit fraud.

        Possibly but banks now won't let you have an account that deviates from the name on your passport, so you have to change your name officially anyway.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Terrance

          "[...] banks now won't let you have an account that deviates from the name on your passport, [...]"

          Some people do not have a passport or a driving licence. Presumably household bills can show your unofficial name? A birth certificate would seem a sensible alternative - unless the client is The Jackal.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Terrance

            How would a birth certificate show an unofficial name?

          2. MonkeyCee Silver badge

            Re: Terrance

            "Some people do not have a passport or a driving licence."

            And these days, no new bank accounts.

            If you don't have your papers (please), you are shit out of luck in the UK.

            1. Glenturret Single Malt

              Re: Terrance

              My wife's stepfather's parents couldn't agree on what to call him so both registered him separately and he had two birth certificates. Consequently he was Thomas/Tom to some people and Henry to others.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Terrance

          And don't turn up at an airport to discover your husband booked tickets for "Judy" and not "Judith" (which is what the passport says) - this happened to someone I know recently ... but to complicate the situation, this was only noticed when about to board a flight back from Canada - handn't been spotted on flight from UK or on an internal flight!

          1. disgruntled yank Silver badge

            Re: Terrance

            My father went by his middle name, and I once booked an airline ticket for the name everyone called him. In the days before September 11, 2001, this might not have caused difficulties, but ca. 2004 it did, even for a domestic flight.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Terrance

              At a friend's wedding ceremony the vicar intoned the bride and groom's first names. At which point most of the congregation did a double-take as neither were anything like the names by which they knew them.

              1. lglethal Silver badge
                Thumb Up

                Re: Terrance

                My best mate (and best man at my wedding) goes by an abbreviation of his surname. It's what he introduces himself as and everyone knows him by. I'd known him for almost an entire year before i even found out his real name...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Terrance

        Yes, you can do it informally and it's supposedly legal, but the hassle of all the various different organisations that won't take new for an answer makes it impossible in reality.

    3. Daedalus Silver badge

      Re: Terrance

      "Terence" ? Obviously some form of deterrence....

      One Terence gained fame, fortune, a strangulated hernia, a brown paper OBE, a dose of lurgi and an epitaph in Irish under the name "Spike". You should be proud.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Terrance

      MACCHIATO FOR TERROR

      IS THERE A TERROR HERE

      TERROR??

      Terrace? OK Nevermind, here's your coffee sir.

    5. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken Silver badge

      Re: Terrence

      You wrote that poem, didn't you.

  31. Dr_N Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Best Bond Theme

    Thanks Alison.

  32. Giovani Tapini
    Trollface

    But which alias

    is the one that the world famous journalist uses. We only get to see the Dabbs one?!

  33. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Who needs an alias?

    When I don't want to give someone my name (more-or-less any site that asks for it in circumstances where signing up seems an unnecessary hurdle), I'm just Not Me, and have an email address of not.me@not.here .

    Noone cares if it's even remotely plausible.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Noone cares if it's even remotely plausible."

    Email addresses are often used to generate an email with a confirmation link. You have to see that and click it before whatever you signed up to will be activated.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      ...sign up to crap names

      Kleinde, Dee.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Which is why mailinator.com was born

    3. JohnFen Silver badge

      That's what services like mailinator are for.

  35. The Specialist

    Starbucks

    That serves you right for going to Starbucks and expect to get coffee. The stuff they try to pass it as coffee is horrible - yuk!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Starbucks

      People query how I can be so generous to the local food bank. My answer is that it is only the price of a daily <insert brand name> coffee - and does more good.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Starbucks

        Well done , it'd be nice if everyone did that. I dont think i can afford a daily costa though.

        might up my monthly charity thing actually ...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Starbucks

          "I dont think i can afford a daily costa though."

          I actually have no idea what a typical retail coffee costs - my rule of thumb is £3. The last time I bought one was probably when waiting for a train in the evening after a site visit - probably getting on for 20 years ago.

