My Computer(s)

I have owned many computers, and not all of them have had names. The Commodore 64 and BBC Micro B I grew up with didn’t ever have names. Nor do I remember giving one to the first PC my parents had (a second hand 286 IBM PS/2).

I think I’ve forgotten a few, but here are the names of the computers I have owned, named and remembered:

  • Patience (my first desktop, bought during the first year of my degree, and named after the attribute I felt I had demonstrated while selecting and purchasing it. I had a love/hate relationship with the shop, the name of which I’ve now forgotten Something Squared? M², maybe?)
  • Portaroo (my first work laptop while at IBM, a ThinkPad 760, as seen on the International Space Station). I still love this name. like Portaloo, with my nickname built into it. Oh, you got that already? Sorry).
  • Parity (so-called because I was catching up with my friend and then-housemate Cheesy, who had upgraded his machine at the same time. I think this is a photo of me building it, with Cheesy to my right and Mark sat behind me. We had a lot of fun in that house)
  • Quiss (a work desktop, named after a character in an Iain Banks novel)
  • Roochelmini (Not the best name, but Roo + Rachel’s Mini = roochelmini. The Mac Mini we had in our living room. It’s a bit poorly at the moment).
  • Rupert (a ThinkPad T42p, and now returned to the big warm blue bosom of IBM)
  • Shuttle (a Shuttle mini-ITA PC. Not very imaginative. I should have at least called it Apollo or something. It’s now significantly unwell, often taking ages to start up only to power itself down in the middle of playing a game. I have not touched it for a couple of years, but I expect that if I wanted to I’d need to replace the power supply and/or motherboard)
  • Sebastian (MacBook Pro. Bought this January. I love it. Looks a bit like this)
  • Tristan (MacBook Air. A work machine. It’s less powerful than the Pro, but so light that I love commuting with it. Looks like this, though I should grab a photo of the stickers on the lid. Notice the alphabetic sequence here? My next machine will probably have to begin with ‘U’)
  • Moby (named not after the musician, but the great white whale. Strictly speaking, I didn’t actually own this, I just borrowed it for a few weeks.

5 Comments

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  1. It was indeed M². I’d say RIP, though maybe Rot In Hell would be more apropos. Do you remember that really noisy PheeNet 100Mbit hub I got from there?

    What was the machine that ran the Quake server on NT called? I remember the linux server was ‘Frankenstein (bastard son of slave and moonshine)’

    Comment by Cheesy — December 8, 2008 #

  2. My machines are currently called, “thisone”, “thatone” and “theotherone”. It’s great when the security compliance people come round looking for those machines. Though it does get confusing when someone is looking for them on the network.

    Comment by Darren — December 8, 2008 #

  3. Cheesy: I was wondering the same thing. I remember Ray wrote labels for them and I think this is what they looked like (sadly taken before the labels were added).

    Darren: subversive.

    Comment by Roo — December 8, 2008 #

  4. Yup, those are they. I remember rearranging hardware especially so that we could have matching cases ;) You can even see that hub I mentioned, though I am disappointed you did not post this pic instead.

    I’m pretty sure that the NT box was formerly my desktop, ‘Stopout’ though I still can’t remember what we named it.

    Comment by Cheesy — December 9, 2008 #

  5. My first few named computers got their names when I connected them to my college network, and I named them all after world chess champions (three self-built mini-towers – tal, a 6×86 PC, petrosian, a dual Celeron, and lasker, an Athlon, with steinitz, a Samsung celeron laptop between the latter two). Sad, I know, but I used to be an alright chessplayer.

    By the time I’d started my PhD I’d long given up chess, but I was playing a bit of Go, so my Linux box there (a P4, I think) got called shimari, mostly because it sat in the corner; then I bought myself this machine – now my only one – birch, a 12″ PowerBook. Initially, I got it to gig with and write music on, so the tree thing’s a bit of a nod to my pseudonym (and surname), and well, if you’re naming a silver laptop after a tree…

    My postdoc came with two new work machines, which I named as a nod to the mineralogy I’d just left behind – an Intel iMac I called feldspar, and a Thinkpad (T42p, like yours, actually – and given IBM were one of my sponsors, maybe that’s no surprise!) which I named obsidian.

    That’s quite a few computers, really, isn’t it!

    Comment by Andrew — December 9, 2008 #

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