The Project Name Problem

When you say that a problem is NP complete to a computer scientist, they'll nod at you solemnly. Of course, they'll think it means non-polynomial time complete, but in this case Name Problem is just as apt: I find that naming my projects sometimes significantly impedes their publication (or, at the very least, it's a good excuse for not publishing that should probably be removed).

I tend to alliterate in "p" best, and the project names that I've devised through 2004 and 2005 reflect this: pwyky, phenny, pyllbox, ppr, pyrple. But each of these names is a good example of the battle to find something apt to the project.

This is probably just a personal problem, but I really find that I generate projects a lot more easily than I generate names for them, and I'm also quite a perfectionist when it comes to names—even though there's no such thing as a perfect name. Notwithstanding, I think that investment in choosing a good name for a project is important, even if it does turn into an {@@link Atom} style debacale.


Perhaps I should get phenny to name a project for me:

<sbp> phenny: generate a word for me
<phenny> hanglebug
<sbp> bleh. I really need something that'll generate 
   decent project names for me

But it doesn't seem like it'll work. There are, of course, name generators out there, but they're not as witty as humans (yet) at coming up with words. They're still pretty good for use in stuff like Ghyll, on the other hand.


Namestorm: to come up with a series of words in order to name a project.

.gc namestorm
<phenny> namestorm: 179
.gc namestorming
<phenny> namestorming: 159

The reason I wrote projname is that I need a name for this pwk-using wiki, but I'm not sure what to go for. I wrote about this a bit at crschmidt's noets installation at Nomenclatural Dilemma, but nobody's offered any ideas yet so I'm still unsure as to what to pick. One name that I don't reject on there is "/pwk/", but I'm going to reject it here instead since I don't think it's a good idea to name sites after their mechanics. On other other hand, it's okay to name mechanics after the site, which is what happened for the noets code.

(Incidental point: when enterting data on IRC, it's actually being stored five times for me. Once in my keylogs, once in my IRC logs, twice on Vorpal (miscoranda and inamidst), and once in my local inamidst copy.) @@ fix enterting I'd like it to be something along the lines of jotpad, notey, scribblex, miscnotes, eph, notatia, writings...

.gc jotpad
<phenny> jotpad: 519
.gc notey
<phenny> notey: 23,000
.gc scribblex
<phenny> scribblex: 16
.gc miscnotes
<phenny> miscnotes: 583
.gc eph
<phenny> eph: 1,640,000
.gc notatia
<phenny> notatia: 732
.gc writings
<phenny> writings: 10,900,000

Chris comments that he likes jotpad and notatia, but is a bit wary even of the rather low (by today's standards) 732 Googlecount for it. Scribblex is certainly very low gc-wise, but really, anything under 1000 these days is very good and easily beatable. Google just keep increasing their index...

Update on the candidates: ecl, eph, eup, inf, and wis...

Nowadays, Sean makes me name everything. Or sometimes Chris. Also, sbp should edit this post and write a good concluding statement to this post --by d8uv on

How We Named it "eph"

As d8uv notes above, I do usually ask them to come up with names so that I can work on the important business of fretting about it. But we named eph quite quickly, mainly through crschmidt's cajoling and the fact that I really just wanted to get it all in place since I was using it already.

So I chose "eph" mainly because it's the best one on the candidates list; rather, that it's the one that sucks the least. Though it has a high Googlecount, it's a very nice short name, and I didn't want to have anything that's too long and semantically linked. Having "eph" means it's practically a particle, with only a hint of any ephemeral connotations.

"It's also cool sounding. That's why I cajoled." --crschmidt on

Article Directory Conundrum

The latest project name conundrum is that of my nascent articles collection idea. The basic premise is that I need a site which can contain more highly polished and individualistic notes than /eph/, such as those that are embellished with images and their own unique styles. Unfortunately, that means that I'm more or less using a semantically transparent container. There's no common input mechanism such as with eph to warrant a short name for it; it needs to be as generic and connotation-free as possible. I could very well publish them all under the root of the website in fact; it would generally be in fitting with my inclination (actually, I think I want to move 2/3 of stuff closer to the root and 1/3 further away).

Shortlist at the moment is /a/, /art/, /articles/, /w/, /writ/, and /writings/.

I have three articles that I want to write for this project, each of which will projectedly be roughly the same size as the Flibbertigibbet and Purre article. But the difference is that they don't have a /shaks/ level topic in which to sit and from which I can branch off to other topics.

/on/, /topic/, and /about/ seem rather good possibilities too.

It seems that my use of "about" is unique—neither wordnet nor bartleby:Roget's Thesaurus list it. But "on", its synonym, is especially good since Sir Francis Bacon used it to head his essays, and I occasionally use it in places.

Actually, I can only find five examples:

I think I avoid the idiom because I'm reserving it for decent essays; might be a nice opportunity to employ it.

Nuts, I'm wrong; he used of!

More Nomenclaturalisations

So Cody asks me to name his font and I instantly reel off Nanofont, Diminutive, and Sansmotif. Why can I name other people's projects that quickly but not my own. The mind boggles! Perhaps we should all work on one another's projects to boost our productivities. An Anecdote

One of the files that I use to drive pages such as the site updates is called, and it resides in one of the non-Google-readable development directories. I thought it was about time that I published the file, so I moved it briefly to a publically readable directory where it was called ""... until I realised how utterly stupid that was a few seconds later.

I'm not sure whether the moral of this story is that global and user namespaces should be separate, or that I really need to pay more attention to what I'm doing when naming stuff, but the result was the same: I had to re-edit all the code I'd just been through changing the path names, and move the file back in three different locations (local, and two servers).

And I still don't know what to call the file! Grumble.

Also, I must remember to date these things. --2005-05-18

Sean B. Palmer