From Firstborns to Chewbacca in between matzo ball soup and matzo munchies

Who says there are no benefits to blogging? If it wasn’t for my participation over at Crooked Timber then I would never have met Matt Gordon and would never have been invited to his wonderful Seder last night. Thanks, Matt!

We talked about lots of things, among them how most Haggadahs lack enough information for a newcomer to really get the Passover story while making the central role of He Who Has No Name unmistakable (even while the rest of the story might remain a bit blurry and I don’t just mean because of the amount of wine consumed).

But we also talked about other things, for example: how one comes to name machines in one’s lab. Perhaps not surprising given my previous post, the machines in my lab have Star Wars references. This idea dates back to the machines in the offices of one of my college mentors: Joe had a big black Next machine that was called Darth and the little white Mac I used was called Yoda. So when I started populating my lab with machines I named the white one Yoda and the two black ones Darth and Vader.

Thanks to recent expansions, I’ve been buying additional hardware so I’ve had to come up with new names. I finalized these yesterday: the iMac is R2-D2, the new Dell desktop is Chewbacca and the two ThinkPads are Han Solo and Falcon. (Jacob will be happy to note that these are all real Star Wars characters.)

I’m curious: what names do other people give machines in their labs? This is not about being silly, by the way. It becomes incredibly tedious to talk about “the computer that’s next to the back wall near the printer” so having names serves an important function.

Regarding the Passover meal, the food was wonderful all around. Thanks to Matt’s friend Love for bringing some great matzo munchies, a treat I’d never tried before. Matt’s (and CC’s) cooking was awesome, too, as was the flourless chocolate cake by another guest Lisa.

4 Responses to “From Firstborns to Chewbacca in between matzo ball soup and matzo munchies”

  1. cmh Says:

    My SO’s home machines are Marcus, Lennier, Londo and Zathras, and I used to have laptops named Susan (Ivanova) and Delenn.

    A couple years back I helped devise a naming scheme for all the printers on our floor at work. Previously, the networking department had assigned cryptic sets of numbers and letters to all printers, with the suffix “IS” for Information Systems, where we were located. We did a dictionary search for interesting words ending in “IS” and came up with Acropolis, Borealis (the color printer, of course), Genesis, Haggis and Praxis. “Dukakis” was rejected by management…. 😉

  2. eszter Says:

    CMH- love that approach, looking for words ending in “IS”, excellent!

  3. Dan Myers Says:

    Ours are named after Sesame Street characters. I think the idea might have been to help prevent people from abusing the machines–but I never imagined people could get that mad at Elmo.

  4. scott Says:

    A few years ago part of my job was sys admining the two servers for the university newspaper publishing system. Looking around the data center at all the names other boxes had, one thing struck me: aside from the odd greek goddess, no women. Hence Stanton and Anthony were born. Pretty much nobody got it. Oh well.