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kris

Do you give your computer a name?

I've had a computer for over twenty years now, and I remember when it was de rigeur to always give your machine a nickname—maybe after your favorite sci-fi or cartoon character, or maybe even a beloved relative. Now we might replace our devices on a yearly basis, and it seems silly to give them names since, after all, why get sentimental about something that's going to be replaced in short time for something slightly better?

I don't replace my devices that often, though, and as I consider purchasing a new laptop for myself I found myself wondering what name I would give it.

Past names I've given computers and other devices:
  • My first computer, a homebrew PC: "Lucy", after Lucille Ball, because it was whiny and temperamental
  • An HP machine that was salvaged by my cousin for me: "Navi", after the computers from Serial Experiments Lain
  • Another homebrew PC in a silver case: "Platina", after the character from Valkyrie Profile
  • My red Acer netbook: "Boomer", after Captain Boomerang Jr. from the Flash comics (The issue where he died was published the same day I got this machine)
  • My current Sony VAIO: "Nightwing", after the Batman character, 'cause it's blue
In fact, all of the machines in our house right now have DC-related names, including our PlayStation 3 (OMAC). Though, since we've stopped reading DC titles we're going to have to start looking elsewhere for inspiration.

Do you still name any of your devices—laptops, desktops, maybe even printers and routers? Do you have a system for those names, even? Or do you prefer to keep your relationship cold, professional, and anonymous?

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73 replies
baileylo

I name mine off food on mexican food restaurants, specifically Chipotle. I believe my desktop is named "barbacoa".
5 like dislike
dave

I'm totally naming my NAS Four-by-Four Animal Style
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izzotheschizo

Damn, I know what you are saying and I live in chicago. aint no In and Out here.
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Dignan17

I've always renamed my computers out of necessity. When you have a network of a half-dozen devices or more, figuring out which one is which is pretty hard when they're all using their default naming conventions.

Because I'm a dork, my naming convention is to use the names of Dharma Initiative stations from Lost. Yeah, pretty nerdy. My wireless network is just called "The_Island," and my guest network is "Oceanic_815" (which I think is pretty funny).

It's not like I'm the world's biggest Lost fan, either. I like the show a lot, but I mostly thought the station names made for a pretty good convention. Plus it was something nerdy I could use that my wife would like too. If it were up to me, I'd probably choose a naming convention based on the cities and towns in Avatar: The Last Airbender :)
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Dignan17

I should give a few more specifics:

My main desktop is "The Pearl"
My wife's old desktop was "The Orchid" (she thought it was the prettiest of the names)
My work laptop is "The Arrow"
My Vulkano (Slingbox competitor) is called "The Flame"

...and I can't remember the others right now.
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frankspin

Dharma stations are definitely a good choice.
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qyiet

My PCs are named after AIs from fiction.

Examples include:
HAL (AI from 2001 a space odyssey)
AMY (robot from Red Planet)
EDDIE (shipboard computer from the heart of gold, hitchhikers guide)
Mother
Father (the ship/station computers from the alien movies)
HK47 (a protocol droid from the KotOR game)
GlaDOS (a helpful research AI from Portal)

Phones tend to be smaller AIs/Robots from fiction
MOP (the shipboard droid that cleaned things from wall-e)
MOUSE (the random small droids from start wars)
3 like dislike
dotEvan

When I first started networking my parent's place, I named the Windows Workgroup GALAXY and then the computer names followed easily for my own, my father's and mother's computers: mercury, mars and venus. The router was put into dns as thesun.

In general, I keep the same names for my primary computers, even when I get new ones. The old computer will usually just get retired, and the new computer will pick up the old name. I think this is the 4th iteration of mercury that I've had.

I've named my 15" laptops cygnus and the 13" laptop beaker.
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dave

Mercury IV
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raptorck

I've started to back off of that, if only because I had themed names for a while. I'm going to need to change the themes as time goes on.

Desktops and servers: Named after mythological figures.
Laptops: Birds of prey.
Handheld devices: Songbirds.
My shiny new Windows 8 tablet goes by LCARS, if only because I didn't want to call it PADD. (It's totally a PADD.)
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frankspin

I name mine off of Transformers.

