Computers on a local network are given names so they can be addressed individually without the need to use long, arbitrary strings of digits. Clever sysadmins like to use a theme for those names, and the artificial clans that result can sometimes be quite entertaining. Over the years I've met nets with sets of processors named after semiprecious stones (topaz, agate, opal, ...), kitchen applicances (mixmaster, amana, cuisinart, ...), Shakespearean characters (titania, hamlet, cordelia, ...), dances (polka, waltz, tango, ...), and so forth. When I was on that last LAN, I requested that my CPU be "macabre" — as in "danse macabre", the dance of death. The administrator wrinkled her brow and complied.

But my favorite set of host names was described to me a decade or so by Robert Chassell, then of the Free Software Foundation. Boxes on the FSF network, he said, were at times christened after fictional breakfast foods: Apple-Gunkies, Sugar-Bombs, Nutrimat, ...

(see also NamingNames (10 Oct 1999), ParaMode (9 May 2000), TrueNames (16 Oct 2003), ... )

TopicHumor - TopicProgramming - TopicPersonalHistory - 2004-10-12

(correlates: ChatTuringTest, MysteryDot, FutureSymp, ...)