          The expression started when I used to add to the food bank basket in the supermarket every day at the end of my daily exercise walk. Now I do a weekly drop of agreed staples that benefit from buying in multiple packs.

          Unfortunately the local food bank isn't a Trussell - just volunteers. They appear unable to organise their governance to register as a charity - otherwise they could have a yearly cheque instead and claim Gift Aid on top

          Possibly they fear the fixed charges that can exceed the collected donations with some web Gift Aid proxy schemes. Similarly the accounting declarations required by the Charity Commission for yearly totals over £5K are a financial outlay if there isn't a tame accountant to hand.

          1. chas49

            Re: Starbucks

            There are a number of different thresholds for reporting under charity law. I can't see one at £5000. A small charity really doesn't need an accountant.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Starbucks

              "I can't see one at £5000.

              You are right - my typo working from memory. Without checking - probably £10k is the lowest threshold. That usually covers small groups like the one I support. Larger specific project donations have to be phased over several years to avoid them breaching a threshold that requires extra paperwork and accounting expenses.

          2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

            Re: Starbucks and Foodbanks

            The expression started when I used to add to the food bank basket in the supermarket every day at the end of my daily exercise walk. Now I do a weekly drop of agreed staples that benefit from buying in multiple packs.

            We've gone a stage further - a group of people contribute cash, and our community shop then uses that to buy at wholesale prices in bulk from the cash-and-carry (who actually deliver). You can get a lot of Happy Shopper stuff in bulk for the price of big-name brands singly.

            Of course, the fact that we have to even consider how best to give to food banks shows the evil of our present government.

      2. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Starbucks

        a daily <insert brand name> coffee

        As far as I'm concerned, <insert brand name> coffee is something one has in the order of once or twice a month, when in town or when travelling. Are these people who drink the stuff every day real (and with money to burn) or mythical?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Starbucks

          "Are these people who drink the stuff every day real (and with money to burn) or mythical?"

          Judging by the same people regularly sitting at tables outside our Costa - then it is surprising who appears to be able to afford their prices. Certainly not the expected hipster or business types. Whether they are there every day is not certain.

          In my youth going to the Tiko cafe for a frothy coffee and hot sausage roll was a rare treat.

  36. imanidiot Silver badge

    Enjoyable as ever

    SFTW keeps me coming back on Friday (that, and the vain hope of a new BOFH). Funny as always. My name (ancient Viking era name with some similar sounding but different origined names found in Baltic culture) also seems to lead to confusion over here in the Netherlands. And it's annoying as hell to have to spell both my first and last name 4 times over because people seem to be incapable of understanding 2 slowly pronounced 4 letter words...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Enjoyable as ever

      When working in Sweden my relatively uncommon English family name was no problem for people as they just pronounced it phonetically. That was better than many English people manage.

      My English colleague's family name was "Kirkby" - and pronounced "Kir-bee". The Swedes saw that name as one of their own - and he had to get used to being called "Cherk-bu".

  37. ukgnome Silver badge

    It's all in a name

    I have recently be using my real name but hiding R's in it.

    So far i have managed 4 extra R in a name that usually has 2. That's 6 R when really 1 would do it.

    Of course if the Indian sounding gentleman from HMRC calls me then I become either Phil McRackin or Rusty Starpoker

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My tuppence worth

    I have a few wonderful names to share all of them real though:

    1) Many years ago I had a student called Sandy Thrush (just plain painful)

    2) Where I work we have a Dr. D.J. Dick (in da house)

    3) One of my email contacts delights in the name of Dr. Olga Truebody (da, Mr Bond)

    All genuine I swear!!

    Anonymous? Damn right!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: My tuppence worth

      Anonymous? I think you gave too much away there ..... just let me go through my list of stolen address books ...

      1. Daedalus Silver badge

        Re: My tuppence worth

        There's a character in a Restoration comedy sporting the last name "Gotobed", with all the innuendo implied. The part was once played by a certain Mandy Rice-Davies, of whom you may have heard.

        Who more shocked than I to discover that "Gotobed" is a real name sported by real people. Maybe they pronounce it "Go-toab'd".

