James O'Neill's Blog

September 16, 2008

Need a product code name ? (Dunnington)

Filed under: General musings — jamesone111 @ 9:40 am

In past posts I’ve talked about a mythical Microsoft product named "Basingstoke". Microsoft’s legal folks recommend that if you have to come up with a codename for something Geographical is good – they’re fairly safe from a trademark point of view, and I recall in the mists of time one product team which used the names of places with Whiskey distilleries for the code names, but someone who wanted to have "Project Red-Bull" and who was told in no uncertain terms why he had to think again.

Basingstoke isn’t the kind of place which would have a product named after it; I’ve vowed that if I ever get to Redmond I’ll honour my family’s Humberside heritage and get a product named "Scunthorpe".

I was reading something internal with someone saying "Intel have announce the Dunnington processor – when will we clarify our support for it ?" (answer "Be patient, grasshopper" ) I tapped "Dunnington into IE’s search box- which I have defaulting to Live search – what I got was some news articles about the chip at the top of the page,  (good) but underneath I get Dunnington through the Ages, Driffield Online – The Digital Community for the Yorkshire Wolds. — what ? I still have Google as a backup search engine, and Google.com looks at my IP address and routes me to UK, no news and at top of the list is Dunnington Cricket Club followed by Dunnington through the ages again. [Update – news on the chip is now in 5th place]. It may cause the club secretary of Dunnington CC some head scratching when he gets the bill from his web site hoster and finds that a huge number of hits are coming from people clicking the "I feel lucky" button on Google.co.uk (on .com it takes you to a genealogy site).  

Dunnington is a village on the Yorkshire side of the river Humber not twenty miles from where my Grandfather was born. But oh the rich seam product code names on that Yorkshire Wolds page: whilst Scunthorpe has names for minor releases (Wrawby, Scawby,and Scotter  jump off the map) on the other side of the river the wolds can offer (among others) Barmston, Dringhoe, Emmotland , Fimber, Gembling,  Helperthorpe, Hempholme , Kiplingcotes, Lissett, Nafferton , Octon , Rotsea, Skipsea ,Thixendale, Ulrome and Wetwang  The last of these I have seen in Douglas Adams and John Lloyd’s The Meaning of Liff a book that set out to get "these words down off the signposts  [and] earning their keep". 

There’s got to be a whole new possibility for exploiting search engines here. If you are a pretty village which wants to attract tourists, get Intel , Microsoft and the like to use your village name as the code name for a new product. 

This post originally appeared on my technet blog.


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