Cidu Bill on Aug 8th 2017

Voodoo Chicken: Not a CIDU, but wondering if people do this with their phones? I have heard of people assign gender and even names to their cars, so it does not seem like a stretch that they may name their phones. Computers and smartphones do get device names, but people tend to just leave them on default or of the variety “Bob’s phone” to figure out which device it is when plugged into a computer.

It seems like a millennial thing to do, if I’m stereotyping.


Well, who but a millennials, who grew up with computers and smart phones, could be naming them?

That aside, I’ve never heard of anybody naming their device — and I think referring to it as “she” is even more unlikely.

Filed in Bill Bickel, Zits, comic strips, comics, humor | 40 responses so far

40 Responses to “She”

  1. Kilby Aug 8th 2017 at 09:09 am 1

    Well, given the current trend in the sizes of smart phones, comparing some of those models to ships is not all that far-fetched.

    P.S. There was a gag in a “Vicar of Dibley” episode in which Dawn French referred to her bra(*) as being a “he”, adding that “you wouldn’t want a woman cupping your breasts…” (she being consistently on the search for (hetero) romance throughout the series).

    P.P.S. (*) Not to be disrespectful, but Dawn French’s bra had a displacement comparable to a ship (and she knowingly used that for comic effect on many occasions).

  2. James Schend Aug 8th 2017 at 09:29 am 2

    Well phone companies themselves seem to have decided they’re “she”, with Siri, Cortana and Alexa.

  3. Kilby Aug 8th 2017 at 09:36 am 3

    P.P.P.S. @1 (currently in moderation) - <rant>When my kids were still infants, I invested in a copy of Dr. Spock’s “Baby & Child Care” (foolishly, as it turned out). The problem was that the 8th edition was no longer Dr. Spock’s text: it had been rewritten and modernized by an idiotic “political correctness” fanatic. I would have been happy to have the updated information, but this editor had taken the opportunity to neutralize all of the “male” pronouns (with reference to the baby), and they appeared to have used a random number generator to select “he” or “she”, not infrequently changing gender within the same paragraph. The result was singularly inane, and quite jarring. It would have been better if they had simply referred to all babies as “it”. Even worse, the simple term “doctor” had been expanded (at every single location throughout the book) to read “doctor or nurse practitioner”. Given the number of times the phrase appears, that probably added a significant number of pages to the book (perhaps they were being paid by the word).</rant>

  4. James Pollock Aug 8th 2017 at 09:43 am 4

    “I’ve never heard of anybody naming their device — and I think referring to it as “she” is even more unlikely.”

    Pierce, not Jeremy, represents “real” millennials (and others).

  5. User McUser Aug 8th 2017 at 09:53 am 5

    My phone has a name - I picked it out on purpose and everything - but I certainly don’t refer to it by that name. It’s only there to identify the device on my home network and that has more to do with me being a computer nerd than anything else.

    I’ve never had anyone I know ever refer to their phone by name nor by gender which includes those people I know who would be considered to be “millennials.”

  6. John Small Berries Aug 8th 2017 at 10:06 am 6

    I’m not a Millennial, but I’ve named all my phones (and tablets, and computers).

    For one thing, naming phones makes it easier to pick your own out when connecting to them from a car’s Bluetooth-enabled stereo, or using them as WiFi access points. (This was especially the case back when my wife and I had the same model of phone.)

    It’s also helpful from a networking standpoint (I assign static IPs to all known devices on my network, but I have more than I can conveniently remember the address mappings for; so when tracking down bandwidth hogs, it’s handy to have the device names showing in the router alongside the IP and MAC addresses, instead of a bunch labeled “UNKNOWN”).

    But although some of my devices have gendered names (for example, one group of servers is named Tyrion, Cersei, Jamie, Daenerys, and HODOR), I refer to them all as “it”.

  7. JHGRedekop Aug 8th 2017 at 10:35 am 7

    We name our computers for network purposes. Mine is Gomez, my partner’s is Morticia, our tablets are Pugsley and Wednesday, the router is Lurch, and my 7″ tablet is Thing.

