hen I transferred to UC Berkeley in 1994, I didn't know anyone there. But I'd dated a guy who had gone there and had shown me how to log onto icb (iirc, his nick was shua).
I got myself an account at the Open Computing Facility and headed straight for icb. The oldskool geeks there didn't want me to chat as "laurel"--they insisted that I *had* to have a nick! But I couldn't think of one I'd be willing to commit to.
Eventually, Poohbear and Avatar named me Smartacus. I liked it, other geeks thought it was cute, and it stuck.