Why nhooyr?

February 9, 2020

Back in middle school, I went through quite a few online usernames but never settled on one. Whenever I'd sign up for a new service, my current username happened to be taken and I would conjure up a new one.

First it was anmol444, then armyofminions and then aubble and many more in between. Around the 9th grade, I remember trying to sign up for twitter with aubble but it happened to be taken. I became frustrated at having different usernames for different services and decided to find a name that wasn't taken.

I was reading a book on cryptography at the time and had learnt about the ROT13 cipher. It's a monoalphabetic cipher where each letter maps to the 13th letter after it in the alphabet. It has the elegant property that encryption and decryption are identical operations.

I applied it to aubble and out came nhooyr. I ran a google search on nhooyr. For the first time ever I saw a google search with zero results.

That’s when I knew it was mine.