Centuries ago, I went by the name of Iceman. Well, kind of.
First of all, for it to be a name, do people have to use it? As nobody ever called me Iceman. I didn’t actually call myself it at the time, either.
It was way back when I was in my first job. In all of my jobs since then, my computer username has been my surname and first initial. It has never, ever changed from job to job apart from my very first username. Another thing is that my username in all of the jobs apart from the first one was set for me by someone else. In the first job, I had to think of my own username and password.
And I couldn’t think of anything. It didn’t occur to me to use my real name, or my surname and first initial. It also didn’t occur to me to use the name just as it was, and I thought, for security purposes, it would be better to use a combination of letters and numbers. It also didn’t occur to me that it was displayed when I typed it into the username field when logging on to the computer. And my initial thoughts of security didn’t occur to me when I wrote the username down so I could remember it.
I can remember it now no problem. After almost two millennia it is still there, clearly at the front of my mind. 1C3M4N.
Why I didn’t use Iceman for my username on this blog I have no idea. I suppose it didn’t occur to me at the time. Using 1C3M4N certainly didn’t occur to me; and after racking my brains for well over five minutes I decided upon Aquatom1968 – still using a combination of letters and numbers (although this didn’t occur to me at the time either)
So, my inner Iceman persona has remained frozen out of my existence since those sepia- coloured days of long ago.
Sepia-coloured also reminds me of the computers we had to use in my days as the forgotten Iceman.
Way back then, Windows hadn’t been invented. The computers were the program. There were separate computers for different tasks, whereas today we use separate windows for the tasks.
The sepia-coloured computers were the main system we had to use. It was very advanced for the time. It was when I used to answer telephone calls as a 100 operator. The transition had been made from the prehistoric plug and cord switchboard with heavy trumpet headsets, to the sophisticated top of the range computerised switchboard with ultra lightweight headset.
The casing of the computers was beige in colour, with the screen being bright white. The text on the screen was grey, but could be turned up to black, to the user’s preference.
The computers also had sound. The keys made a funny plumping sound when they were used. The keyboards had a larger numeric keypad than on today’s keyboards, which was separate from the alphabetical keys (obviously we used the numbers more than the letters working on the telephones).
When a call came in to the computer, it too would make a kind of plopping noise, so as well as hearing the other operators chatting away to their callers, there was also the sound of plumping, plopping and popping going on as well.
The caller’s number would be displayed on screen, if the caller was lucky enough to be connected to one of the new digital telephone exchanges, in those days I think it would have been 1% of the callers. If the number wasn’t available, a row of zeros would be displayed, and we had to use the old-fashioned method of asking the caller for their number.
If we needed further information, we had to walk to another computer that stored the customer’s records. And if we needed to add any further information to the record, we had to walk to another computer to enter it. Billing information was held on another computer in a different building. In a different city in fact, and we had to put the caller through. The computer would make the popping sound as the caller was released.
Each computer had to be logged into for use and logged out of after use, but these other computers had their usernames and passwords on an index card, sellotaped to the desk beside it. I can’t remember these usernames today, however, which were also made up of letters and numbers… a combination of around fifty for each username and password – they were big on security back then.
So, getting back to my inner Iceman persona. Rediscovered like a young Siberian Woolly Mammoth, and equally well preserved if I do say so myself. I may take a trip back into the past and start to use the Iceman name again. I mean, its only a name, isn’t it?