The Ambivalences of Naming a Computer

My new 13 inch MacBook Pro arrived on Friday, born new into the world to replaced my deceased Amelia. Though she is tabula rasa now, I wonder how much of Amelia’s character she will take on when I update her using Amelia’s time-machine backup. Even if the likeness is strong, I will still need to give her a new name. It would be wierd to call a re-incarnated person by their previous body’s name, so why do it to a computer?

I always give my tech names of strong women, mostly from fiction. My first laptop was Susan Sto Helit, Death’s grandaughter from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld; my second was Amelia, after Amelia Earheart; my black iPod is Sunshine, a baker and vampire hunter from Robin McKinley’s Sunshine; my external-hard drive is Bella from Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series (I named her is a fit of sentimentality, and have regretted it ever since–but I feel wrong changing her name).

I was thinking of naming my new laptop Freyja after the Norse goddess of fecundity. I guess her silver shell plus my wish that she remain cool (rather than overheating like Doha in June like Amelia did) made me think of this name.

But given that I will be uploading her with Amelia’s memories, and Susan’s before her, perhaps Echo would be better, after Joss Whedon’s stupenous badass of a female lead from Dollhouse:

Inspirational Quote:

DeWitt: In their resting state, our actives are as innocent and vulnerable as children. We call it the “Tabula Rasa”. The blank slate. Now imagine the imprint process filling it, creating a new personality. A friend, a lover, a confidant in a sea of enemies. Your heart’s desire made flesh. And when the engagement has been completed, all memory of you and your time together will be wiped clean.

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