Notes on the alias

The use of handles was originally associated with crackers who have a legitimate need to hide their identity. Cracker groups used to advertise their actions with small, fancy programs called demos. Then some (mostly Scandinavian) geeks noticed that it's more fun to just focus on making the demos, and avoid the illegal deeds of cracking. Hence came demogroups and the tradition of handles lives on. Nowadays people need usernames for various computer systems, so a handle is nothing exceptional to have any more :-/.

One important milestone in my geek career happened in early 1992 when I got a Soundblaster card and started to make music with my 286. I had been introduced into trackers by Jussi Kärkkäinen aka EMS, a friend of mine from the wind orchestra. It was almost by accident that one night we started to discuss computers. He was a member of a demogroup called TDD -- The Demo Disease, and eventually they wanted to include one of my first songs in a demo.

My first handle was SSB, which originally stood for Sausage Sandblaster. It was inspired by a name "Bob the Sausage" that appeared in the highscores of the game Harley Davidson: the Road to Sturgis. I've forgot some of the details how I decided on the name, but (fortunately) EMS advised me to only use the abbreviation. That way it could have multiple meanings, and now I'm happy to say that it also relates to Fourier analysis: single sideband :-).

The group was renamed Quip at some point, and didn't become particularly famous, and after some quiet time we split up in the summer of 1993. EMS changed his handle to ToneDeaf (oh the irony) as he was tired of being associated with expanded memory.

And I renamed myself Technohog (sic). It has never been a reference to techno music, but rather to technology. Also, I didn't know the hacker meaning of 'hog' back then (e.g. memory hog); it was about some k3w1ness in both Sus Domesticus and Harley Davidson. Maybe some day I'll have a futuristic motorcycle which deserves the name technohog. Still, the geekish meaning of hog is a happy accident which makes me an excessive technophile. Which is also partially ironic, as I don't really fancy the latest hardware; it's more fun to squeeze unexpected performance out of older gear.

After 1994 I got really out of touch with hackerdom for many years, only to start a road to recovery in 1998, when I had a proper Internet connection for the first time. I set up a webserver under Windows 3.1 on my 486 laptop, and started to learn about the wonderfulness called Linux. In the university I noticed that the 8-character limit was not limited to DOS filenames. I got more interested in music as I had made new friends and went to an Orbital concert and a rave featuring Laurent Garnier.

Soon after coming home from the first university year, I wrote a light house piece as my first proper composition since about 1994. I thought about the 8-character limit and the coolness of K versus CH. Later that summer I designed this personal website of TeknoHog. By the way, the TeknoFont in the title image dates back to 1993. Some day I might make a proper font out of it, though I'm having second thoughts about its coolness after ten years now.

And the final note on the self-referential potential of handles: Some people use Ripa as a nickname for guys named Risto. For some reason I don't like it being used of myself, even though it also works out to abbreviate my first and last names. But most importantly, 'ripa' is Finnish for 'handle'.

Risto A. Paju