I know from my own experience that naming an application you’ve created can be just as challenging as creating it in the first place. A name should fit the purpose and be catchy at the same time. Some names are so clever they’ll not only increase the software’s chances of success, they also make me smile. Here are some of the best ones I’ve come across.
This clever little app changes the way you can drag and resize windows. Although I see more use for this under OSX (where you can still only drag the bottom right corner), the wordplay works. Taekwondo is a clever martial art, so the analogy fits.
Greasemonkey lets you run ‘user scripts’ that can affect the way web pages work and are displayed. There are tons of these scripts, ranging from useless to invaluable timesavers. This Firefox plugin lets you mess with the internals of web pages, so the name fits perfectly.
This isn’t another plug for my (currently) favorite operating system. This is simply a very good name. The Zulu word of ‘ubuntu’ has been described as being “too beautiful to be translated into English”. What is clear is that is has to do with a sense of community, and that’s what makes it a great name for an Open Source project that aims to bring Linux to the people.
This is telling it like it is. CrapCleaner will do just what the name suggests. It cleans the crap that Windows, browsers and other tools leave on your system. So instead of giving it a fancy name like “SpaceSaver Deluxe” or “System Accellerator” the authors opted to go for the direct approach. Kudos to them for that.
Ok, so it’s not an application you can download and install, but it is an application. And it has a really cool name. Not everyone might be familiar with Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but considering how the original radio comedy has been made into a book, a TV series, a movie and a video game that’s not for lack of trying. All feature a fish that feeds on brain waves and, in the process of doing so, just happens to translate every possible language into something you’ll understand. That’s why it goes in your ear.
1. Nero burning ROM
To even get this name you need to realize that Nero is made by a German company. “Rom” in German means “Rome”, and since the program is used to ‘burn’ things, they probably thought naming it after the Roman emperor who was accused of setting Rome on fire was a clever move. If only Nero hadn’t been such an extravagant tyrant…
Toast was one of the first user friendly CD burning packages available. But in the early day’s, phrases like “You know that $10 disc you just bought me? I toasted it” must’ve caused a few arguments. And considering how electronic are often called ‘toast’ when they’re ‘fried’ I can’t help but wonder if this was the best name they could come up with.
I must’ve clicked this name ten times by now when running across it on various websites, just to see what it was. There’s not a single clue I can decypher in the name as to what the software actually does. Nothing I can remember it by. As it turns out, it lets you manage certain mobile phones as well as iPods. So they called it “Floola”. Right.
4. Alcohol 120%
I’m starting to see a pattern here. Another CD burning application. Sure, alcohol burns in your throat. Especially when it’s a chemically impossible 120% solution. Unfortunately, alcohol is also the most widely used recreational drug, and probably causes more profound problems than any other substance. Way to go “Alcohol Software”…
This is actually my favorite audio player. I use this eight hours a day, four days a week. That’s probably why I only made it my number five. ‘Foobar’ is a placeholder name often used by programmers, and its most probable origin is FUBAR, which means “Fucked Up Beyond All Repair” or “Fucked Up beyond All Recognition”. Why anyone would name the fruits of their labour this is beyong me. Especially with the “2000″ bit, which, let’s face it, has been pretty lame ever since the year 2000 actually came along. And no, it’s not a toolbar of any kind.
So there you have it. My personal best and worst application names. Feel free to add yours in the comments.