Kuring college I went by the login "easterb".

Actually, that wasn't the first easterb. In 1979, my father was the manager of the Media Center in the Communications Building at UCSC. He was a friend of Dennie Van Tassel and other CC workers. Dennie was offering one of his introduction to UNIX classes during the summer of that year, and my father asked me if I wanted to learn something about computers. I wasn't doing anything that summer, and I had no idea what computers were all about, so I said sure. I learned basic UNIX and vi and nroff from Dennie.

My father borrowed an Adm3a terminal and a 300baud acoustic coupler modem from the CC, and opened an account.

He chose the name "easterb" because our house was on Easterby Avenue, and he just used the first seven letters.

When I got to college in 1985, I hadn't used UNIX for a few years (used an Apple II while in high school), and my father had let his "easterb" account lapse. So I reopened it as my own student account and chose the same name. I lived with my parents (to save money) most of the time I was in college, so it was still the name of my home, in a way.

Many people during that time thought easterb was short for "Easter Bunny" and sometimes asked me what special meaning the Easter Bunny had for me. I even dressed as the Easter Bunny for Halloween one year, to add to the running joke.

Triva: a touch-typist can type "easterb" with just the left hand.

When I got a job as an intern at SCO in 1987, I asked about using easterb, but they had a policy of using first-name, last-initial. So I became Eventually this became confusing with Bill Kiely ( and Bill Kehoe (, and I would sometimes get mail intended for them.

I graduated UCSC and moved out of my parents' house in 1991. I briefly considered keeping the login easterb as an alumni account or using the name at some other host, but I changed my mind. It was time to leave Easterby behind as a past chapter of my life. So I took (I still have that account, but it just forwards email and web requests to my new domain).

I got a job at Borland in 1994, and I wanted But they had a policy of first-initial, last-name, so I became

After leaving Borland in 1999, I registered the domain. The arrangement is that all addresses come to a single mailbox, so now I'm bill, billk, bkarwin, bill.karwin, easterb, whatever.

"Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark" was my alias on several forums for a long time. It had been my alias in the primeval forums of 1979 when I first started using UCSC computers. Yes, there were forums back then!

Tars Tarkas is a character from Edgar Rice Burroughs' pulp novels about John Carter on Mars. These are cheesy sci-fi stories from the early 20th century, and they captured my imagination when I was 12 (funny, I never read any of ERB's original Tarzan novels). Tars Tarkas was my favorite character from those books, and I also liked the alliterative quality of the phrase "Tars Tarkas, Jeddak of Thark".

I also used aliases such as "Bill!" (duh), "P.S. Amour" in Sex forum, "Eeyore" in Depression forum, and "Paw Prince" in Cathouse forum. I did some programming on forum source, and several people used my version. I also created Boasting Forum, which didn't actually store the messages people wrote to brag, because who the hell cares?