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: My tuppence worth

          "Maybe they pronounce it "Go-toab'd"

          Like the presumably fictional "Bucket" pronounced "Bouquet".

          The Victorians were fond of giving fictional characters names that indicated their intrinsic nature.

          In English we tend to have forgotten the etymology of many of our once common first names. There are the obvious unchanged ones like Faith, Hope, Charity, and Dawn. However - Peter = Rock - is presumably via the French Pierre = Stone - from Saint Peter as "the rock on which the Church is built".

          In the Habsburg Empire the Jewish families did not have family names until they were forced to acquire them by the government in the 18th century. Basically the officials arbitrarily assigned names usually made of two words of natural things.

  39. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Ive used some of those pseudonames in the article . Cant say which! ;)

  40. Nematode

    Sidebar

    An amusing and appropriate sidebar advert - Gear, Best

  41. Potemkine! Silver badge

    "there can be only one"

    We found you McLeod, prepare to fight!

    How many email addresses do a typical nerd use?

    Around 10 in my case, according to their usages.... 2 are related to my real identity.... at least I think it's my real one.... who does really know who (s)he is?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "there can be only one"

      My current email aliases number more than 50. That doesn't include those that have long since become dormant. The advantage of an ISP unlimited user subdomain was that you could assign a unique username to every new supplier or sign-up. Very useful to spot who had leaked your email address for spam.

  42. caffeine addict Silver badge

    Can someone explain to my friend the "Kyden-Titty, Fay" name? I he gets the "fayk" bit but doesn't get the "yden" bit.

    Personally, I often use Burton, Ernie...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Kyden-Titty, Fay

      Don't take the 'yden' by itself, combine with the 'titty' and you get Fake Identity

      1. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: Kyden-Titty, Fay

        Oh, FFS...

        Yeah, okay, I feel dense now.

        1. Martin-73 Silver badge

          Re: Kyden-Titty, Fay

          It's because like so many people, you couldn't help staring at the Titty

    2. Ken Shabby
      Go

      Personally, I often use Burton, Ernie...

      Burt Nurney is that you?

      Duncan Doughnut

  43. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    My usual pseudonym: User Name

    The bonus is that often someone else has already set up the account for me with the password "password".

  44. Daedalus Silver badge

    It's all the rage!

    Let's not forget all those famous names coined by the Goons!

    Hugh Jampton (lookup Hampton Wick in Cockney slang)

    Singhiz Thing

    Justin Eidelburger

    R Pong (till 11 o'clock)

    and many more....

    1. PerlyKing

      Re: It's all the rage!

      @Daedalus you beat me to it. Usually Captain Hugh Jampton in Sellers' posh army voice :-) The only other ones which springs to mind are Sheikh Rattlenroll, and the Japanese (?) General Kash Mai Chek.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's all the rage!

        "[...] Japanese (?) General Kash Mai Chek."

        More likely Chinese. Chiang Kai-shek was the leader of the nationalist party in China that lost the civil war and retreated to Formosa - now Taiwan.

    2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: It's all the rage!

      I think Round the Horne ones were better.

      Daphne Whitethigh

      Celia Molestrangler

      Chou En Ginsburg M.A. (failed)

      J. Peasemold Gruntfuttock

      Buffalo Sidney Goosecreature

      and so many more... many, many more.

  45. Robert Helpmann?? Silver badge
    Devil

    ORLY?

    This is just as well as it usually takes most users that long to think up a password that conforms to the minimum uppercase + lowercase + number + punctuation + Hebrew emoji requirement.

    Hebrew emojis ?! Ohhh... now I have to implement this!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ORLY?

      A Hebrew emoji. The first thought is mirror images - but their number digits are not reversed in either shape or order - so are emojis to be treated like words or numbers?

      However there is an EMOJEW app for that.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can't be the only person that uses

    Anne Onimous can I?

  47. Terry 6 Silver badge
    Joke

    Names

    Ivan walks into a village on the Welsh coast. He consults a piece of paper. Then destroys it. He walks up to a cottage at the side of the road. He knocks on the door four times. Then three. When the door opens he says "The sun shines brightest before the dusk".

