My new phone needs a name, I've decided.

The old phone didn't really have one. I called it "the droidbrick", to distinguish it from its predecessor, "the flip phone," which was in turn differentiated from its antecedent, "the Nokia brick". It was a remarkably simple creature for something that claimed to be a smartphone. It ran Android, so Google Play recognized it, but pretty much the only things Google would install were Solitaire and Sudoku. It tried, but it was more convinced it was helping than it was actually helpful.

I don't name things until they're complicated enough to get cranky. The new phone has crossed the threshold into chaotic behavior. I expect it would be stochastic if I could know and understand its state down to a sufficiently nitpicky level, but up here on the user interface, it has already started displaying unexpected reactions to the stabs I take at the touchscreen.

Other, simpler devices have gone wrong on me before. I buy $20 MP3 players because I know full well I'll destroy them, but when they break, they break in obvious fashion. One of the clicker buttons will stop responding, or the battery doesn't hold a charge, or the headphone jack will go dead in the left channel. I know what's wrong, and I know that either it's impossible to fix, or not worth fixing, because there's no way to get into the widget's case without using a hand grenade.

[Used to buy them, actually. I had to switch to using the phone for that so I would stop forgetting it at home. I am capable of leaving the house without all manner of incredibly important items, but if I try to go anywhere without a music player, I start wanting to slap people on the train. The last survivor is a 4GB Sansa Clip+ which works fine if it's charging or running, but has some sort of short circuit that drains the battery in an hour or two if it's unplugged and off. It's currently attached to a pair of $6 clearance padded studio 'phones, with the cord wound around the headband, in a kludged-up version of these things. Can't really use it outside the house, since I can't hear traffic through those and the battery dies too quickly, but they're handy for practicing with the hoops.

Continuing with my long-standing tradition of outwitting myself, I have also bought a cheap wallet case for the new phone, so that I can also no longer manage to leave the apartment without my ID, debit card, CharlieCard, or the discount fobs for the various local drugstores and supermarkets. The only reason I haven't permanently attached my keys to it is that Jazmin and I gotten into the habit of hanging them on the hook by the door. If I quit, she might quit, and I don't want to lose my quick visual indicator of who's home and who's not.]

The Alcatel phone sometimes just... does things. I've been trying to install the Habitica app off and on for about a week now, and it just won't. I don't know why. There is no apparent reason the download keeps failing. There's room on the phone storage and the SD card. Play says it's compatible with the phone. Everything should work. The error message is just "couldn't download". I have no idea if the Habitica servers are dropping the connection or Comcast is providing spotty service or if the phone is just randomly spitting up on me.

I have a healthy respect for unpredictability. I'd rather not have an adversarial relationship with my devices, but if it's going to get eigenwillig on me, I need to give it an ID tag so that the other gizmos know which one I'm yelling at.

The apartment only kind of has a theme; the laptop I'm typing on is Natasha and Jazmin's fancy newer one is Jarvis. The Chromecast stick has been dubbed Coulson. On the other hand, the netbook hooked to the TV is just called Emcee, my other laptop is Maleficent, and my 3G Kindle's drive name is THEGUIDE. I don't know what Jazmin's phone is called, as it's not discoverable on the network.

Any suggestions? I've had a suggestion of Shodan, but the phone is not particularly malevolent, just sometimes puzzling, and I would like to avoid naming it after anything whose main character trait is KILL ALL HUMANS.


  1. The Imp or the Dis-Organizer, after Vime's P(ersonal) D(emonic) A(ssistant)?

    Dummy or Hey You, after Jarvis's inferiors?

    Magic Mirror?

  2. Call it "Friday", one of Tony Stark's other AIs.

  3. Birdman of Alcatel?


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