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Funny and Irrelevant Program Names? 210

Posted by Cliff
from the just-for-the-fun-of-it dept.
dentar asks: "I got into a conversation with a peer today about funny names we've given programs in the past. I have a small program I wrote for a client called omnihurl whose purpose is to get a summary listing of their last 20 omniback backups and display them. I called it that because I couldn't think of a good name when I wrote it.. It never got renamed. That program is still used every day and is about seven years old. The guy I was talking with had written a backup script named shazbot. A few years later a friend and I wrote a program that was going to be a dynamic DNS type of client and server. I couldn't think of a name for those either, so they wound up being whale and plankton. We still laugh about it. So, how's about y'all? What's the funniest thing you ever named a program? The more irrelevant to its purpose, the better."
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Funny and Irrelevant Program Names?

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  • Satan meets Santa (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mcgroarty (633843) <[brian.mcgroarty] [at] [gmail.com]> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:19PM (#5451286) Homepage
    I didn't write it, obviously. But there's a security auditing tool called "satan" which probes a system for many known vulnerabilities. It was originally a black hat tool, as I understand it, but it was adopted by the white hat crowd for testing their own systems.

    Now, many white hat folks are affiliated with businesses or other groups who don't take kindly to running something called "satan." It looks bad in the company reports, and some take personal offense. The solution?

    Many releases came with a utility which simply moved the n up a bit, renaming the built executable as "santa." :)

    • Re:Satan meets Santa (Score:4, Informative)

      by eXtro (258933) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:27PM (#5451361) Homepage
      It never was a black hat tool, it was written by Dan Farmer as a tool. His intentions were to use it to secure the hatches on your own systems but it was equally possible to use it to detect exploitable weaknesses in other peoples systems.
      • And I vaguely recall that "satan" was the result of an Unfortunate Acronym From The Program's Real Name, which I can no longer recall what was and am too lazy to look up. :)

    • Re:Satan meets Santa (Score:3, Informative)

      by Hitch (1361)
      actually, satan isn't really developed any more. there's another program now - don't know if this one is still being developed either, or whether the code was forked, resurrected, or what - but the successor to satan was called "saint". I liked that one.
    • Similar to one I recently wrote... I named it Reaper, later renamed GD2 Reaper, then due to PHB renamed GD2 Consolidator... purpose? Scan a server for new ZIP files and extract the data from them.

      The EXE kept the preferred name Reaper LOL

      Good thing PHB's here don't look at final files.
    • Ironically, Satan has since evolved into Saint [saintcorporation.com]. I have little doubt that it's due to corporate 'concerns' over the name... ...of course, the white hats could have named it that just to play "devil's advocate" (pun intended) and play the opposite card/name.

    • I wrote a news robot (for downloading porn) and a file utility for managing the porn named respectively "Beelzebot" and "Mena" (for menagerie).

      Never released it though ...

  • Don't forget Squid (Score:3, Interesting)

    by linuxwrangler (582055) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:20PM (#5451294)
    Why is it called Squid [squid-cache.org]
  • I just couldnt help myself one commercemas - I wrote a game (as you do) and based it on the whack-a-mole concept but using photos of staff.

    The name sort of just popped into my head...
  • by eXtro (258933) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:23PM (#5451322) Homepage
    I've always hated naming programs, and I've really hated the habit that people have where I work of trying to shoehorn an acronym into some silly name. So I just name them whatever happens to be on my mind at the time. I have a perl script that takes a circuit's netlist and generates a directed acyclic graph called encephalitis. I have another that pulls a waveform out of an analog circuit simulation called clusterfuck.


    The only place I really spend time thinking about names is when I'm creating an API that other people need to use as opposed to a script that people use whole. Then I try to make the function name describe what the function does and if there's and if there are similar functions which use different argument types the argument as well.

  • by Dr. Bent (533421) <ben.int@com> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:23PM (#5451324) Homepage
    fsck
    I always lemented that there wasn't a -u option
  • by Ranger Rick (197) <slashdot@raccoonfink . c om> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:25PM (#5451335) Homepage
    ...It's kind of a running gag, we write embedded stuff so people don't really see them.

    I wrote the backup/restore code, after calling backup "backup", I decided restore would be called "unbackup". =)

    We've also got "spank" (it restarts everything, someone off-the-cuff had mentioned spanking the appliance after it was behaving badly).

    I've also got a wrapper for forking processes in a way that matches up with the rest of our startup called "forkme".

