Gmail namesakes fail ?

I’ve had a gmail account since the first days of the service – so I’m lucky to have an address that’s based on my real name. I discovered fairly early on in my internet timeline that I share my name with a romantic novelist. I know – it’s hilarious. I bought one of her books on eBay once, out of curiosity.  On its arrival, one look at it told me it wasn’t my cup of tea, but it always makes me “heh” seeing a paperback with my name on the spine, on my own shelf – so there it stays.

So ffw a couple of years, and I’m using my gmail account for job applications, personal contacts etc – the sort of thing where having your name as your email address is handy. I rarely get spam, because it’s mostly from very trusted sources.


I have a few different email addresses, including a yahoo one I pretty much double dare to be spam rammed – used for internet competitions, prize draws, etc. And actually, yahoo is pretty good at deciding what’s spam (I look in the folder occasionally to remind myself to be grateful for this service).

Meanwhile my gmail account has stayed pretty trash-free – however I did start getting emails that weren’t for me. I thought at first they were spam, but they were properly addressed, starting “dear-“, and when I looked into it the sender actually existed and had a publishing company, the one which happened to publish the aforesaid novelist’s books. He obviously just got the address wrong, by guessing, which is daft because her real address at that time was easily found on her email address, based on her book title Blush.

There were a few emails from this publisher, so I forwarded a few on to the Blush address, with an explanatory note, and got no response. I also contacted the sender – same. Perhaps my emails were ironically being captured into their spam folders.

The emails from the publisher continued for a while, the tone getting increasingly impatient as he wasn’t getting a response from her – apparently there were some of her books left in his possession that he 1. wanted rid of and 2. wanted paid for.  He would therefore arrange for them to be delivered to her address in Malaga, Spain (please confirm). Then, he’d sent the books complete with invoice for the remaining balance. So I now had this amazing mental image of a shelved author (pun intended) sitting in her peaceful sunny garden, taking delivery of hundreds of paperbacks, cash on delivery. I wonder if this ever happened.

By now, I’d ‘LinkedIn’ to her profile, so surely she was aware there was a namesake, but actually there are loads of us and I am facebook friends with one in Australia who I friended in a moment of madness but actually I have quite a lot in common with. Our 2-way conversations can be confusing for observers.

Now for the last few months I’ve been the recipient of another rake of emails, this time with a nature reserve in California as the subject. Were they trying to contact the novelist? Based on the list of Directors, yes. Look! That website even has her blush email address on it.

Ridiculously, I received an email forwarded to me, which had originally come from the Blush address, which contained not only the novelist’s phone number, but her postal address! Look how close she lives to the nature reserve:

Newport Beach pic

So all this made me curious – what if she really DOES have a gmail address, and she is perhaps receiving some of MY mail? So I tried experimenting logging into gmail in different ways.

For example: My “real” address includes punctuation. I tried logging into my mail by omitting the punctuation, and I still got in. I also tried just using the name, without the gmail bit, and I got in. Why should this be possible?

Apparently – it’s SUPPOSED to do this!

This page on google support says:

Sometimes you may receive a message sent to an address that looks like yours but has a different number or arrangement of periods. While we know it might be unnerving if you think someone else’s mail is being routed to your account, don’t worry: both of these addresses are yours.

Gmail doesn’t recognize dots as characters within usernames, you can add or remove the dots from a Gmail address without changing the actual destination address; they’ll all go to your inbox, and only yours. In short:

  • =
  • =
  • =

All these addresses belong to the same person. You can see this if you try to sign in with your username, but adding or removing a dot from it. You’ll still go to your account.

If you get mail that seems to be intended for someone else, it’s likely that the sender entered the wrong address, just like if you’ve ever dialed a wrong phone number for someone. In these cases, we suggest contacting the original sender or website when possible to alert them to the mistake.

Who knew? I didn’t!

So this poor woman should tell her friends to stop using the guessed address – perhaps a longer warning email to her is required (although I think I’ll miss getting these interesting snippets of her life)… watch this space…


cv word cloud

I did a wordle 


Twitter for idiots

1. Go to and sign up.

It will tell you if your name is already taken or if you have to think of something else.

Try to use something that’s easy to remember. Avoid numbers. Spammers use numbers.


2. Follow the instructions on screen.

Follow some people.

Twitter will give you a list of suggestions.

You could type “pinkpebs” into the search box and follow me, too.


3. Follow all the instructions – press “skip” if you don’t want to do something, but try not to skip this next screen, Add Character.

If you don’t upload a photo, twitter will use an egg. Newbies are Eggs. No-one trusts an egg.

Also, no-one trusts a cleavage photo. Spammers use cleavage photos.

Choose a picture, even if it’s a cartoon or something. Press “upload image” and find an image to use. It’ll tell you if the image you choose is too big or the wrong type.

You don’t have to write a Bio – it helps people know who you are, so it depends on whether you want people to know who you are as to whether you fill this bit in. If you do, you get 160 characters for this bit.


4. Now your account is created – twitter will ask you to confirm your email address so best go to your inbox and click the link, then it’ll trust you.

5. Explore!

You could click on the #discover link at the top and see some more recommendations.

@connect will take you to a list of messages you’ve received or conversations you’re included in.

Pressing Me will take you to a list of your tweets. This is probably blank just now so go back to Home and tweet something.

Remember that it’s possible for everyone to see what you tweet. Pretty unlikely until someone follows you, though.

If you want to direct a tweet at a particular person, find their profile and find out their twitter profile name and include it in your message. An example could be “Hello @pinkpebs I’m new“. If you don’t include their name they won’t know it’s for them and may not see it.

OK That’ll do for starters – if you can’t work the rest out yourself then you really must be an idiot. Twitter is much easier for newbies these days than it was when I joined. If you need help, ask people – preferably not famous ones though cos they tend not to answer.

Good luck


I recently volunteered to set up a page for #cumbriahour – a weekly twitter networking event.

It’s just until we get a better / flashier / more costly website!

Here it is: #cumbriahour

Took me about an hour to do. Bless WordPress.

Social Media Image Sizing Cheat Sheet

Looking for forward to using this …


The Ultimate Complete Final Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet.

Skull Features

When I was about 15 my best friend Sarah and I spent quite a lot of time playing the current craze that was Trivial Pursuit – while playing her dad’s old 1970’s rock records, which I now realise was another sort of education.

So one day we were sitting playing yet another game – my favourite cheeses were green (science), blue or pink – and she liked blue or orange, but preferably blue – geography. She knew all the capital cities, lakes, major rivers etc. We were both a bit precocious and didn’t like when we got questions wrong, which made us competitive, but we were pretty equal so the games usually went along quickly and amicably.

One occasion sticks in my mind though – Skull Features.

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Notes from Lindisfarne trip 18-11-12

I love Holy Island [near Berwick-upon-Tweed, AKA Lindisfarne].

I used to live in the area and was a regular visitor then, but I fell in love with it during a visit many years earlier with friends. Over the years, over repeated visits, I keep discovering new places – something still surprising considering the place only covers about 2 square miles.

Last Sunday, we travelled early to catch sunrise at the tidal causeway.  The weather was expected to be calm, clear and cold, so we were both wrapped up in several layers. Parking at the causeway carpark, we walked as far as we could across the causeway (photo).  Brian set up his tripod & took photos.

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