August 6, 2020

The meaning behind “Tardis Labs”

So, back in the day I used to be on IRC. IRC is an old, ooooold, decentralized chat system. It’s actually older than the World Wide Web. It’s probably older than many people reading this.

Anyway, back in those days I used an IRC client called mIRC. mIRC had a scripting language, which would let you write scripts that could interact with the IRC server you were on, and automate any manner of task you cared to automate.

Being a programming nerd, I wrote lots of mIRC scripts.

In order to test these scripts (without disrupting the actual channels I was in) I created a separate channel (which, on IRC, pretty much any old jackass can do) for testing purposes.

I called it #tardislab.

(This was long before the concept of ‘hashtags’. On IRC # was just the preface for every channel name.)

To me, this was the notional place in the TARDIS which the Doctor might conceivably tinker with any manner of thing. Like K-9 for instance. Which, uncoincidentally, was the name of one of my scripts.

When it came time to register my own vanity domain, a name came to mind that was so obvious, it only took me a couple weeks to realize it: tardislabs.com. The domain isn’t anything special; it’s really just a place to hold a permanent email address, and somewhere to park any crap I feel like dumping onto the web. But sometimes, when some app wants me to name an organization I work for, I’ll jokingly put down “Tardis Labs”; as if it’s an actual company.

So, for anyone that’s wondering what the name Tardis Labs means… it’s basically an old in-joke.

An in-joke that is probably older than many people reading this.

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