Monikers for Machines

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For those of you who follow this blog, you know that I have a tendency to befriend and then give human names to non-human devices/equipment/machines. I do believe that they have personalities of their own. You may recall my early battles with Siri, my iPhone “virtual assistant” (see “Seriously, Siri?” (

She and I got off to a rocky start and things have not really improved all that much since then. I think Siri will give me the right answer approximately 35% of the time. If I curse at her, she comes back with a very  clipped “Now, now!” and once when I was desperate for directions when in a rental car without GPS I called her the word that starts with “B” and rhymes with “itch” and she responded “If you say so.” I have considered going into counseling with her to smooth over out our differences but I’ve yet to find someone whose qualifications include being able to mediate with a machine.

Speaking of GPS, I’ve always named mine. My Japanese made cars had “Yoishi” giving me directions (I think I made that up; I’m not even sure if it’s a real name) and the first German one had “Brunehilde” (she would always order me: “You will make a legal U-turn”…”You must turn right in 300 yards” etc.) and Black Beauty’s voice is attached to some one I call ”Helga”…I had a friend named Helga and she was one of the smartest, sweetest people I knew and it just seemed appropriate for Black Beauty. Although “Helga” is every bit as bossy as “Brunehilde.”  An aside here: My best friend, Delia, has a GPS called “Greta”…Greta was responsible for us getting horribly lost during a visit to New York last December and I have not spoken to her since. Not Delia, Greta. She is banned from any vehicle I am operating.

Then there is my computer, “Christine”…not anything like Stephen King’s car.  Although there are times I think it is possessed. I will save something to the Desktop then go to find it and it’s not there. I’ll use that little “search puppy” and inevitably Fido tells me it’s on the Desktop, so I’ll send him back to his “doghouse” and go back to the main screen again and it is still not there. I almost always wind up shutting the whole computer down and restarting it and then it shows up. This is when I refer to my PC as being “Cranky Christine.”

My iPad has a life all its own and is the most well-behaved of all my personal devices. “Isabella” boots up in lightning speed, finds things for me without hesitation and has provided hours of entertainment in the way of reading, games and even Netflix. All this despite the fact that she is subjected to windy beaches, airport x-ray machines and frequently being left on somewhere while I run off to do something for “just a minute” that turns into an hour or so. I sometimes think she is my best friend (how sad a life do I have?) because she is always there when I need her!

I won’t even go into why my single-cup coffee machine is called “Ken” and the vacuum is “Vincenza.”

I’m thinking of buying an electric toothbrush. What do you think of “Fang” as a name for that?

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