If you wait long enough, remain patient, and sift through hundreds of applications, you’ll find a good one; a jewel, one that sparkles, yet is oh so simple.
Do you have a first name? You will love “Name Voyager.” It’s a simple yet elegant yet complex Java-based applet that works in your browser. In this case, Safari.
It’s the Baby Name Wizard’s Name Voyager and it’s about the slickest web-based browser application I’ve ever seen.
All of us have a first name. Of the 1,000 or so most popular first names, most can be traced back a few hundreds years. Mary, John, Alexander, whatever.
Try the Name Voyager and you’ll be hooked and may end up checking all of the top 1,000 first names, male or female, in the database.
What’s Name Voyager do that’s so cool?
First, it shows you names in a graphical area chart output. For example, enter the name “Alexis” (that’s me), but only spell “Al.” What you see is that “Al” and all the dreivatives show up as an area chart dating back to the 1800s.
Second, you get to see when names were popular, when they faded from popularity, and what replaced them. All in a window in Safari.
Back in those days, Alberta, Alice, and Alma were very popular. Then, somewhere around the 1920s, those names fell out of favor. That continued until the names were replaced in popularity by others beginning with “Al.”
In recent years, it’s been Alexa, Alexis, Alexandra, Allison, and Alyssa, on the girl’s side.
On the boy’s side it was Albert, Alfred, Allen, and Alvin about 125 years ago. More recently, Alexander and Alex and Alehandro have become popular.
What does the Name Voyager have to do with the Mac?
It’s cool. It’s elegant. It captures your visual and mental senses, even if only for a few moments.
As the Mac is the way to use a personal computer, The Baby Name Wizard’s “NameVoyager” is the way to look at names.
Try it. Girls names. Boys names. Both together at the same time. You’ll see what I mean. It works wonderfully in Apple’s Safari browser.
I’ve tested NameVoyager in Opera and Firefox. Same result it works great. NameVoyager is a remarkably intuitive way to look at data spread out over a long period of time.
I would like to see this same technology applied to other data sources; traffic patterns, voting patterns, election results, opinion surveys, and so on.
The names in the database come from the Social Security Administration and reflect the Top 1000 names from now back through the 1880s in the United States.
The names also reflect the frequency of use in the US, rather than the actual popularity at the name.
Very interesting is that a century ago names such as George, William, and Christopher were often listed by the SSA as abbreviations; Geo., Wm., Christ., and so on. Even those names are listed; sometimes boys were mistakenly listed as girls, hence the odd use of some names many years ago.
Also cool is the fact that you may enter just the first few letters of a name, girl or boy, into NameVoyager. The results are still nearly instant. Add another letter to the name, and the results change, reflecting name usage changeds of over a century of Social Security data.
Windows users without a recent version of Java installed may have difficult viewing the NameVoyager. I’m using Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.3 with the latest Safari, Firefox, and Opera.
The Mac and Safari are cutting edge. Again. Is your name popular today? Did it used to be? Does it even make the top 1,000 names?
Jack D. Miller
Impressive. I can see many, many uses for this kind of Java applet, Mac or Windows. “Jack” was very popular until about 60 years ago and then usage dropped like a rock around Baby Boomer time.
Obviously, ‘Bambi’ isn’t a hugely popular name but shows some usage from the 1940s through the 1970s. Hmmm. That’s about the same time as family started calling little girl ‘Barbara Marie’ a Bambi. Amazing.
Click Here to try out the NameVoyager on your Mac. Works best with Mac OS X.