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You May Now Call Your Computer A…


Or how about:

A Confuser… the Screen … the Box … God … HAL … or how about Abra, short for “artificial brain.”

These were among the many suggestions you wrote in response to our contest asking readers to rename the computer.

Let me say it once again: our readership is awesomely creative, smart, and funny. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Several of you made the good point that we don’t really call the computer a computer that often anymore. Already, it’s a Mac, a PC, a laptop, etc. Still, let’s keep playing along. Besides the names listed above, here are some of the other suggestions I liked:

Producer, Miracle Box, Exo-Brain, E-Brain, Byte Box, Tether.

I also like “Magic Box of Continually Changing and Life-Altering Potential,” except that it’s a little, um, long. Also, as acronyms go, MBOCCALAP isn’t very catchy — although it does sound like something you might eat in North Dakota (kind of like lefsa?) or maybe a lyric from Graceland.

A reader named Bruce Stasiuk suggested Goose Feather — because, as he explained, “it’s mostly down.”

A reader named Luis suggested Konrad, as in Konrad Zuse — “in honour,” he explained, “of its neglected German inventor (during WWII).” Luis offered a smart and powerful reason to choose Konrad: it would “provide a massive social incentive to prospective inventors.” (FWIW, I like “Zuse” as a name even more than “Konrad.”)

For all the variations on the “brain” theme, I was surprised that no one suggested the name I was thinking about: Genius. Doesn’t that work? “Let me ask the Genius.” “The Genius is slow today.” “Who unplugged my Genius?” Sigh. I guess I’m just not very good at names.

There was one word that showed up in a quite a few answers: “life.” Among your suggestions were names like Life Organizer, Life Cache, Life Hacker (although, yes, it’s already taken), and Life Plus — since, as a reader named Kitt explained, “It takes your normal life and adds to it.” (In that vein, Second Life wouldn’t be a bad name either, although that too is already taken.)

But my favorite of all — and, therefore, the winner of our renaming contest — is: LifeLine. It’s descriptive, memorable, familiar but not overly so, upbeat, alliterative, and abbreviate-able: LL. (The abbreviation works well in print, which is important, though I find it easier to say “LifeLine” than “LL.”) What’s not to like?

And so, to “h” (commenter No. 153), congratulations: you have successfully given the world a new and arguably better name for the computer, and as a prize you can have your pick of Freakonomics Schwag.

Of course you are all free to disagree with my judgment.

More important, you are all free to suggest future renaming contests. Thanks again for participating.