Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Legend

Many of you are wondering how it came to be that Google's new social networking application, Google Buzz was named and how it relates to my nickname. Let me start from the beginning.

When I was too young to accumulate accessible memories for my later years, my father inexplicably called me Buster even though my first name is Robert and middle name is Brian. The legend goes that I was … lets say hard … on objects that came into close proximity. It later occurred to me that while this might have been descriptive of certain notable events in my early life it was probably a reach to describe my entire being in terms of those events.

My father was a doctor with a deep interest in electronics. He was absolutely fascinated with the post WWII potential of electronics in medicine and communication. I was born right after the war ended in 1946. When my family moved from the big town with the only medical school in the state to a little mill town in another state not far away. He set up his electronics shop in our log home overlooking one of the world's great rivers. We affectionately called it the 'ham shack' because dad was an amateur radio operator and had his gear there (KWM-2, Thunderbolt Linear, Tri-Bander beam).

Because we lived close to the bigger city with the medical school, my dad remained on the visiting faculty of the school throughout my childhood. He was inspired by a company that was born the same year I was. Its products appeared to have real value to medicine in general and my dad's specialty, ophthalmology specifically. My dad supported my older brother's boyhood academics to a remarkable degree. My thing was hanging out with him in the ham shack (and its predecessor, next to my bedroom in the basement where he took a correspondence course in electronics).

To make the very long story shorter, Buster got shortened to Buzz. Sibling rivalry expressed itself in me as deep suspicion of the mechanism of academics and a voracious appetite for learning things related to communication and technology. The name just fit better (though I remained somewhat challenging to fragile objects).

So now to my original question. If there is any correlation between my name and Google's handle for their new service it is probably coincidental. Rest assured, I will continue to leverage the coincidence for all its worth to me just as folks who sit on a peace of real estate until the city grows out to them do.

And now you know, what I know about this. Congratulations.

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