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Where Did Hsoi Come From?

I get asked this question a lot, which is understandable as the word is a bit odd or exotic and just plain strange. To adequately explain, it's too long a story to always type up when people ask. So to save my fingers from the typing, I wrote this FAQ to explain it. It's nothing glamorous, in fact you'll probably be disappointed after you read this. But still, you asked. :-)

It doesn't stand for anything. In fact, it's just a fluke that I can't get rid of.

Ok, actually it does stand for something -- it stands for me, John C. Daub.


It started back in college, where I was introduced to the Internet. I learned about these things called MUDs, which stands for Multi User Dungeon. Ever hear of Dungeons and Dragons? A MUD is kind of like that, but it's an interactive computer program in which people can log into, explore, chat, slay dragons, role-play, or whatever you'd like. If you're curious to learn a bit more about it, check out the official rec.games.mud FAQ.

On a MUD you need a character/login name. I used to use the name Garrett, which worked ok for a while. See, as you'd go from one MUD to another, frequently you wanted to continue using the same character name, or stay within your pool of favorite names. Unfortunately many times you'd go to a new MUD and your name would already be taken. I found too many times where Garrett was already taken and I had to think of another name.

One day when I ran into this name problem I sat there in the lab for a while trying to think of a new name. I wanted something that was unique, easy to remember, stood out, and so on. So many of the names on the MUDs I frequented came from the mideval fantasy role-playing vein, like Drizzt, Spark, Mclain, Hobbes, Zanar, and the like. That's ok, but since those are so common you was more likely to run into duplicates and have to repeat the process of choosing a name all over again. It's not a big deal, it's just annoying.

For some unexplained reason, the word Hosoi popped into my head. I have no idea why -- it just did. If you are familiar with skateboarding, the name Christian Hosoi might (should) be familiar to you. I dabbled in skating when I was really young, so that's probably why this was in my head to begin with... but having since long left the sport I have no idea, to this day, why Hosoi popped into my head.

I didn't want Hosoi -- it didn't look completely "right" to me, so I went with Hsoi. That seemed to work out ok. It was short and simple, it was rather unique (not only the spelling, but also being an Asian-style name in a "world" of Euro-centric names). It stood out well, and besides, the simple joke for my name was Hsoi Sauce. :-) So I started using that as my MUD name. It worked well, never ran into conflicts.

The thing that made Hsoi stick was simply that people started to get to know me that way, just like with any name. People knew if they saw a character named Hsoi that it was me sitting behind the keyboard. It became more and more difficult to abandon the use of Hsoi for a character name since that was how people knew me.

When I left college and went to graduate school, I was picking out a username for my email address. I didn't want to use a lot of the premade, less-than-identifying, and cryptic names that one was given, like jcd7106, daubj, jdaub, and other things like that. Just too difficult to figure out as everyone has a different standard to go by. I wanted to have something memorable, easy, and uniquely identifiable with me, so what better thing than to just continue with using Hsoi.

I did this and then it really started to take hold. People started to refer to me as Hsoi cause they could remember that and not my real name, and some of my friends even started to just call me Hsoi because John isn't exactly the most uncommon of names in the world. Perhaps that's one reason why I like Hsoi -- it's unique; spending my entire life with the second-most popular name in the world (Mohammed is the most popular), I guess once in a while one just wants to stand out a bit. As well, you get tired of someone calling out "John!" and 5 heads (including yours) all turn; it's nice to hear someone call out a name and you can respond with 100% certainty (at least so far) because you're the one they could want since there's no one else with that name. It's nice to have a unique identifier.

After leaving school, getting my own private ISP, getting a job, etc., again why not just continue with using Hsoi? It's how people have gotten to know me, and still to this day it seems to be a unique identifier for me on the Internet, so why not use it? If you see Hsoi, you'll pretty much know it's me.

Now that I have acquired the hsoi.com, hsoi.net, and hsoi.org domains (and subsequently use them for a variety of things related to Hsoi), it helps a lot more with the identity. Once again, if you come to hsoi.com (or deal with hsoi.com (or hsoi.net or hsoi.org for that matter) in any way, unless someone is spoofing) then you can be certain it's me or I have some sort of affiliation with it all.

So there you have it. That's where Hsoi came from. Not a very thrilling story was it? ;-)


You pronounce Hsoi like Soy (as in soybean, soy sauce, soy burgers) but with a bit of a breathy Hhh sound in front of it. Don't draw out the H sound -- make it quick but not rushed.

Other Hsoi's I Have Seen

I have seen Hsoi used to refer to other things on the net. Someone was using Hsoi as an acronym for Hogan's Software (I don't know where they got the "i" from. No URL that I know of these days); I saw HsoI as a "Type II restriction enzyme"; to a "Heat sinked SOI" (whatever that is); as an acronym for Haunted Star Of India. But as I'm none of those things, nor are those things a person, you can still be pretty certain that if you see Hsoi, it's going to be me. I doubt I'll ever (be able to) shed Hsoi as an identifier for me, which is just as well :-) Hey, if you know what any of these Hsoi things are, please share your knowledge with me! I'm curious.

By the way, I do have Hsoi trademarked. See here for more details.



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Page Created: 28 December 1999
Last Modified: 26 December 2002