    Hrm, what else. Oh, yeah, one to remove everything in the database "smokingHole". And to get a list of understood SNMP traps, you would run the "trap-yanker".
  • by topologist (644470) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:27PM (#5451369)
    Oh, there are plenty of funny program names. Perhaps one of the funniest examples is on Mac OS X, where the apple gcc gives you the option of generating "fat" binaries, which are combined ppc and x86 executables (so you can run them both on x86-darwin and ppc for instance). The tool to create a single architecture "thin" binary is called "lipo" (as in liposuction..). I had a good laugh when I saw that.
  • *cackle* (Score:5, Funny)

    by skinfitz (564041) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:29PM (#5451377) Journal
    Many years ago on a programming course we visited Belgium with a project based on travel and tourism - the thing was a database for booking holidays etc.

    I remember the conversation from my lecturers:

    Them: "Come up with the name - you're good at stuff like that."

    Me: "Uh.. oookkk... how about Computer Literacy and Information Technology Organisational Relational Information System?"

    Them: "That's brilliant! We really like it!"

    Me: "Now there's just this one drawback..."
  • I long time ago I used to get collections of programs on 5 1/4 inch disks from A.P.P.L.E [callapple.org] (Apple Puget Sound Program Library Exchange)

    There was a program called "The Super Himem Bit Nibbler" because, I guess it didn't do anything but take up high memory. I always got a chuckle out of the fact that it was called "Super"
  • Good one (Score:3, Funny)

    by gnovos (447128) <gnovos@@@chipped...net> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:31PM (#5451414) Homepage Journal
    Frustrated trying to get one piece of code to talk to tanother piece, I eventually wrote a middleware app I named the "ensmartenator" for the intended purpose of "ensmartenting" the two pieces' communication api's so that they could understand each other... It was supposed to be a stopgap solution until we could get somone to rewrite the communication APIs... that was about five years ago. The ensmartenator is still it's exceptionally cromulent job to this day.
    • Re:Good one (Score:2, Funny)

      by glenstar (569572)
      I named the "ensmartenator" for the intended purpose of "ensmartenting" the two pieces' communication api's so that they could understand each other...

      I bet that George Herbert Walker Bush wouldn't find that funny at all. In fact, I would assume he thinks that is already a word.

      • "I bet that George Herbert Walker Bush wouldn't find that funny at all. In fact, I would assume he thinks that is already a word."

        Were you intentionally referring to the 41st President of the U.S. and father of the current (43rd) President?

  • So far... (Score:2, Funny)

    by Badge 17 (613974)
    I've written a program that outputs to a temporary file... to prevent overwriting other temp-files, I call it "temp2.718" -> and I call the outfile ARIZONA.

    Think about it.
  • by cjhuitt (466651) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:33PM (#5451438)
    Well, at work I wrote a quick utility to add debugging information to our code, and since I couldn't think of anything better I called it "debuggery". Knowing full well what buggery implies, of course.

    Come a few weeks later, there's another utility to remove the debugging information. Called, of course, "rebuggery".
  • GGB509 (Score:3, Funny)

    by alacqua (535697) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:35PM (#5451452) Homepage
    OK, so nothing about COBOL is funny. It meets the irrelevant criteria, though.
  • Unix is full of them (Score:4, Interesting)

    by metalhed77 (250273) <andrewvc AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:38PM (#5451475) Homepage
    if you use unix you probably use this everyday.

    The pager 'less' of course is a pun on the old pager 'more'. And let's not forgot that the name Unix was chosen to replace an existing OS called MULTICS.
  • IMP, turba, and my favorite, the http2nntp gateway called troll.
  • Modules? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Xunker (6905) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:47PM (#5451568) Homepage Journal
    While I can't speak for programs themselves, a code module I wrote about 3 years ago id still kicking around -- the module is named parent_trap (because it checks the validity of parent data of children), with a hidden method named, of all things, halley_mills.
  • The code name of the project was "squeaky." Spitsqueak was a piece of software that took data from a related product and spit it out in the right format. In a sense, you could say that the name was precisely descriptive, but I think it qualifies because the name of the project was completely unrelated to what it actually did.
  • zonk - sets the time stamp on Windblowsux files to 00:00, todays date.
  • Once prototyped a replacement interface for the 3270 based library system at a University. The program was called the:

    Document Information Retreival Tool

    You'd use it to scrape references from the backend. ie) digging up dirt on a particular publication.
  • by Bothari (34939) <gcarvalho@net c a bo.pt> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:50PM (#5451603)
    Back in the day that every new piece of software for windows 3.1 was named win-something, my then employer used that exact same naming scheme, where the something was a shortening of the subject matter of the app.

