The Name Game

February 26th, 2005

I was at a party today with lots of old friends from Xerox EuroPARC and some exchanging of current contact details was going on. It did occur to me that I didn’t really need to give anyone a business card because one of the advantages of an unusual name is that I’m very easy to find on Google even if the only thing you can remember is my first name. And that’s true of a lot of people now – even with a more common name, if you know one other thing about them, like a company they’ve worked for or the place they live, it can often be fairly easy to find someone.

This does assume, of course, that you know how to spell their name. So this is a post for anybody trying to find Quintin Stafford-Fraser, Quinton Stafford-Frasier or Quentin Stafford-Frazer – it should help point you in the right direction! [Update, a few days later - it works, too!]

I’ve been playing with the quite interesting software from Devon Technologies recently, in particular DevonTHINK and DevonAGENT. The latter is a tool that goes and queries lots of websites on your behalf for information on a given topic, and, ironically, it’s quite hard to find me using that, because it interprets the hyphen in my surname as an instruction not to include pages with ‘Fraser’ in them, something that really should be indicated by a hyphen after a space. Not much I can do for DevonAGENT users…

It reminds me of the lovely message I used to get in the early days of Hotmail when I tried to create an account:
Last Name contains reserved or ineligible word. Please select another.