Don't call me Ishmael

Choosing a name for your new PC

The 10 key rules for naming computers and stuff

Rule 1: (In the Python manner) Naaaaaaaaah hobbits!

Rule 2: An enlargement and clarification of rule 1. We mean not only no Frodo, no Bilbo, no Merry, no Pippin, no Marmadoc Brandybuck, nor Adalgrim Took, nor Lobelia (Bracegirdle) Sackville-Baggins; we also mean no Gandalf, no Gollum, no Preciousss, no Treebeard, no Sauron, no Glóin son of Gróin nor yet Glóin son of Thorin, even if your network does support mixed case, UTF-8 and spaces in its names. The ban also implies no Eöl, no Rohirrim, no Melkor, no Mordor, no Sindarin, no Eleventy-first birthdays and definitely, absolutely, certainly no Tom bloody Bombadil.

Curiously, however, 'Tolkein' is quite a good name for a server.

Rule 3: As with dogs and humans, so, mysteriously, with PCs and peripherals. 'Brian' is not really a PC's name, but is quite acceptable for printer or scanner, whereas 'Jonathan' is obviously a silly name for a Laserjet but is quite viable as a little LAMP intranet machine.

Rule 4: Don't be too cute. Specifically, don't borrow from fictional computers. It was done to death 20 years since. If you call the first octo-core 64-bit machine on the premises 'Hal9k' or 'DeepThort', you will a) hereafter experience a whiff of irritation every time you need to connect to it and b) advertise your lack of imagination to your colleagues.

Another example of excessive cuteness is the dodge of calling a file server 'Jeeves' or 'Bunter' (server nearly equals servant, geddit?). Sorry about that, guys.

Rule 5: In the absence of any other pointer, and frankly to my irritation, Windows PCs are boys, and possibly a bit common, whereas Macs are girls, and distinctly posh. A MacBook Air is much more likely to be a Felicity than a Wayne. Presumably this is because frilly-girly Macs are supposedly filled with sugar and spice and all things nice. Grrrr. So much for emancipation. To think Emmeline and Germaine died for this. Yes you do; they were the G4s we slung out the year before last.

Linux machines are a bit androgynous, and should be named in a non-committal manner, for example 'Hilary', 'Evelyn', 'Vivian' or 'Kim'.

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