    One day we did an analysis tool for the other apps. The marketing departement got as far as actually printing brochures before noticing that maybe Win-Anal wasn't such a good name after all.....
  • swears (Score:4, Funny)

    by gyratedotorg (545872) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:51PM (#5451613) Homepage

    i always enjoyed my friend's throwaway php scripts. you couldnt tell what the hell was going on, but they were funny to read:

    function goddamnit ($fuck) {
    if ($fuck) {
    $you_shithead = 'something';
    }
    return $you_shithead;
    }

    you get the idea. ;)

  • Don't know about funniest but I can certainly point out the UNfunniest software names:

    VIASRA Is A Stupid Recursive Acronym

    GNU's Not Unix was cute. Well, maybe. OK, not really. By the time the HURD/HIRD thing rolled around, any residual humor had long been stomped out of the practice.

    Worst name? Boy, I hope they come up with an alternative to "Kroupware".
  • CP/M's debugger (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Krelnik (69751) <timfarley@mi3.14 ... ing.com minus pi> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:58PM (#5451691) Homepage Journal
    The operating-system provided debugger for CP/M was called DDT. Ostensibly this stood for Dynamic Debugging Tool, but most assumed it was a reference to the now-banned pesticide.
  • slashdot (Score:4, Funny)

    by glenstar (569572) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @03:59PM (#5451697)
    Not really a program, but there's this one website where a bunch of geeks discuss stuff. Apparently pretty popular. It has a pretty funny and *irrelevant* name.. what was it again...?
  • by 3waygeek (58990) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @04:08PM (#5451784)
    called robotussin that converts System V COFF libraries to BSD format.
  • I had a korn shell script once called "AndysMakefileFixOMatic.ksh"

    It's purpose was to fix a common problem in a large tree of Makefiles...
  • fuckem.sh

    null routes the top 10 abusers of our mail system.

  • Or even BitchX. Maybe you login to bitch!
  • Once... (Score:2, Funny)

    by FroMan (111520)
    In college I interned in the international systems department for a company, which has OMS (Order Management System), DMS (Distributor Management System), IMS (Inventory Management System), and another *MS, but I forget. Well, my boss had a pet project he wanted done which was to control the parameters between all the systems and be able to handle parameters between sites. Well, the parameter management system was the final name of my project as it neared completion.
  • Back before such tools were common, I wrote a make file dependency scanner for use at a previous job. It had some simple name (like BuildMake) but inside the program there was a table that listed which modules were referenced by others.

    That table was called guzinta because it listed which module "goes into" this one.

  • A quick program to merge two types of Database tables:

    The Super Helpful Information Tool.
  • a.out

    I keep 'em straight by remembering filesizes :)
  • I used to get a kick out of naming Boolean class status variables bFailin (in Hungarian notation) so I could write VB code like:

    Dim myXYZ As CXYZClass

    myXYZ.DoSomething

    If myXYZ.bFailin Then ...

    Before you flame my coding style (lack of proper error handling, using Hungarian notation for class members, etc.), this was a long time ago and I know better now. But the code is kinda funny...

    • Hm... an associate of mine worked for a company whose "president" was named Brad Failing. Sure enough, his email address was bfailing and even more sure enough, his company did indeed fail.
  • Unwise.exe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chacham (981) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @04:52PM (#5452178) Homepage Journal
    One of the most stupid names I have seen is Unwise.exe. Basically, it's the uninstaller program for the Wise Installation program. Being probably the second most common installer (next to InstallShield) you ought to find a copy of it on most Windows computers.

    Anyway, if you don't know what it is, many people seem to think it's a virus or something (and it didn't help when Norton identified it as one).
    • Presumably the thinking is "it would be UNWISE to uninstall this app"... anyway that's how I interpret it, and it's often good for a laugh.

      Then again, I think InstallShield's __ISDEL.EXE is just as funny, if much worse grammar: "Is delete these files?" :)

  • Computer name (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tigersha (151319) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @04:55PM (#5452200) Homepage
    One our computers, which had a nagios/Openview like program on it that monitored and checked the other stuff was called edgar, named after J. Edgar Hoover.

