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What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,

–Shakespeare,  Romeo and Juliet.

I suspect this is one of those obvious things that everyone but me knows about, and that my idiocy is about to be highlighted. Oh well, I’ve never had a problem with looking stupid. On the other hand, it was a pretty nifty discovery, and I’m kind of proud of it and amazed that I never saw it before. On the off chance that you don’t know, and you’re still using MSN more avidly then I am, you might find this useful.

Way back when, when I used  a dodgy pirated copy of Trillian to sign on to MSN, Yahoo and ICQ all at the same time, before we got the MSN Messenger monoculture that has become dominant now, one of the features that I loved about Trillian was that I could rename people. That means I didn’t have to read whatever wankerish random jumble of letters that people pretended to use as a nickname, and which they changed every week so that you could never remember who anyone was without memorizing their email address. Now maybe this was part of MSN’s genuine attempt to make us all remember our friends email addresses but I think its more likely they were just didn’t think how their software would be used in practice.

It appears that they’ve finally gotten around to implementing this nifty feature. If you’re using Windows Life Messenger which is what they’re calling MSN Messenger these way as part of their broader attempt to rebrand everything they do Windows Live Something. It’s as simple as just clicking on any person in your contact list’s name, scrolling down the list (try to resist the temptation to start chatting them up, you’re doing something important here), and then clicking on “add nickname”. This will pop up a little text box in which you can write anything that you want and this will then display as their name. It won’t remove the little personal message from them either, so you can always see their message of the moment.

All in all though, for a thing that annoyed me for so long, I’m impressed that they finally got there a mere decade after ICQ. A true case of better late then never.