    We started a different scheme for other network-attached stuff. The NAS is NickNack and the server is Oddjob.

  8. mitch4 Aug 8th 2017 at 10:44 am 8

    I never had a named car, but my friend drove Lope The Vega.

    At one job we named workstations (on static IPs) by themes for different subnets; like (somehow) flowers, classic movie stars (bergman was for ingrid not ingemar, I felt dopey working at [jimmy] stewart, the boss was at bogart…). I was setting up a few in the fishes, expanded to “sea life”, subnet, and randomly gave somebody “whiting” which I had learned was the main kind of fish in a fish-sandwich fastfood outlet nearby — the person at that computer said “How did you know my hometown?”. (City in northwest Indiana, i.e. not far from Chicago.)

    “Walrus” from that subnet got split off and became the server in a new subnet that we named for anything mentioned in the Beatles song “I am the Walrus” — semolina, eggman, cornflake, custard, crabalocker, fishwife, … This was in the 80s so most people got the theme, but the occasional overseas visitor was puzzled. The administration nixed “naughtygirl” and “knickers” though. We wanted to give texpert to a TeX Expert but it didn’t work out.

  9. Kilby Aug 8th 2017 at 10:45 am 9

    There is a big difference between assigning a ID string to a device, and using that (or any other term) as a “personal form of address”.

  10. Kilby Aug 8th 2017 at 10:49 am 10

    P.S. @9 - Here’s the relevant part of my comment @1 (the two P.S.s can wait for Bill to de-moderate them):

    …given the current trend in the sizes of smart phones, comparing some of those models to ships is not all that far-fetched.

  11. Powers Aug 8th 2017 at 11:21 am 11

    You guys are all missing the point.

    Calling one’s phone “she” is identified in this comic as “weird” (Jeremy protests that it’s not but Pierce clearly thinks it is, and Jeremy seems to readily understand that others might think it so).

    So Bill’s comment: “That aside, I’ve never heard of anybody naming their device — and I think referring to it as ’she’ is even more unlikely.” is exactly the point of the comic. It’s a weird thing to do.

  12. tigalilee Aug 8th 2017 at 11:28 am 12

    Hmm I can imagine Jeremy using his phone for Arlo reasons that may result in him calling it a “she”.

  13. Scott Aug 8th 2017 at 11:31 am 13

    In the good old days when you had to specify an explicit path to send email to someone, computers
    not only got named but the names were widely known. Some were boring (decvax, ihnp4) but some were more interesting. The two mail servers at Bell Labs Whippany were Bonnie and Clyde.

  14. James Pollock Aug 8th 2017 at 11:54 am 14

    “Calling one’s phone “she” is identified in this comic as “weird” (Jeremy protests that it’s not but Pierce clearly thinks it is, and Jeremy seems to readily understand that others might think it so).”

    Missed that point, did I?

  15. Winter Wallaby Aug 8th 2017 at 12:46 pm 15

    Kilby #2 (later to be Kilby #3, or #4, or something): no, you get off my lawn!

  16. larK Aug 8th 2017 at 12:57 pm 16

    University of Delaware had Huey, Dewey, and Louis originally, named not for the Disney (well, Barks, really) ducks, but for the robots in the movie Silent Running (who were named for the Duck nephews, yeah, yeah…); later additions however perpetuated the Disney theme, and not the Silent Running theme, or even the sci-fi robot name theme.

    At my office we’ve always maintained a central repository server called Opus, which we invariably call “Opurt” when referring to. We’re not big enough that it has even come up for questioning, which is a shame, really…

  17. Minor Annoyance Aug 8th 2017 at 04:03 pm 17

    My first thought went to Siri, the female voice on the iPhone. Jeremy hasn’t named his (an Android or Galaxy?), but perhaps it has a default female voice on some app and he’s just going with it.

    Today’s strip nudges into Arlo territory.

    The Britcom “Red Dwarf” had a computer, Holly, who interacted with crew as a deadpan male face on a screen. After a salary dispute with the actor, the producers made Holly a deadpan female face for a few seasons. It was explained that the computer elected to give itself a sex change.