At a previous job everything was based on the building and room numbers for sanity sake. No one wanted to track down "RandoDesktop", using building names+room number was just easier. Servers had names but again it just made everything a mess when trying to manage.
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Dignan17

Yeah, in the two corporate worlds I've been in we had similar naming conventions for the desktops. I was in one place that had at least 400 computers, so giving them cute or random names were both out. I can't remember how we named them, though, since there weren't really room numbers for several of the locations in the building. I think we might just have had a very detailed and up to date inventory system combined with numerical naming.
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frankspin

Before I worked at my previous job someone was naming the servers after different scientific events, planets, and constellations. It made it a pita to quickly identify what a server did.
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dave

"The Big Bang is acting up again!"
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frankspin

Believe it or not we had one called Tunguska
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dave

Haha, oh dear. And now you can add Chelyabinsk to that list too.

Though, I think it's bad form to name your devices after potentially devastating events -- and not just for the taste issue. I think you're giving the universe permission for this particular device to be a PITA.
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Dignan17

Haha, so true. Might as well name one of them "Solar flare."
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frankspin

If we ever do an event in DC please remind me to tell you the horror stories of the infrastructure.
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Dignan17

If you guys ever do an event in DC I'll be the first one in line! I actually went to the first (and last) Engadget meet up in DC YEARS ago (around 2005). In the Peter/Ryan days. It was at this little DC club that isn't even there anymore :)

...and I love hearing IT horror stories!
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kris

When I started at Pokémon I noticed that all the printers were named after Pikachu evolutions: our floor's was "Raichu"
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MariellaMoon

I named my first PC "Noname" pronounced as a Japanese name (No-na-me).

My current desktop's name is Noname the third, and my laptop's name is Maki-chan.
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jjmiv

i sort of use mobile suit gundam wing mechs. Gateway desktop (2008 - has since received more RAM and an SSD) - Wing Zero, webservers (several over years) - heavy arms, compaq laptop (since decommissioned) - sandrock. i plan on building a custom pc for gaming and virtualization, not sure what name i will use!
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frankspin

Great show!
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dave

I give my home computers ridiculous Latin names -- I'm not sure why I ever started doing that, but it's been fun.

Desktop Gaming PC: Monstrum
Mac mini: Meditatus
Old Macbook Air: Consulo

Of course, my work computers have no rhyme or reason to them. One is Schuey. Another that I had was previously used by someone else and remains, "Anne N's Computer." Hey, whatever.
1 like dislike
dave

Also, I love this topic. We also visited this way back in 2010! There were a lot of interesting naming schemes that people come up with. I love it! www.engadget.com­/discuss­/do­-you­-name­-your­-computer...
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kineticartist

we always name our devices because we have so many laptops desktops iPhones and androids each person in the family names their stuff as they will I always go with Greek Gods or SciFi my current PC is Apollo and as I build new PCs I will do enumeration of each current generation so the next PC I build will be Apollo2 I also name my Hard disks after greek monsters or the TITANS
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dave

I like the nod to Greek Gods. Though as a huge fan of spaaaace, this doubly applies to our various space programs as well. I'll have to adopt that at some point.
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raptorck

Space, nothing. My web server was Arachne, my original gaming system was Thanatos (due to my fragcounts), then Helios (due to the heat output, of course,) my DNS servers were Castor and Pollux, and it goes on.

You can have a lot of fun digging just under the surface of mythology. Everyone's got a Zeus or a Hades. Go a little deeper and you get the really cool stuff.
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kineticartist

we do our servers can vary depending on their location or who is paying for it like our Texas one is Lonestar my personal Hi velocity server is locutus (because Im out there and so borg) and our 3rd server is golden eye because Its a very james bond kinda deal
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kineticartist

heh well said I did it originally before LOST and the greek God and monsters gave me plenty to choose from although mexican food convention is pretty tasty...
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Swordrune10

my is named from Greek mythology..
main desktop: Apollo, since we play movies and music from it
first laptop: Icarus, since it was stable but I messed with it a lot and it ended up breaking
router: Athena, for obvious reasons
when I turn on Wi-Fi tethering on my phone: Hermes, since it's dispersing internet
my ps3: Cerberus, since it sounds like a gaming thing anyways lol
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bing

cerberus was a great name, i named a firewall that once - guarding hell!
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L422Y

I always name based on elements, minerals etc. Xenon, Neon, Hematite
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groovechicken

I have never named any of my machines because I am a realist and don't expect to have them long enough (whether by hardware failure or upgrade) to really get attached. The nearest thing I have come to naming any of them is that I finally had my netbook long enough that I started putting stickers on it. That thing has been rocking since the Summer of 2007 and is still going strong, so I probably ought to name it after all it has been through. :)

