What do a great emperor, a horrible country singer, and an IMAP server have in common?

That's right, they're all named Cyrus.  I knew about the first one because I was named for him.  The second I unfortunately had to learn about when I was in HS.  Oh that was a fun time.  My nickname was both “The Virus” and “Billy Ray.”  The last was a new discovery for me.

How did I find out?  I was trying out gentoo on my home box and I was running into the weirdest problems.  I'd successfully gone through all the stages and I was trying to make an account for myself.  The name I picked was, of course, “cyrus”.  For some reason this wasn't working.  Me being a clueless n00b wasn't stumped for quite a while.  I eventually was able to trace it back to the fact that one of the IMAP servers contained in the base install made a default user for itself called “cyrus”.  Sigh...

That was an exercise in pain and frustration.  I couldn't ever figure out the right thing to do so I just settled with a different user name.

This experience reminded of something similar that happened to me oh about 15 years ago.  Back when I had my original NES one of the first games I had was The Legend of Zelda. When I played that game the first time I decided that I would call my character 'Zelda' (i wasn't a very original child).  Little did I know that if you did this the game designers had made it so that every location of dungeons, items and enemies would be placed in a completely different location vs. the default location if you were any other name.  This wouldn't have been a problem, except that several of my friends had gotten the same game at the same time.  So we would get together at school to talk about how far we were, what we had accomplished, and where everything was.  We created little maps and tried to plot out the entire world.  But none of it made any sense to me.  None of what they were saying (like “move right two screens and place a bomb three squares in”) would work and we just couldn't figure out why.

Who would have thoughts names would be so important and the simple act of choosing them could so drastically affect your ability to function and interact with the world.