  18. Andréa Aug 8th 2017 at 04:36 pm 18

    MA #17 - I thought i more than nudged into Arlo territory . . .

  19. Kilby Aug 8th 2017 at 08:07 pm 19

    @ M.A. (17) - The explanation must have come later, after they changed back to the original actor (somewhere between seasons 5 to 8). There was NO explanation anywhere in the first two seasons in which the woman appeared as Holly (3rd & 4th).

  20. Mark in Boston Aug 8th 2017 at 08:07 pm 20

    I’ve known musicians who name their instruments. I had a piano I named “Oswald” but I just call my current piano “Steinway”.

  21. PeterW Aug 8th 2017 at 09:25 pm 21

    I’m a millennial and my devices are devices, not people. (Though I do give them network names that may name them after characters, like Charlie Brown and Jarvis). It’s no weirder than people in earlier generations naming their typewriters, guitars, or guns. I used to read a chapter book series where the main character called his writing laptop “Ol’ Betsy” (I guess considering the target audience and his age, the protagonist would be a millennial), and all I thought about it was it sounded like he was imitating some great author of the 1920s because it was a bit of a silly choice for a kid.

  22. PeterW Aug 8th 2017 at 09:27 pm 22

    Further, you can change the simulated voice of your phone assistant to male if you want to, they just think women’s voices are less threatening. (Samsung Bixby aside, because well, Samsung Bixby.)

  23. guero Aug 8th 2017 at 09:40 pm 23

    Wasn’t Ol’ Betsy Davy Crockett’s musket?

    I’ve named the computers on my home network based on a theme. Their names are laura, caldonia, bijou, igor, and lemondrop, and I would be really, really surprised if anyone recognized the theme. (The work-group name is four-brothers, but that might give it away.)

  24. larK Aug 8th 2017 at 09:52 pm 24

    Blowin’ up a storm, there!

  25. James Pollock Aug 8th 2017 at 10:36 pm 25

    “I used to read a chapter book series where the main character called his writing laptop ‘Ol’ Betsy’”

    Fictional writer Jubal Harshaw called his laptops by female names, but I don’t recall if any of them was specifically “Betsy”. And that novel wasn’t really for young adults, although it did get a bit of a cult following.

    Wikipedia says none of the laptops were named “Betsy”.

  26. James Schend Aug 9th 2017 at 12:11 am 26

    @Kilby Re: Red Dwarf

    They explain it at the opening of Season 3 in that long text crawl. The fact that the text crawl goes super-fast and is impossible to read without a freeze frame is a gag, but if you do that the actual text in it actually describes what happens between Season 2 and Season 3, believe it or not.

    Frankly, I always liked the female Holly better.

  27. fleabane Aug 9th 2017 at 01:12 am 27

    When my mother first started dating her current husband around 1990 or so an old friend called and my mother said something like “I need to check with Malcolm” and her friend said in all seriousness, “Oh, is Malcolm your computer?”

  28. zbicyclist Aug 9th 2017 at 07:58 am 28

    No name for my phone, but our Garmin GPS device is ‘Sheila’.

    And, yes, we do have that Australian woman’s voice selected.

  29. Kilby Aug 9th 2017 at 08:12 am 29

    Thanks to James Schend @26 - I’ll try that.

    P.S. @ JP (25) - The Jubal Harshaw that I remember (in “Stranger…”) was a technophobe. He didn’t even use a typewriter, instead preferring to dictate his material to young, gorgeous women. I’m aware that Heinlein revived Woodrow W. Smith (a.k.a. Lazarus Long) in his later books (but I quit reading him after “Friday”). I was not aware that he had recycled Harshaw.

  30. Kilby Aug 9th 2017 at 08:22 am 30

    P.P.S. In any case, it doesn’t matter by what name Heinlein called any of his elderly male curmudgeons: they are all simply thinly disguised placeholders for his own personal pulpit.

  31. Powers Aug 9th 2017 at 10:34 am 31

    James: “Missed that point, did I?”

