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Creative e-mail addresses shine with personality

By Thuba Nguyen
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, February 4, 2004
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Students given freedom to choose own UA NetIDs

Poochd0g. Anz4god. Bigmac13. Mohawk22. Banannia. Spoongod.

No, they're not AOL screen names; they're UA e-mail addresses.

Since January 2002, students have had more liberty to choose their own e-mail addresses, instead of the university giving them composites of their first and last names.

Officials at the Center for Computing and Information Technology said prior to 2002, they had received many requests from students who wanted the freedom to choose their own e-mail addresses.

Mike Torregrossa, co-director of CCIT, said the freedom for students to choose their own e-mail addresses depends on how strict the school policies are. Torregrossa said the UA has chosen to be more flexible since there were so many requests.

"After a while, we just decided to let it be free-form," said Torregrossa, who changed his own NetID to MikeT since it was hard for people to spell out his last name correctly.

Students who entered the UA after the change were made aware of the policy when they created their NetIDs.

Anne McGettigan, a political science junior, signed up for her e-mail address May 26, 2003, and chose Banannia. She said her family calls her banana, and she wanted to use that for her e-mail address. When she found out "banana" was taken, she opted to combine her nickname and her first name.

Media arts sophomore Michelle McIntyre, whose NetID is Spoongod, said since mMcIntyre was taken as an address, she wanted to choose a name that her friends could recognize.

In high school, McIntyre and her friends made up a language using kitchen utensils so their teachers would not be able to understand what they were talking about. Spoon meant anything that was good or positive, and fork was anything bad or evil.

"I figured anyone who knew me could get a hold of me easier. Spoonchild was my childhood nickname," McIntyre said.

She decided to upgrade her name to Spoongod when she signed up for her e-mail address.

When students register for their UA NetIDs, they are given a chance to use system-generated names, which should represent the name of the holder, Torregrossa said. But if students do not want any of the names offered, they may make up their own.

He said students still have to follow the guidelines posted by CCIT. Students are not permitted to use vulgar e-mail addresses and will be forced to change them. Students may also not use a name that represents a false identity, such as that of a UA administrator.

Torregrossa said anyone who has a UA NetID can change his or her e-mail address once per year.

A changing NetID can be a hassle for students since they will have to notify others about their e-mail address changes, Torregrossa said. However, the UA server will automatically forward e-mails from the person's old e-mail address to their new one for a period of three months.

"It's not something that you do lightly," Torregrossa said.

Even with the change, Lin Moldenhauer, a junior majoring in English and creative writing, said she would not change her NetID, lbmolden.

"I've given it out to so many people. But it would have been a nice option to have when I got my e-mail address. It would have been more creative and with more personality," she said.

But, Moldenhauer added, having a professional name, like the one generated by the UA computer system, is preferable.

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