How I decided what to call my home on the Internet
Seldom Logical
Friday, 02 May 2008 00:18 Hrs
❝ How I decided what to call my home on the Internet.

I live in a nice home. My web equivalent is not so lucky. Nothing more than a cardboard box lying in a muddy ditch in the middle of the road. It’s time to name a new home.

I guess I could do the logical thing and use my own name. Ask yourself, ‟is naming a site after yourself the only way others can find what you create? How many times have you read something and successfully located it the next day? Next week, next year?” You could wrack your brains trying to remember. With a persons name you might misspell it the first time. But the second time? Next time you would probably use Google. Google will remember and find it for you? ...

All 10,000 of them.

Sure this is an unrealistic example. Names might be unique in your home town. But on the Internet everything changes. On the Internet, everyone has the name equivalent of a John Smith.[0] It really is better to choose a unique name. Besides, why would I want to name something using someone else―s choice? I didn’t get a say in my own name. So that brings me to the title, ‟Seldom logical”. I stumbled on it as the title sort of suggests. Not by using my inner Spock-like logic, but through human blunder. I didn’t use grep on /usr/dict/words as Andrew Tridgell did with Samba [1]. Instead I ran through fortune [2] in a bash shell a few times and stumbled on a Star Trek quote:

❝ Life and death are seldom logical. But attaining a desired goal always is. — McCoy and Spock, ‟The Galileo Seven’, stardate 2821.7 [3]

By chance I happened to watch this episode earlier in the year. Spock, Bones and Scotty and a boarding party are marooned on the surface of Murasaki 312 after loosing contact with the Enterprise. Spock is in command. And only by the skin of his teeth successfully escapes the planet with crew intact. But not before blundering through various scenarios using pure logic. Succeeding in the end only by making one final illogical, but human choice.

❝ The idea that we are all illogical beings, trying to be ‟totally rational” is nicely captured in the title.

It neatly sums up what happens when I try to write down some problem. [4] The journey might not be a logical one. But the search for clarity is.


[0] Google returns some 23,200,000 when searching for John Smith. I chose John Smith because it is a common generic name.

[1] Samba: Tridgell wanted to distribute his new software as SMB Server but a product already existed with this name. Instead he tried: ‟grep -i 's.m.b' /usr/dict/words and the result was ‟salmonberry samba sawtimber scramble”

[2] Fortune is a simple UNIX based program that displays random witty messages.

[3] Star Trek: ‟The Galileo Seven”, season 1, episode 16, first aired January 5, 1967

[3] I butchered the title and quotation for my own byline, the title stays.


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