Updated  Sept. 16, 2012.

When I started working on the metropolitan desk of The New York Times in 1997, the newsroom was using a publishing system known as Atex for text editing. Usernames were six characters long. The naming convention at the time was to take the first two letters of the staffer's given name and the first four letters of the surname. Patrick+LaForge=Palafo.

Not every Atex username had a mellifluous combination of consonants and vowels, but mine did. On a whim, I used it as a username on various sites in the early years of the Web and as an e-mail address with a succession of Internet service providers. The vaguely Italian-sounding but non-existent name was usually available, while my actual name was already being snapped up by my French-Canadian-Irish doppelgängers.

The Atex naming convention used by The Times was abandoned (along with Atex), but a few of us still use the naming convention in e-mail addresses.

I have been a computer nerd and geek since a time before there was a Web, and I was a bit of an early Web pioneer, but I did not use the name for a blog until I started the earliest version of this one in 2008. Here's hoping I don't besmirch it in the permanent record for all time.

Regarding the pronunciation: Some people have been known to say PAL-ah-foe, but I prefer to stress the syllable that is also the first syllable of my surname: puh-LAAF-oh. Sort of like palazzo.