    Not a program, I know but...
  • We were supposed to write something which was to raise the productivity of salespeople.

    First it was just a training tool. Then it was used to create quotes and toss them into the backend systems. Then to look up customer history. Then it became a CRM apps.

    I called it RUST, because it was a Randomly Useful Sales Tool. It was also an old crufty hack, which fit since things that are rusty are often old and kludgy.

    The name has stuck since, and I believe the company still relies on the system. No reported bugs in 18 months, but it was written without a spec and in less than a month. Huge hack. ;)

    -----
  • by TinheadNed (142620) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:00PM (#5452245) Homepage
    seeing as astonishingly, nobody's mentioned it:

    I love Nero burning ROM. What a brilliant name, with an icon of the Colosseum afire too.

    Personally, when I got a job due to my knowledge of C++ and ended up coding in VB, I started making functions of AllYourBaseAreBelongToUs and SomeoneSetUpUsTheBomb. I gave up though as they're difficult to spell and remember. They were only called twice and still played hell.

    I learnt from this two things.

    (a) It's not big
    (b) It's not clever

    But it's so funny when you're working and you're bored shitless.
  • No Joke (Score:3, Funny)

    by digerata (516939) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:05PM (#5452300) Homepage
    I work for an Ad Agency and we wrote a system to manage all of our video and print files. The latest buzzword for that concept is Digital Asset Management. So when we went about creating the administration module, we decided to call it the Grand Organizational Directorate for Digital Asset Management.

    Later on this system was renamed. One of the print production managers thought the best way to visualize how the system works was to use the concept of a tank (as in bucket or trough) that all of our data is thrown into and we can go and retrieve it. So our system is now called the Digital Tank.

    This is great except for the fact that tank can mean different things like, 'The project tanked.' Or the project is like a giant lumbering hunk of steel that is soooo slllooooow.

    Its funny, we are an ad agency. We have copywriters that come up with award winning commericals. But when it comes to naming our own internal software, we can't think of shit.

  • by Bazman (4849)
    Ten years ago I wrote some code for spatial data analysis using the Splus package. I called it 'splancs', which stood for 'spatial analysis code in S-plus', but also included the 'lancs' part from Lancaster University which is where I work. Double bonus.

    So this summer I get invited over to University Of Western Australia to work on a similar project. We argue for days over the name! Eventually I realise we need a name that keeps the 'splancs' nature.

    SpUWA.

    I even designed a logo - a big yellow splodge representing the area of a point pattern of data composed of small orange and green chunks. But strangely this was too coarse even for the Australians. Pah. We agreed to call it 'Rasp' (R Analysis of Spatial Patterns) but in true Mozilla fashion, pronounce it 'Spuwa!'.

    Baz
  • OK this may be a little OT...

    I used to own trav.com, which in and of itself makes sense, since Travis is my name. However I got quite a few random emails from people in Sweden who visited my site. "Why Sweden?" I kept asking myself. Then I found out...

    In Swedish, "trav" roughly translates to "trot." A popular sport in Sweden is horse racing, but the kind where the jockey rides in a small carriage behind the horse. This is known as "trotting." So fans would check trav.com expecting a horse racing site.

    I had used an irrelevant name without even knowing it! Pretty funny huh??

    OK maybe you had to be there.

    Travis

    P.S. Can anyone who knows Swedish language and culture verify any of this?
  • Mark.asp (Score:2, Funny)

    by Boba001 (458898)
    When I worked for a dotcom company and we were going through some layoffs I had to write a script that basically did someone's job who had been let go (of course, their duties fell on me... and I had no time to manually do them.) It took 3-4 days to write/debug/polish and the result was 10x better than when the actual person was doing the job by hand.

    It later became a joke when we were talking about new projects that would "help" people do their jobs (instead of them manually doing something, the computer would do most of it), causing their job to become redundant and they wouldn't be needed anymore. ;)
  • TWAIN (Score:4, Interesting)

    by einstein (10761) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:17PM (#5452401) Homepage Journal
    TWAIN, the scanner interface used in windows..

