These Ancient Runes Gave Bluetooth Its Name

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David Grossman
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From Popular Mechanics

The names of technological tools often carry the same weight as the tools themselves-in some cases, words like Google or Uber become part of the lexicon. So it is with Bluetooth. Named after a Danish king, the technology has become standard worldwide, giving a name that's thousands of years old new life n the world of technology.

Tom Scott explains the connection.

At the time of the naming, Jim Kardach had been reading Frans G. Bengtsson's historical novel The Long Ships , which involves Harald Bluetooth. Bluetooth has gained the reputation in history for uniting diverse causes, in his cases the different factions of Denmark under a single banner, the type of thing that more famous historical figures Genghis Khan are known for as well. But unlike Khan, known mainly for his violence the often-peaceful Bluetooth was much less known outside of Denmark.

"Where did I hear about the name Bluetooth?" wrote Kardach in an essay on the subject. "This originated on an earlier business trip to Toronto, Canada where Ericsson's Sven Mathesson and I were presenting our technology proposal to an existing SIG; Sven pitching as MC-Link, and me pitching as Biz-RF."

Moving past those generic names, Kardach excitedly notes that "Harald had united Denmark and Christianized the Danes! It occurred to me that this would make a good codename for the program. At this time I also created a PowerPoint foil with a version of the Runic stone where Harald held a cellphone in one hand and a notebook in the other and with a translation of the runes."

He also notes that another choice for the popular tool was Flirt, with the tagline: "close, but not touching." Ancient kings make for a far better story.

Source: Tom Scott

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