Hello, I'm Mr. Null.
My name makes me invisible to computers. [more inside]
Do You Prefer "Native American" or "American Indian"? 6 Prominent Voices Respond
"Wherever I go, from the reservation to the city, through the halls of academia, from younger to older, to the grassroots, and in social media, I hear numerous discussions and debates around how people choose to identify with certain references, e.g., which word is the most appropriate: Native American? Native? Indian? American Indian? Indigenous? My task here was to ask several friends and people whom I (and many others) admire what reference they feel most comfortable with."
"On July 14, NASA’s New Horizons
spacecraft will fly past Pluto, offering the first close-up look at that small, distant world and its largest moon, Charon. These denizens of the outer solar system will be transformed from poorly seen, hazy bodies to tangible worlds with distinct features." Who gets to name those features? You do.
Via Bad Astronomy
World-renowned British graphic designer Neville Brody rebrands his studio "Research Studios" as "Brody Associates"
after around 20 years of doing business. Reason? Clients misunderstood the services of the studio under its old name. [more inside]
"For any given profession, it turns out that there are certain names that appear more often in that profession than in the general population. Here's a chart with 6 of the names that are the most disproportionately common in 37 professions.
" [more inside]
Tobias Frere-Jones (creator of the Gotham
typeface) explores the history of font names
. [more inside]
Smells can be very hard to identify and name
, unless you are given some prompting
- or you speak Jahai
, the language of an indigenous group in the Malay peninsula.
Web2.Hell collected the names and taglines of real web2.0 start-ups that somehow were actually funded.
"Remember Nothing! Zukmo Everything!" "Unlike on other sites, your posts must be one word long!" (The phenomena of baffling name choice lives on in current day successes like Snotr, LiveMocha, Magoosh, Squidoo etc., etc., etc.)
Back in the day, Ken Segall helped create Apple's Think Different campaign
and helped name the iMac
. More recently he worked on JC Penney's Yours Truly
, commercial, before JCP ousted Ron Johnson as its CEO. He writes a sharp, entertaining blog called Ken Segall's Observatory
, where he offers opinions on advertising and design geekery. His take on Ron Johnson's failure
is interesting, as is this post
on what it takes for an advertisement to stand out in a crowd. He calls attention to surprisingly decent ads from Microsoft
, critiques terrible ads (from Microsoft
and JC Penney
and even Apple
, and comments on whether skeuomorphism has its advantages
. He's also fond
of discussing product names
. Give this one a skip if advertising gives you hives, but for those of you who're interested in things like this Segall's blog is especially choice stuff.
A good naming scheme
is scalable, unique, and easy to remember. The purpose of these naming schemes is to name networked servers, wireless access points or client computers, but it can also be used to name projects, products, variables, streets, pets, kids, or any other project where unique names and rememberable names are required.
Before naming your startup, read this.
"This guide is divided into three, independent sections: Why Bad Names Hurt You, Coming Up With Names, and Examples of Strong and Weak Names." [more inside]
Why leave name choosing to the whim of marketing consultants, grandparents and significant others? Wordoid
will name your company or designer drug so as to sound natural in a range of languages. Wordmixer
may help too. Babynamegenie
will conjure up a tag for your offspring. This dog name generator
accounts for your pet's size and physique. FakenameGenerator (see previously)
will surround you with credible sounding friends and colleagues. Thenameinspector
blog may be able to help with find something unique
Rename the VLA (Very Large Array)!
The famous desert radio telescope, made of a bunch of independently movable giant satellite dishes, has just finished a ten-year upgrade and they're holding a contest to pick a new name in celebration. Deadline December 1. (via Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy, which mentions another naming contest, for schoolkids in the US to pick a name for the GRAIL satellites)
Thousands of new products and businesses every year need names. The creation of these names, is a business in itself, and is usually a pretty secretive process. But Igor
, a naming and branding agency, offers a surprisingly detailed and illuminating primer on the naming game. Igor describes how they do it
and who they’ve done it for
. Igor’s naming taxonomy charts
for various products (including one for the company names of naming companies
) help illustrate the research portion of the process. Check out: studies of successful names like Pepperidge Farm’s cookie names
, and why AT&T Canada’s name change to Allstream was a bad idea
. And don’t miss Igor’s two blogs (metablogged here
): Snark Hunting
, “all about naming and branding in popular culture” and Wordlab
, on “naming and branding issues.” For fun, try Wordlab’s own tongue-in-cheek naming tools
, like the Drug-o-matic drug name generator, Name Your Band, and the Morpheme generator.
+2. Two new moons of Pluto (itself named by a British schoolgirl
) get their own names
. The origins of planetary names can be fascinating
, but there are also thousands of other named features that can be examined (with pictures) in the Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature
. [Prev. discussion on Pluto here.]
Some towns just have bad names.
Kennedy Fried Chicken, JFK Fried Chicken, J. F. Kennedy Fried Chicken, Kantacky Fried Chicken
, et al. [via cardhouse]
To add to the recent JapanFilter phenom
, here are two unrelated items: a brief tutorial on using Japanese commodes
, and a list of Japanese car names
. Interested in buying a Nissan Homy
? A Mitsubishi Bravo Exceed
The name "Firebird"
was chosen by Mozilla to rename their Phoenix
product. However, Firebird is also the name of a popular and long-standing open-source database
project -- and the Mozilla organization was clearly aware
of this naming conflict before making their decision. Some
feel that such an action, within the context of the open-source community, is unfair and constitutes bad etiquette, at the least. The discussion is ongoing
, but LinuxWorld reports that the Mozilla organization has deleted recent message-board comments that criticized their decision.