    Technology Without An Interesting Name.

    worth a chuckle.
  • Here's one (Score:4, Funny)

    by cybermage (112274) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:19PM (#5452422) Homepage Journal
    I once wrote a group task and schedule tracker which we called Basic Daily Schedule Manager. It really whipped our office into shape.
  • by Webmoth (75878) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:19PM (#5452424) Homepage
    As I understand it, Microsoft's Automatic Updates utility was originally called the Critical Update Notification Tool. They quickly changed this one.
  • by kireK (254264) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:27PM (#5452494)
    Data General's AOS/VS operating system had an undocumented command named "XYZZY." In the original 16-bit version, the response was: "Nothing happens." In a later 32-bit version, this was amended to: "Twice as much nothing happens."
    • Holy cow... I actually did FORTRAN-77 programming on an AOS/VS II system (more recently than most people would admit, I'm sure!) ... never tried that command, though.
    • There used to be a company called PC DOCS, who wrote a Document Management System called DOCS Open. The company was purchased by Hummingbird, and they have an updated version called PowerDOCS.

      There's a Designer program used to customize the software -- add fields to the database, change the appearance of the forms, that sort of thing. If you start the Designer program with a command line parameter /XYZZY, it gets you into the sort-of-undocumented super-user design mode. I say sort-of-undocumented because, although the parameter is documented as a means of getting into the super-user mode, the additional functionality that it gives you is not documented, so you get to play guess-what-this-checkbox-does.
    • "...In the original 16-bit version, the response was: "Nothing happens." In a later 32-bit version, this was amended to: "Twice as much nothing happens."

      If "Nothing happens" in a 16-bit program, then in the 32-bit version, it should be "65536 times as much nothing happens."
  • by Thing 1 (178996) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:33PM (#5452532) Journal
    My favorite came directly from Microsoft, when they wrote a utility for their WindowsUpdate.com site. They called it the "Critical Update Notification Tool."

    Later they changed "Tool" to "Utility" but we had already laughed at them.

  • I worked at a nuclear power plant which ran FORTRAN software on MODCOMP computers. One of the programs was designed to test the access control lists, and was thus named "testacl".

    People routinely cracked up when I discussed this tool because I pronounced it "testicle."

  • Duh ... (Score:4, Funny)

    by egon (29680) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:44PM (#5452660) Homepage

    Most irrelevant software name? Wouldn't that be Microsoft Works?
  • PIGCOP (Score:3, Funny)

    by SlightlyMadman (161529) <slightlymadman@sli g h t l y m a d.net> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @05:51PM (#5452758) Homepage
    I had to write a project management & time tracking app for in-house use, a couple years ago. Since I hate the idea of recording every second of my time, I decided to call it Personal Interface for the Graphical Control Of Projects, an homage to Duke Nukem.

    Unfortunately, the Duke Nukem reference would become a curse, as it's still in development, with no specified release date (when it's done, damnit!). It also spawned a slimmer web-based cousin called PORKCHOP, but I'd have to hunt through some documentation to remember what that was supposed to stand for ;)
  • I had to make a pair of custom interface boards a few years back. I named them "Jake" and "Elwood". We used them for quite a while, and so conference calls were quite amusing at times. When we made a new pair of boards, the new names were Boris and Natasha. Being asked "Is Natasha ready to back up Boris?" in meetings was an interesting question. I had considered naming the boards Tom and Jerry, but one manager involved in the project was named Tom, so it was not a viable name.
  • by Wonko42 (29194)
    I wrote a biff-like mail checker for Windows named Ham. If you really wanted to, you could claim it was a recursive acronym for "Ham is an Automatic Mailchecker", but I really just wanted to be able to say, "Oh look, Ham says I have new mail."
  • Our company's naming convention for software is words to do with ice. Our mail server is called "igloo"; our web tools are "gelid"; our network monitoring system is "icecube". There's no reason to the names, other than being ice-related.

    -Stephen
  • by austad (22163)
    I worked for a large media company, and some of the developers came up with some pretty good names.

    They had a sproc that would go do whatever you told it to, and it was called sprocbitch(), but was later changed to sprocstar().

    They had another tool called ASS (forgot what it stood for) and another called PHAT (Publishing something something Tool)

    I had a perl script that watched some processes and restarted them if they died called babysitter.pl.

    They also had the HOG (Hand of God) that watched processes on servers and whacked them if they got out of hand.

    There were some others, but I forgot them all.
  • I wrote an app for a client to handle contact forms a bit like FormMail in PHP that I named Phirst Contact.
  • WebDAV client that uses an FTP commandline GUI.
  • by oever (233119) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:22PM (#5453752) Homepage
    What's so funny about a program called y?
    Well, its function is to print this to the screen: You may as well stop typing now.

