Wednesday, January 21, 2015

What is in a name?

Today, during lunch break, I took a walk around a marina.  I could see the names on a few of the sailboats. Names like "Swell Dancer" and "Knot to Worry". The ones that are puns are fun but I am not sure what to make of "Straightjacket".  All this got me thinking about names. I am always amazed at how people come up with names.

Apparently, a part of choosing my first name came from asking the teenager across the street "do you like your name?"  My middle name has a family connection and the result gives me the same initials as my Mother.  I have no complaints.

I am usually a real bore when it comes to naming computers at home.  laptop1 and server2 are not the most creative things.  I once used a series of names from the DragonRiders of Pern book series. Back when a server farm was small, I saw a lot of Disney or WB or Star Wars or Star Trek themes.  I do not know that these are still considered as "professional" choices.  Couple that "professionalism" with the size of datacenters and temporary condition of virtual servers, a rack location or numbered purpose is much more common.

Pets are hard for me.  There is a desire to include some personality trait.  My first cat acquired her name from an activity I was involved in at the time that she found me. My current cats are litter mates and their names have a relationship to each other.  Some days I really wish I had swapped their names.  I had a friend who got a Dutch Shepard pup.  Those breeders have a tradition that all the pups in the first litter have names that start with "A", the second litter of pups get names starting with "B", etc.  This would make it easier for me.

When I got involved with Fedora the method of naming releases involved choosing a name that has some relationship to the previous version's code name. While I never came up with any names to submit, I did have some fun trying to come up with some ideas.

Luckily my biggest naming challenges these days involve giving meaningful but catchy titles to conference abstract submissions.