| Thursday May 26th 2016

Choosing a Name for Your Computer

Here’s a FAQ on how to name your computer from 1990. Follow the link at the bottom to read all the “tips.”

Avoid alternate spellings.

Once we called a machine “czek”. In discussion, people
continually thought we were talking about a machine called
“check”. Indeed, “czek” isn’t even a word (although “Czech”

Purposely incorrect (but cute) spellings also tend to annoy a
large subset of people. Also, people who have learned English
as a second language often question their own knowledge upon
seeing a word that they know but spelled differently. (“I
guess I’ve always been spelling “funxion” incorrectly. How

By now you may be saying to yourself, “This is all very
silly…people who have to know how to spell a name will learn
it and that’s that.” While it is true that some people will
learn the spelling, it will eventually cause problems

For example, one day a machine named “pythagoris” (sic) went
awry and began sending a tremendous number of messages to the
site administrator’s computer. The administrator, who wasn’t a
very good speller to begin with, had never seen this machine
before (someone else had set it up and named it), but he had to
deal with it since it was clogging up the network as well as
bogging down his own machine which was logging all the errors.
Needless to say, he had to look it up every time he needed to
spell “pythagoris”. (He suspected there was an abbreviation,
but he would have had to log into yet another computer (the
local nameserver) to find out and the network was too jammed to
waste time doing that.)


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