    ...
    rm: remove regular file `file101'? y
    rm: remove regular file `file102'? y
    rm: remove regular file `file103'? y
    rm: remove regular file `file104'? y
    ~> y
    You may as well stop typing now.
    ~> y
    You may as well stop typing now.
    ~> y
    You may as well stop typing now.
    ~> y

  • A friend of mine wrote an algorithm for a QA system called 'diet' for his Master's thesis. Several support tools having names like 'trim', 'lowfat', etc. were added to the set. This QA system placed in the top of the world in TREC [nist.gov] 9 and 10...Of course, the name was changed for the paper to something a bit more academically professional...
  • I'm still looking for a reason to implement something called "necklace" in Perl. Maybe an object that creates a linked list (like Judoscript [judoscript.com])?

  • by slaker (53818)
    I worked for a large company where an in-house tool for resetting NTs passwords and unlocking accounts (pathetically stupid users. The kind that forget to breathe) from a single console app was called "bioya".

    I used it for about a month, not giving any thought to the name, until one day in a fit of boredom I did

    bioya /?

    Usage: Blow it out your ass [domain\username]

    I got a chuckle every time I used that program for the rest of that contract.
  • You know there was a newbie somewhere somewhen that named his first (DOS) file
    8letters.(what ever extension he used)
  • Back in the day (circa 1990), when I was a lowly undergrad, my final team project in the graphics course was a program that would let you paint an image on the surface of a 3D object. I.e., there was a window with a 3D object in it, you'd drag the mouse around like you were using a paint program, the software would figure out what the texture map would be to make the 3D object look that way. Change the camera position, keep painting on a different side of the object. A different implementation got written up at SIGGRAPH [siggraph.org] that year - we were bummed, almost as much as our professor, who wanted to add another pub to his CV..... This was a big deal at the time, as pattern-mapping hardware was then the province of $100k super-computers - lucky us, we had access to one (yeah, it did a blazing 100k tris per sec (it also scan converted spheres)).

    A grad student whose claim to fame was having the moderator of alt.sex.stories forget to remove the student's name on a posting came up with our project name: Whip Me.

    We Handle Interactive Pattern Mapping Efficiently.

  • Ok, mine isn't terribly clever or anything, but I'll share it anyway. I wrote a little program once for the company my girlfriend worked for to monitor some servers for certain files that were getting transferred to them by mistake. They called the process "black hole monitoring" because these 4 servers seemed to be like black holes for the files. They hadn't managed to figure out what the problem was, and they didn't seem to be trying. They had her and a few of her co-workers monitoring the servers and writing up some sort of problem reports for the files. So, getting to the point, I wrote the little program and didn't know what to call it, so I named it Cygnus, after the U.S.S. Cygnus from the movie The Black Hole. See, told ya it wasn't terribly clever :)

  • At my company, the sysadmins put very heavy restrictions on the front-line workers. At one of our branch offices, they came to rely heavily on Excel macros, but due to extremely tiny user network storage quotas the macros were short on error handling and other functionality you'd normally get with software doing critical processing.

    One user made the jump into the software development group. He was responsible for a lot of these now-critical macros. He had feared the macros would become important to daily processing, being used by people who didn't really understand them (and the afforementioned limitiations didn't help), so he chose some names that he hoped would indicate to the user that they probably shouldn't rely so heavily on those macros.

    The best name was shitstorm, but another favorite of mine was trainwreckwaitingtohappen. In another macro, if the operation encountered an error, this was communicated by a clipart eagle swooping down across the spreadsheet, ripping off a clipart businessman's head, and shitting down his neck. (While the sysadmins restricted storage quotas, they did install the vast waste of space that is the MS Office clipart library.) The clipart one is something of an underground classic among the programmers around here.

    Eventually he (wisely) quit and went to work somewhere else. To this day those same macros are busily doing whatever it is they do, rude and portentous filenames intact, and the users refuse to fund a project to decypher the macros and write a proper application. (Bad because the macros are starting to fail... trainwreckwaitingtohappen is particularly shaky these days...)

    Oh well, he tried to warn them...

  • I once wrote an animated screen demo system in a weekend. Because of the unrealistic project deadlines, I named it Mathew's Amazing Demo. I gave the data files the extension .MAD.

    Everyone was delighted that I actually got the job done, but marketing objected to the .MAD file extension and demanded that it be changed.

    So naturally, it was changed to .MFD.

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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