Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tips for Finding the Perfect Username

Image Credit: Wikipedia Commons
Almost any webiste you visit, particularly ones where you have to sign in, require that you use a username. Picking a username, however, can be very tricky. Here are few things to consider when choosing a name.

  1. Consider the why you are posting.  HotBabyMomma might be cute on a dating site, but not  so much if you are trying to get a job. 
  2. Does the name reflect who you are? It's always important to be true to yourself. Try to stay away from super trendy names that don't reflect your personality. Names based on the "Movie of the Week" get old fast and tend to date the person using them. Unless you are a try hardcore fan, I would recommend sticking with something more relevent to who you are. 
  3. Be aware of spellings.  With many sites having a "once used no longer avialable" policy those who sign up later often find themselves combining various words or changing letters to make a user name. There is nothing wrong with this as long as you double check that the edited version doesn't accidently mean something else. One of my first online names turned out to be a cultural slur that I was completely unaware of. I immediately changed the name once I found out. 
  4. What does it sound like? People will automatically try prounce the username so a name like "sxshooter" could be prounced "six shooter" or "sex shooter", depending on the reader's state of mind. You will also find that at real world meetups based on online groups, people will associate you with your username more often then your real name. One of my other early user names was FireSong. This was great until ended up at a meet and greet and people would say "Hey Fi..., um, you. Hi." Understandably, no one wanted to yell "fire" in a croweded room. 
  5. Continuity.  If you are trying to promote your business or brand it's important to have a unique, but spellable, username so that potential clients can find you. It's also important to have the same, or very similar name, on all the websites that pertain to your buisness. 
Finding a good username can be a challenge, which is why it's important to find something that is as unique as you are. 

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Note

Image by VeganBaking.net
The place looked small. The old shopping center had obviously seen better days. I parked my car into one of the dozen spots that were situated in front of the 3 store complex. The tea shop was on one end and an ATT store on the other. In the center was a small bakery. For a city the place was surprisingly rural.

It looked deserted. As I packed into a space, a single grey car was pulling up in front of the ATT store. I checked my phone. I was still early. The bridal tea wouldn't start for another 20 minutes. Next time I will triple check the calendar. The bakery looked interesting, maybe I could kill some time in there. As I closed the door and locked it I realized that the man driving the grey car had gotten out and was watching me. I paused a moment to assess him.

He looked decent enough. Tall, dark hair and a red plaid shirt with jeans. He was well built but not something you would see in a magazine. He looked to be in his late 30's or early 40's. He also looked lost. As he kept watching me I started to wonder if he was going ask me for directions. Not being from the area I had no idea where anything was but I'm not rude so I decided to be nice. 

"Good morning," I smiled at him as I walked across the parking lot back towards the bakery. He didn't respond so I kept walking. 

The bakery was a as small on the inside as it looked on the outside. The entire kitchen was an odd open concept with 2 people decorating cakes at long tables. A single row of display cases created a barrier between the customers and the bakers. A friendly woman offered to help me but I said I was simply browsing. 

I was until I saw the apple turnovers. They were huge. Suddenly the very traditional continental breakfast I had at the hotel was wearing thin. 2 hard boiled eggs and a scone were no match for these turnovers. I check the time on my phone. I had managed to kill 5 minutes. Good. By the time I put the stuff in my car and walk to the tea shop I could arrive at the tea shop only a few minutes early. I purchased the turnovers and returned to my car. 

The parking lot was mostly empty as I put the food in the car and walked towards the tea shop. No sign of the man, but his car was still there. The tea shop was small, with jars of various teas all over. There were a few tables pushed together with a white tablecloth draped over them and antique tea cups at every other seat. 

"Can I help you?" A slender woman with dark chocolate skin asked me with the typical southern drawl. 

"I think I'm here for that." I state as I point at the decorated table. "I'm a little early." Just my luck I still managed to get here before the organizers. I should have hung out in the bakery longer.

The woman chuckled as she explained that I could sit anywhere and started to ask about the others. From the looks of the table there would be 20 of us. I looked over the table again as she talked. This just feels weird. I hate being the first one to show up unless I know what's going on.

"I have no idea what's going on," I state apologetically as I turn my attention to the teas. The shop owner switched to telling me about the teas and answering some of my questions about the various blends without loosing her pleasant southern charm. 

A few minutes later the bridesmaids and other guests started to arrive. I set my purse and coat down at the farthest chair from the bride. Being left handed I like to sit on the end, and I assumed the bridesmaids and family would want to sit next to the bride at the head of the table. I wonder if etiquette books show the seating arrangement for teas and if they even include groomsmen's wives. On second thought I wonder if they still even write etiquette books. 

As more people came in we choose our tea and our seats. I ended up sitting across from another groomsmen's wife. We had known each other when I was in high school and we chatted about how much things have changed in the last 20 plus years. 

As we sat and talked, eating traditional sandwiches and hearing stories from the bridesmaids and family I noticed the man from the parking lot pacing in front of the window. Odd. He looks more like a black coffee type than tea. He peaked in the window at one point and saw me sitting at the table. Not sure what to do I quickly looked back at my plate. 

I kept up with the conversation but started to wonder why the guy was looking for me. I was sure he was looking for me. Did something happen to the car? No. I would have heard if another car had hit mine - or anyone else's. He probably thinks that I look like someone he knows. Given that I'm mistaken for someone else on a near weekly basis it's not that surprising. I just hope he likes whoever he thinks I am. If he's still out there when I leave then I will make a point to ask him what he wants. 

An hour later we finish up eating and are saying our goodbyes. The rehearsal is in a few hours and I want to make sure I can get back to the hotel before it. With my poor sense of direction I always need extra time. 

As I leave the tea shop I notice a folded piece of paper on my windshield. Even from a distance I can tell it's not a advertisement. I walked a little faster, slightly nervous that something had happened to the car. A quick visual assessment let me know that the car was fine. I let out a breath and grabbed the note. 

"Hey there Cute,

Believe we made plenty of eye contact when you arrived. You caught my attention and thought I would just reach out to say "Hi" and let you know I wanted to flirt a little E-mail me if you want."

His email was written at the bottom of the note with no name. 

I blinked a few times in disbelief. Then I started laughing. I laughed so hard I thought I would fall over. A few of the people from the tea were in the parking lot and came over to see what I was in such a fuss over. I showed them the note.

Once the shock of what he did wore off, it was replaced with a sense of pride. I'm not much to look at. I'm over weight, over 40 and a bit of a geek. But I apparently still have something, because he wanted to flirt.

For the curious, I did email him. I told him that I appreciated his offer but that I was a happily married woman with 2 kids. Like a gentleman, he said thank you for responding and kept the conversation polite. He seems like a sweet guy. I hope he finds a nice woman.