    The chap inside looks puzzled. Then he says, " Ahh. I'm Jones the baker. You want Jones the spy across the road".

  48. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    Starbucks

    I call them "starbutts". Seems appropriate, since shite is what they serve.

    Somehow that reminds me of the joke about the gal with the dark sun trampstamp.

  49. razorfishsl

    First world problems... change your name via deed poll

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "First world problems... [...]"

      I suspect that names have more potency in many areas that are not First World. Associations of sympathetic magic and religious dogma possibly prevent people changing their given name.

      IIRC even in Europe several countries until recently had an approved list of names derived from Christian beliefs. You could choose only from that list when making an official registration.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Christian names

        Hence the stories about French overseas territories, where locals with little education would choose the Saint's name from a calendar based on the child's birth date to be sure they were following the rules. Allegedly every village had at least one child called Fetnat, who was born on July 14th.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Christian names

          "[...] would choose the Saint's name from a calendar based on the child's birth date [...]"

          A friend from Sweden gets two "birthdays". One for the day she was born - and one for her name's calendar "name" day. Pity the child named for being born on their particular name day.

          Was the origin of the custom in fact to name a child for the calendar's name day to avoid too many local duplicates?

    2. Huw D

      Exactly.

      Why pay hundreds of pounds for a personalised number plate when it's cheaper to change your name by deed poll to match your current plate?

      Regards,

      CF 52 JFY (Mr).

  50. Terry 6 Silver badge

    Also

    You do get some parents...

    I've come across a number of kids ( mostly girls for some reason) with Irish spelt names, but the English pronunciation of the spelling. - Presumably parents have seen it written, but aren't Irish themselves, or something, I dunno. So, for example, Seana spoken as "Seen'er".

    Also,

    We've had two or three kids (girls again) in schools over the years called "Channel" by their parents. Possibly spelt correctly as "Chanel" by the parents, who've copied it off the label. But that's not how they say the name. No joke icon, because it really isn't.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Also

      I am irritated by my friend who called her daughter Niamh, and pronounces is Nee-Mah, After I've gone to all the effort of rewiring my brain for visiting the Irish side of the family...

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Also

        Of course. I understand the irritation. It ought to be pronounced Nyamer.

        I've met a few Neeves and Nieves by the way.

      2. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

        Re: Also

        I am irritated by my friend who called her daughter Niamh, and pronounces is Nee-Mah

        There is a strong case for calling in Social Services to rescue the child from further damage.

  51. Herby Silver badge

    Names are just weird...

    I've been told that the surname of "English" is most likely an Irishman, and the surname of "Irish" is most likely from England. Go figure.

    Then there is what I post by. It is more unique than the real alternative, and it was a name "given" to me when I was in University. Seems to have stuck.

    One should always have a couple of identities when online. It just works out better that way.

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      Re: Names are just weird...

      I've been told that the surname of "English" is most likely an Irishman, and the surname of "Irish" is most likely from England. Go figure.

      Well, duh, obviously! How else would it work? Englishman moves to Ireland in the 17th century. Locals just call him John the Englishman. Centuries later his Irish descendants have contracted it to Sean English.

      You get the same in Wales with people called Sais or Saes or Sayce. Ancestor was English. It would get very complicated if everyone in Hemel Hempstead was called English Dave or English Mary or English Jeff or even the occasional Bangladeshi Ranya.

  52. JohnFen Silver badge

    Is this not standard practice anymore?

    I think I have about two dozen aliases, although really I only use four of them with any frequency anymore. This used to be what most people did. Has that changed?

    Although I'm certainly not going change doing this. Different identities for different purposes has huge advantages, and no disadvantages. More so now than ever.

  53. Philip Stott

    Nice one Dabbsy

    I always enjoy your articles, but this one has me laughing out loud (sorry, I mean lolling obvs).

    Keep up the good work.

  54. BostonEddie

    once ran into a sales clerk named Yersinia. she said her mother liked the name.

