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Maybe we should name it 127.0.0.1? December 28, 2010

Posted by mareserinitatis in computers, societal commentary.
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People love to give inanimate objects nicknames. Mostly it seems like fun (calling your truck, or your gun, or both, Betsy). However, in the case of computers, it’s often practical so you can keep it straight when working on something beyond your own computer.

The naming conventions for computers are very random. I think that most people view computers with neutrality, so computers can take on whatever personality or trait someone wants to impose using a name.

My personal preference has been to name my computers after Greek goddesses that I liked. Given the number of computers I’ve gone through, I may have to shift mythological settings when I complete my next upgrade.

When I was at Caltech, my house had a vote on whether to call the computers something along the lines of the ‘food groups’ (caffeine, chocolate, sugar, fat and alcohol) or practical items (duct tape, towels, etc.). I can’t remember exactly how it came out, but I seem to recall the resolution being a mixture of the two (mostly practical items with caffeine thrown in).

My favorite naming scheme was the use of natural disasters: tsunami, earthquake, hurricane, etc. It would have been very appropriate if the computers were being used by my geology colleagues, but they were actually being used by a bunch of electrical and mechanic engineers.

On the other hand, our simulation computers at work have very boring names: T7400 and T7500. I lobbied extensively to name one of them ‘Computerzilla’, but it never seemed to catch on. It might be a little more fun if we at least called it something like THX1138.

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