What's in a computer name?

Thursday June 08, 2006 @ 04:36 PM (UTC)

So my desktop computer, Titania, has broken down. New parts arrived via UPS this very day. I had already, since her first construction, replaced her graphics card, her RAM, and given her a new, larger hard-drive; with this upgrade she’s getting a new motherboard, a new processor, another new graphics card, and losing the old, smaller hard drive. So, in short, absolutely nothing will be original to this computer except the case and its native power supply.

So…should I rename it? I suppose it doesn’t matter in the slightest. One could have a series of completely indepent computers, all named Frank, and as long as they weren’t on the same network at the same time, I imagine no repercussions would ensue (except people thinking you dreadful dull.) However, while I think most commentators would admit the existence of some sort of ‘essence’ in a sentient being that would allow one to apply the same name to it were all its pieces replaced but its memories and personality left intact, I’ve never heard any sort of ruling on nonsentients. If Qubit were replaced tomorrow with a clone of the same age, would we feel compelled to give the new cat a new name? Should I think of a new faerie name for my zippier and completely mindwiped machine?

If so, it sure as hell isn’t going to be ‘Oberon’. Because I KNOW her gender hasn’t changed with her innards.

UPDATE: I had to run out and buy a new power-supply, but I haven’t changed her name. Yet. I’m tempted to name her ‘Promethea’ :p But I won’t. For now.


I believe a computer’s personality isn’t determined by its innards. I’ve replaced the hardware of my workstation at lest three times, while the name ‘Dozer’ has remained the same. A computer’s personality is determined by what you use it for – your relationship to it, so to speak. And besides, kids grow up, so why shouldn’t computers? You don’t change someone’s name, just because she’s reached puberty, do you? ;o)

What you are doing, to me, sounds like an upgrade. Therefore, I think that a new version of the same name (Titania 2.0) would be most appropriate.

Terry Pratchett does so assert that the name shouldn’t be changed. See “The Fifth Elephant.” I’ll read you the relevant selection when next we speak if you wish.

Hmm. The idea has merit, but ‘2.0’ is far too clinical. Perhaps she needs a different adjective for each iteration. The original can be Fair Titania; the 1st big upgrade is Peerless Titania, because she was the only desktop in my apartment; and now she can be Matchless Titania, because she boots in 9 seconds. sniff So pretty!

:) I must admit I’ve only read five or six of his books. In geek terms, that’s next to illiterate.

I believe computers don’t need names. Like people do. And whether they do or don’t, we should probably spend more time comparing the greenness of this pea to the greenness of that pea than on figuring out what to name them. K, peace out. ;)

Oh, but also: do what makes you happy. ;)

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