(WHTM) — Name Your PC Day is one of those mystery occasions. We celebrate it every Nov. 20, and it’s been going on for years, but so far the origin point — a time and place where someone said “Hey, let’s do this!” — remains elusive. Maybe nobody wants to take credit for it.
And why just Windows-based personal computers (PCs)? Why not a day to give names to Apple computers, Chromebooks, tablets, or even cell phones? Special days for naming any of them are also, so far, unfound in this abc27 digital reporter’s searches. So let’s be inclusive and lump them all in under Name Your PC Day.
Giving things names is a custom that’s probably been around since some early caveman decided his favorite club deserved to be called something more than just “Club.” Over the ages, human beings have given personal names to all manner of inanimate objects, from swords to scissors to sickles to ships.
And computers, due to their unique capacities for interacting with a user, are far less inanimate than other inanimate objects. Certainly, people spend a lot of time communing with computers, often more than with fellow humans. So why shouldn’t they be on a first-name basis?
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So how do you go about naming a computer? This is a chance to use your imagination. Name it after a beloved family member (or unbeloved family member, depending on how well it’s working), a family pet, or maybe some famous historic or fictional individual (human or otherwise).
There are a lot of names in computer history you can consider, such as Ada Lovelace, the first programmer; Charles Babbage, designer of the Difference Engine, an early mechanical computer; Alan Turing, a programming pioneer; and Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, U.S.N., inventor of the compiler, which enables programmers to program in words instead of machine code.
The computer industry has spawned a lot of names, ripe for use as your machine’s “nom de petabyte.” You can probably find a good one the next time you sort through that pile of boxes you’ve held on to, long after the pieces of hardware in them have been scrapped.
Depending on how your interactions with your brain-in-a-box are going, you may want to give your computer two names — a socially palatable name for when you’re mixing with other people, and a shut-the-door-close-the-windows name for when you desperately need to vent.
It may be noted that giving a computer a name is different from “renaming” a computer. Every computer comes with a name out of the box, but it’s a utilitarian name, meant to give it an identity on a network or the internet. Frequently, it’s not even a proper word, but a mix of letters and numbers. You can go into the computer settings and change this name, but this is usually done for security reasons or to more easily pick out one device from a long network list of COMP-1, COMP-2, COMP-3, COMP-4, ad infinitum.