    Sorry, I misread your earlier comment as describing the characters’ roles in general. Now I see you meant that Pierce’s opinion in this strip is more representative of millennials in general.

  32. larK Aug 9th 2017 at 11:00 am 32

    “And, yes, we do have that Australian woman’s voice selected.”
    zbicyclist: Turn rii-i-i-ii-i-ight!

  33. James Pollock Aug 9th 2017 at 11:18 am 33

    “He didn’t even use a typewriter, instead preferring to dictate his material to young, gorgeous women.”

    Stay with that thought, re-read what I wrote, and see where that leads you.

  34. Ted from Ft. Laud Aug 9th 2017 at 01:27 pm 34

    All (connected) computers need some sort of name, though it obviously doesn’t need to be a particularly personalized one (my current main desktop is “office-pc”, my phone is “ted’s iPhone”). Some decades ago (mid-1980s?) at a (then still close to) startup, when software (at that point 4 people) got our first workstations (Apollos) to replace a shared Exormacs system we had been using, I got (as a side job, because writing the OS wasn’t enough…) to be net admin. This included naming the nodes, which all got some themed names, though for the life of me, I can’t remember the names. I do remember that it was a limited theme - after a year or so, we ran out of names, and as I remember, we switched to stars (stellar objects, not celebrities). That worked for quite a while - by the time we would have needed to go to really esoteric ones, we had grown to the point that we had subnets and an actual admin, and everyone else could do whatever they wanted. We also named our test systems, but their names were very utilitarian - either role or location. The VAX also got a pretty utilitarian name - as I remember, it was “vax”…

    I’ve never named cars or any gadgets, and have never owned a boat, for which (personal type) names are common.

    On the other hand, I do somewhat anthropomorphize some apps - to a minor extent Siri, but to a larger extent nav apps, which (regardless of the particular app - and really, unless you pick an alternative voice, they all do sound similar) are all called Susie - I don’t remember why…

  35. Vulcan with a Mullet Aug 9th 2017 at 04:08 pm 35

    Not a millennial, nor a parent of millennials, but I do work with them and often deal with them; and I have never heard of this being a thing. But I guess it could happen. Maybe the joke is the absurdity factor, not the recognition factor.

  36. guero Aug 9th 2017 at 06:29 pm 36

    LarK, I am truly impressed.

  37. Powers Aug 10th 2017 at 10:35 am 37

    Vulcan with a Mullet: See, this is what I was talking about with people missing the point of the comic.

    There is no need to say that this isn’t common among millennials because the comic already agrees with that idea.

  38. Mary Ellen Aug 10th 2017 at 05:07 pm 38

    My iPod was named Iggy. Iggy Pod.

  39. Meryl A Aug 15th 2017 at 03:19 am 39

    We tend to call the GPS devices “her” or “she”. Robert calls the one that came in the RV Bedelia - she is a pain both in terms of problems with the brand of GPS she is and the fact that the RV is a Chevy van which has all sorts of odd electrical things - such as unless the driver’s door is opened the electricity from such things as the radio (which this RV is part of) do not shut off. (In my Equinox when I stop in the parking garage in Queens and have to wait for a space to open up, I have to open the door and close it each time I move forward or electrical things - such as the light on the radio - stay on.) Bedelia will also come on at random times, slide forward from the radio and then slide back into place and go off.

    No name for my cell phones (I tend to keep the old ones around for non-cell phone things, such as their games) other than deary or sweetie or such. I do tend to talk to inanimate objects, such as remarking while decorating the Christmas tree to the ornaments not to worry as there is room for all on the tree. I also pat the cars and tell them to take care of each other we leave home when going on a trip in the RV and then pat them hello when home and I presume the van and RV to be male and the car to be female for some reason.

  40. Olivier Aug 16th 2017 at 08:19 am 40

    There’s an old Simpsons episode where Homer explains Bart about naming putters (”Your putter’s name is Charlene”).
    There also was a Benny Hill gag with slot machines : the persuasive gambler knows how to entice the machines for cash (some are male and some are female : you have to adapt your compliments).
    I used to give names to the biggest spiders in the basement.

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