From a programmed sequence…

An old monitor with old login information

In 1993, a young first year undergraduate student walked down the corridor of the French department into a small room with a single computer terminal. It was a UNIX terminal linked to the campus network, and a login prompt blinked on the screen. Next to it, a note saying “login with guest as a username to sign up”.

The young man followed the instructions and was greeted with a prompt to enter his library card number and personal details. “Your username is fruex” it said, and then the screen went blank followed by an error message. So he logged back in and repeated the procedure. “Your username is fruey”, followed by the full email address and a request for a password. He typed and confirmed a password; the rest is history.

That man was me (I think you guessed), and that is how fruey came into being. A username, and the first email address that was all mine. I had an AOL screenname and password before that, but it required me to be logged in to AOL to use it – their webmail wasn’t available at the time. FR for French department, U for undergraduate, and then two letters pulled from a programmed sequence.


  1. You had posted a comment on my blog that the steps I described to run IE7 without installing it dont work. I assume that you are running Win XP Pro SP2. I use the same trick to run it on my system. The error that you described is because 1 of your IE6 files got messed up. I am trying to resolve it. I will tell you if I am able to solve your problem

  2. Simon

    15/4/2006 at 11:33 am


    Yes, there are still issues with this procedure. I’m not going to risk using this tip until there is a stable procedure to get back to IE6.

    I have a machine that is now pure Firefox as a result :-D.


  3. Simon

    19/5/2006 at 8:49 pm

    Hi Sharlet,

    My real name is so common (around the net there are thousands of us, and there were a number even back then) so it stuck quickly as an easy to remember username for me at least…