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MIT staff blogger Matt McGann '00

Class of 2009 note #1 by Matt McGann '00

While we are still waiting to hear from everyone, and hence it is too early to know anything about the waitlist, the Next Big Mailing (NBM) is on its way to those who replied to us before the deadline.

One of the coolest parts of the NBM is the Athena Account Coupon. The coupon will allow you to get yourself a Kerberos Identity/Athena username. What will this mean for you? Well, you’ll have an MIT email address, MIT web space (currently 1 GB), ability to access MIT-only secure web pages, and, of course, you add me to your list of friends on Thefacebook ;)

Your important task is to choose a username for yourself. Yes, MIT believes in letting you choose your own email address (you can laugh at your friends at schools where their email address is some garbled mess of intials and numbers). It must be between 3-8 characters, and it must be unique. There’s no comprehensive check you can do to see what is taken, but you should check the MIT directory to get a preliminary idea. If your first name or last name is uncommon and 8 letters or fewer, that’s often a good choice, as those addresses are professional and easy to remember. You can try your initials, or first intial-last name. You can spell your name backwards, or use a nickname. You can even name yourself after your favorite rock album (like one of my friends did) or an adjective that describes your personality (another friend). The important thing to remember is that you cannot change your username. So if you’re planning to go with something wacky, check with your friends to ensure it is truly a good idea.

Back in the fall of 1996 (we had to wait until we were on campus to get our usernames back in those days), I chose madmatt as my username. It was a high school nickname given to me by my boss, and I thought it gave my username a little character. madmatt served me well, and many people still refer to me by my username. However, when I started to apply for jobs, I made myself a list, mcgann, with madmatt as the only member of that list (essentially, a second email list for myself). I continue to use that email list professionally (if you get an email from me, the return address will be mcgann), but deep down, I’ll always be madmatt.

MIT students/alums: any advice for choosing usernames? Any funny stories about others’ usernames?

Class of ’09 members: how will you choose your username?

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