Some Random Idiot

Some Random Idiot

My first interesting job was as a student systems administrator for a fairly heterogenous group of UNIX servers. For the first many months, I was essentially a clever interface to an array of search engines. I came to have a great appreciation for the common phenomenon of a detailed solution to a very specific problem, laid out beautifully in the personal site of someone I’d never met. I answered a lot of “how on Earth did you figure that out?” with “somebody on the Internet wrote about it”.

I wasn’t courageous enough to run my own blog back then. I didn’t think I had anything to offer, although in retrospect the work I was doing was pretty cool (I had my hands in a few large Linux cluster projects, for example). These little personal blogs I made great use of were written by named people, with their credentials often right on the front page. I didn’t have any credentials, and nobody knew my name; what business did I have claiming to have any answers to anything?

Years later, I used “some random” in my site’s name because I don’t think who I am matters at all. I used “idiot” because I don’t think my credentials matter at all either, and I don’t want anyone else to stay silent because they think these things matter and they don’t have them. There’s nothing that gives me any more permission to write than any other person on the planet, including you.

I started using somerandomidiot.com for both my e-mail and my web presence in early 2014, moving away from yomimono.org, the domain I’d been using since 2006. (If you know a yomimono from elsewhere on the Internet, it’s likely to be me.) There is quite the difference in reaction between these domain names.

Dictating my @yomimono.org email address over the telephone required me to memorize a few variations on the NATO alphabet, and even when dictated correctly was easily typo’d. I got used to people reading my address back as “your user name at…” and then the sound of giving it the ol’ college try and then abandoning the enterprise as hopeless. On the other hand, most English speakers know how to both hear and say “some random idiot”; I’ve never had to repeat it more than once.

In-person conversations were less frustrating, but other English speakers hearing my previous domain name were usually fairly befuddled. On hearing “at some random idiot dot com,” though, most people smile or laugh a bit, which I enjoy. I haven’t yet had to present it in any kind of formal setting where I’m attempting to get people to take me seriously. I wonder whether totally-credible-trustworthy-human.com is available?