The Name Game
Valley Creek Farms "solicits help from clever people each year to help name their young horses." If you consider yourself a gifted wordsmith with a knack for penning equine monikers that will get the bugs
a buzzin' and make the farrier
smile, this is your chance to take the reins. But it's not easy
. The rules are extensive
and your choice may already be taken
. But with luck, you may one day hear your literary masterpiece
of 18 letters or less roll off the caller's tongue and become part of thoroughbred history
What's with that tacky ass name?
A coffee shop
which opened in a rather prominent area of the city in which I reside has started a little controversy here. Turns out the shop's name has created a fair amount of controversy elsewhere
. How long until the f-word shows up in prominent signage across America? Meantime, what's the wildest or tackiest name for a business you've ever heard? Any ideas for potential businesses with "cuss" word-oriented names? Is there a possible trend in there somewhere?
Fido, Spot or Rover are mere nicknames for show dogs. This site
explains the long show dog names, most popular names
, and CNN's Jeanne Moos reports
Meanwhile, Back in Communist Russia...
BBC Radio1 clowns/idiots Mark and Lard have an ongoing quest to find the worst band name ever
. Personally I think some of the bands in the poll have the best
names. What makes a crap band name? Something unimaginative like The Michael Schenker Group
? Something crass like Speculum Fight
or Alien Porno Midgets
? What, for that matter, makes a good name? Do tell.
KPMG Consulting is now BearingPoint
"Employees briefly rallied behind the chief executive's surname, Blazer, but that's also the name of a Chevrolet sport-utility vehicle. The name BearingPoint is based on navigational terms that signify 'setting a direction to an end point,' the company said." It seems like this one's going to last a bit longer than Monday
It's big, it's bad, and it's coming your way. Beware Bonnie! No, no, wait. Hide from Hanna! Hmm, nope. Run from Rene! Geez, this naming thing
isn't easy. How do you name a tropical storm
? Should the name be masculine or feminine? Should it roll off the tongue with ease or be a mouthful? Are there some names you can't use
? If a tropical storm was closing in on your neighborhood, what would you
Another unfortunate product naming problem
(2 links). How would you like your last name to be the same as an upcoming Erectile Dysfunction drug? This family doesn't.
A Rose Is A Rose Is A Not A Good Name For Your Daughter:
What's in a name? A lot, apparently. Find out at the hilarious Institute for Naming Children Humanely
. Still not convinced? Check out the hidden meaning of your name, nickname and cybername at the wacky Kabalarian
web site. [First link via utterly linkalicious pelp]
What's it like to be born a sellout?
Two parents not only expecting a new child, but expecting a corporate donor to give them half a million dollars
for the naming rights to their son. Their ebay listing
claims it's for the child's education, though the article says they're looking to buy a new home. And if you actually think naming your offspring "Aaa-Oh-El" is a good idea and would like to copy it, too late, the imitators
have already sprung up
First, National Airport was renamed for him. Then, the International Trade Center in downtown DC was christened in his honor.
Now the powers that be have named a new naval aircraft carrier the USS Reagan.
I realize people are trying to honor the old bastard. But doesn't this seem inappropriate (even rude) considering he's not quite dead yet? Or is Alzheimer's close enough? *sheesh*
Microsoft announces the product names
for the next version of Windows
. They'll be called "Windows XP" and "Office XP", respectively.
San Francisco Muni to consider naming stations after advertisers.
If you've been in SF (or any major US city) recently, you've probably noticed the buses covered with ads inside and out, the two stadiums named after corporations (all US stadiums seem to be now), and subway platforms coated in billboards. Now, they're considering selling the names of each station off to the highest bidder. Is this going too far or should a city do anything to make a buck? (I'm reminded of the book Generation X where the author jokes about rampant advertising, and how one day you'll ask your friend what time it is, and he'll simply say "Pepsi")
How you say
Duking it out with Accenture for the title of most disagreeable computer-generated faux-English corporate nomenclature de la semaine
, a company with the perfectly good name Productivity Works has gone and screwed it up by renaming itself isSound
. "Because the future
is listening," the homepage tells us. What it's listening to is all of us stammering to pronounce an unnatural string of letters. In related news, despite admitting it still works, isSound isShitcanning itsScreenReader, pwWebSpeak
Now this is really stupid.
14-year-old Francis Di Masi's petition to have his name legally changed to "Frank" because he gets teased mercilessly in school about it was rejected. The judge said in his decision that "Learning how to deal with these taunts [is] part of growing up."
My first name, family name and nicknames have always given other people trouble when it comes to spelling and pronounciation, so I know what it's like to grow up getting name-related grief every single day of your life; "tedious" doesn't even begin
to describe it.
So while I don't think "Francis" is altogether a bad name
, why shouldn't the kid get to legally call himself whatever he wants? I mean, if some moron can change his name to DotComGuy without a hitch, why not Frank?
Well, the eToys/ETOY fiasco may be over.
Although, I don't like it when their lawyers say they're not pushing the case any longer, and specifically saying they're not dropping the case. As if the threat will always be there or something.