Friday, 16 July 2010

What's In A Name?

I recently became the proud owner of an iPhone. So far it is the only phone I've ever possessed that I've not ended up wanting to throw against a brick wall.

Amongst the many apps now on it is Google Maps, which can pinpoint exactly where I am and give me a walking route to any nearby postcode. I'm currently using it to get me from Cheltenham train station to a BMW dealership about a mile and a half away.

The app uses the 3G network to transfer data, but before doing so will always show me a list of any nearby wifi networks it has found, in case I want to try to jump onto one of those instead.

This has introduced me to the strange world of home wifi network names. Our own family network was named, on the spur of the moment, after a pet cat, but there are clearly people out there who have put some thought and creativity into the matter.

I'm currently on a quiet street of respectable semi-detached houses and two storey blocks of flats. Here my iPhone has found networks named 'the Highland Marches', 'Nightingales Lament', and 'Gracelove'. I find myself looking around trying to guess which of the surrounding, inconspicuous houses might be beaming out such poetic names.

The first two networks are listed as unsecured which means that theoretically I might be able to connect to them without a password. However I almost never try to do this since even at walking pace I would probably be out of range before I had even logged in. I also have a vague, irrational fear of being caught - a front door opening and the occupant striding out to look suspiciously up and down the street before settling their gaze upon me.

Around the next corner are 'Predator' and 'banana', amongst others, and then at the end of the road the tone is lowered by the decidedly unsavoury 'tom blows tramps'.

Does Tom know about this allegation being transmitted throughout the surrounding area? I wonder what the neighbours think.

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