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I love your internetpage! Can I register?

    Cyrus Yehosephat Bartholomew Erewan Radcliffe Theodosius Reginald Ash III here just to see if your system accommodates long names, and if you read initials. My first name only ever gets spelled properly by the natives here, my last name invariable gets mangled beyond recoginiton. People of non-local origins ( or "Forners", as I like to call visiting English speakers, unless they are British in which case I will adresss them as "Hey Brexit what are you still doing here") invariable misspell due to the capricious sprinkling of composite vowels in both my first and last name. Thanks mom & dad!

    1. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

      Re: I love your internetpage! Can I register?

      C.Y.B.E.R.T.R.ASH III?

  56. Strebortrebor

    A friend claims to have gone to high school with a lad named Richard Puller. One wonders what, or if, his parents were thinking.

  57. JLV Silver badge

    McLovin FTW

  58. philthane

    Macbeth

    You don't need to be Celtic to confuse people. My surname, Thane, is Saxon but anywhere south of Brum I'm 'Fane'. Many times I've said, 'Thane, with a Tee Aitch' and seen some southern muppet write 'Phane'. Good for call screening though, if someone asks for Mr Tanny it's an Indian call centre.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is the composer's name Dvořák pronounced with a "duh" sound at the beginning. An English friend says the "d" is silent.

    In modern Hebrew "ayin" is a silent letter that apparently alters the sound of the word. I was told most speakers nowadays do not differentiate between it and the sounded "aleph".

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Yeah, Ayin makes the subsequent sound come from the back of the throat. Really, I think, only used by people who came from other Middle Eastern or North African countries. Because if you're not used to it it's quite hard to do.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "Because if you're not used to it it's quite hard to do."

        A Palestinian colleague complimented me on my apparently affected pronunciation of "houmous". It didn't bother him that I learned it in Israel. For the initial letter "chet" I started with a hard-learned Afrikaans back of the throat "g" sound. Spent ages getting that sound to work reliably. That had been essential for prefixing routine greetings to Afrikaans colleagues with "goeie" (Good ...morning/evening) - or the tongue-twisting "gelukkige" (Happy/Merry ...birthday/Christmas).

        A TV film critic used to take great pride in pronouncing French and Italian film titles like a native speaker. There was a film from the Middle East which retained its original title transliterated to "Kham" (which means "hot"). He just pronounced it as "Kam" - ignoring the "chet" sound completely.

  60. td97402

    Your Editor Called To Tell Me

    I’m sure he meant:

    Donim, Sue

    Not:

    Domin, Sue

    1. Efer Brick

      Re: Your Editor Called To Tell Me

      "D'nym, Sue" is better (IMO)

      Yours,

      Vic t'Itious

  61. Ramatool Uppatart

    I've always believed to make your fake ID 'tell it like it is". It's a Thai name actually.

    1. Olivier2553

      I don't get it. What is a real name? Ramatool or 'tell it like it is'?

  62. AliBear

    I can hide and use at the same time!

    When you are an Alastair Campbell, it's very useful a. for hiding from most searches and b.booking restaurants. Although, it's a helluvalot easier ordering Starbucks and takeaways using 'Ali'.

    But is that my real name? Now I'm not sure anymore.

    As for tracking spam, buy a domain name, then use the name of the provider as the pre-@. Like vulture@mydomain.com, register@mydomain.com.

  63. lissi88

    With even the fake ID, the tasks you do online is still not hidden. So its the same thing be it the real or the fake one.

  64. Scorchio!!

    Now that you mention it, I've just changed my registered email address for this subscription. I'll say no more. Squire.

  65. Jake Maverick

    fake ID no good anymore...it all has to link back to govt sanctioned DBs now so you are screwed, as i am....ID stolen 12 1/2 years back and haven't been able to get so much as a bank account ever since...so you canimgaine how screwed my life is, certainly no hope of a career now even if i could get back onto the system tomorrow

    Phil McKrakin

  66. ABehrens

    "Domin, Sue" is certainly an unusual pseudomyn.

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