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netsperience 2.x
Drupal web development and other stuff

What's In A Name? The birth of decibel.places on and everywhere else

How I Came To Be Known As Decibel Places

I have used the handle netsperience as my "web brand" since 1996 - but when I decided to claim the domain, was already taken.

So I started to think about a good nickname for a programmer.

In the late 70s I occasionally published a xeroxed zine about the Providence, RI punk rock scene and I called it "Decibel Places"

Adding a decimal point completes the pun: I searched "decibel places" to see if anybody else was using it; I found one reference, clearly intended to be "decimal places" and I had a good laugh. Today, that result is buried at the bottom of the 17th page of Google results - the rest are me.

I switched my username to "decibel.places" and everywhere else.

I created an avatar with the newly created by Paste Magazine. I was just playing around, using my laptop's webcam. I liked the side-lit effect, and the fact that the blue highlight on my face looks a lot like New Jersey.

LinkedIn suspended my account for using this as my profile image. I argued with them that it is an actual photo, but they would not allow it.

Recently my wife told me she doesn't understand what it means. I explained it to her: a double pun on my love for loud music and programming. "Oh," she said.

The only drawback is that many web sites like Twitter and Facebook do not allow a username with punctuation. (Facebook allows it in the URL but not as a user name.) Although this weakens the "joke" I think it actually improves search ranking with multiple spellings.

I have actually met people at meetups and parties who know me as "decibel" not by my real name. I guess it was a good marketing move. It's important to fully claim and establish your "brand" especially if it is your "personal" brand.

Someone should start a project documenting the origin of usernames. How did chx pick the name? Besides what we think we know, what about merlinofchaos?