As to what hostnames I assign them when I set them up, I usually just name them after their model number. So that netbook's hostname is simply AOA110. At work, we usually just assign hostnames the same as the user's email address username. Servers get named by their role since we don't have many servers.
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izzotheschizo

I have to be really excited about a build to name it. Where on earth did you find a decent netbook?
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akasmartha

my router : use galaxy name (like andromeda, omegacentauri, dll) or animals name.
my server : name it after stars or constellation or Greek Gods
my pc /gadget : stardust / stargazer
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crandrix

My Laptop: Chewbacca
My old PC: Karen (Like Planton's wife from Sponge Bob Square Pants) hahahaha
My Xperia Z: Link
Router: Avocados
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jwkicklighter

My computers are all parts of the solar system, based off of the device's size. Server: Sol. Gaming computer: Mars (because it's an Alienware, martians....), Desktop: Jupiter. Netbook: Pluto.

My portable devices are usually a play on Apple products. Since my name begins with a 'j', I replace the 'i' with a 'j'. (e.g. jPhone, jPad, etc.) Slightly ironic since I have a Nexus 4.
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dgsdgdf

Last year, I started naming my devices after characters from Twin Peaks.

My Debian desktop is "dale", my Macbook Air is "audrey", my Nexus 4 is "hawk", my Nexus 7 is "harry", my Windows desktop is "bob", and my OpenBSD server is "leland".
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frankspin

THAT.IS.AMAZING!

As a recent viewer of Twin Peaks I've found myself enamored with every character and story line.
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izzotheschizo

wait till you see the series finale
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izzotheschizo

okay you win, you have the most stuff.
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jubjub3000

In an enterprise environment, I believe a boring system of naming is needed. Try to keep the name short and the information the name conveys relevant to its major attribute/s and purpose (M=Mobile device, D=Desktop, S=Server, P=Printer, etc). For personal devices, a creative touch is permissible. When my laptop was a Windows 7 computer, I had named it FeatherWeight (it's a great little Lenovo X120e with an AMD E350 APU). When I upgraded my Lenovo X120e with a clean install of Windows 8 Pro, I named it FigureEight. When I set up a Lenovo X131e which has a green LED that glows when the Wireless NIC (Network Interface Card) is turned on I decided to name it GlowBug. I recently set up a computer for a friend and named the computer "Lakdiva" (the computer was a Lenovo U510. One of the criteria was it needed to be pretty). Lakdiva seems to be an ancient name for Sri Lanka. I don't remember why I selected Lakdiva as a name. Maybe Sri Lanka was in the world news that day (interesting info: srilankanheritage.com/ ). My routers have names too, but I'd rather not detail that information. SSID's of the WiFi signals too.
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RapidPauly

Simpsons characters! Flanders, Selma, Smithers...
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fozzybear

Or even better Family Guy characters!
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MACRM32

The only PC I ever named was my first one. I named it "My Precious" because it was my first computer, and later on on its life cycle I renamed it "Punching Box" because of the beatings it took to work properly.
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Datamonger

All of my computing devices are named after anime characters. I've been using this theme since 2007.

Early 2011 MacBook Pro - Torako, after Kageyama Torako from the anime Hyakko
IBM ThinkPad T40 - Yohko, after Mano Yohko from the anime Devil Hunter Yohko
Self-built PC - Megumi, after the singer who provided the voice of the GUMI Vocaloid character, Nakajima Megumi
iPad 2 - Index, after Index from the anime Toaru Majutsu no Index

The only exception would be my Power Mac G5, which is named Karen after Plankton's supercomputer in the cartoon Spongebob Squarepants.
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ABrooke

Technology from Neal Stephenson novels. Some examples:
  • Rat thing - Snow crash
  • Reason - Snow crash
  • Jeejah - Anathem
  • Bolt - Anathem
  • Reticulum - Anathem
  • The Primer - The Diamond Age
1 like dislike
cjtylr

When I only had one computer I named it after my dog, Putter. As I graduated to more computers and devices, I started a naming scheme with my initials "CJT," a hyphen, and then the type of device. So, right now, I'm on CJT-DESKTOP. I also have CJT-LAPTOP, CJT-IPHONE, etc.

Makes it very easy to identify them when they're all on the same network.
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dave

I always thought it'd be fun* to randomly name a bunch of computers after animals and set up custom ICMP echo responses based on the onomatopoeic sounds that animals make.

i.e.,
DOG would send "Response from server: WOOF WOOF!"
CHICKEN would send "Response from server: CLUCK-CLUCK-CLUCK!"

*fun: Most people probably wouldn't consider this fun. I'm weird.
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