What does the obidos in Amazon.com's database string mean?
December 12, 2003 1:13 PM   Subscribe

What does the obidos in Amazon.com's database string mean?
posted by plemeljr to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
 
As in http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0521810086 - I guess I was just curious.
posted by plemeljr at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2003


Damn, I've been wondering about that for years, too...
posted by davidmsc at 1:17 PM on December 12, 2003


I don't know, but here's an interesting and vaguely humourous USENET thread on this subject.

Did you know there's an "obidos-bot" that Amazon uses to crawl web pages for links back to their catalog?
posted by rschram at 1:22 PM on December 12, 2003


Obidos is a jungle town in Brazil, situated on the Amazon river...
posted by xiffix at 1:29 PM on December 12, 2003


What I want to know is what the cromulent in Staples' query strings means. A Simpsons reference?
posted by staggernation at 1:35 PM on December 12, 2003


I believe it's just an internal name for a software package, named after the jungle town. They have other similarly-themed software packages if you watch the URLs.

Oh, and the obidos-bot is something I put together. It's the script that checks for book links used by Weblog Bookwatch. I named it after the Amazon software named after the town because it was originally just looking for Amazon links.
posted by pb at 1:37 PM on December 12, 2003


Yep, we (I'm an amazon.com drone) have a number of software packages named after places related to the Amazon River and it's area. Obidos is the name of the region from which the Amazon fans out into its vast delta. We also use "varzaea" in URLs in the marketplace area - has to do with a large rich forest near the Amazon river that floods every year. (on preview - pb got it right).
posted by kokogiak at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2003


Gah - I got part of that wrong - Obidos is near the swiftest and narrowest area of the Amazon river. You get the gist, though.
posted by kokogiak at 1:55 PM on December 12, 2003


Only tangentially related, but you can shorten the URLs by using 'o' instead of 'exec/obidos' -- for example, http://www.amazon.com/o/ASIN/0553380966 is the same as http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0553380966/.
posted by Aaorn at 1:56 PM on December 12, 2003


I'm gonna go out on a limb here, but AskMetafilter - stay with me, now - absolutely rocks! I'd always wondered about obidos too. Thanks, all.

And staggernation, that's a good one too, though it's pretty obvious it has to come from there.
posted by soyjoy at 2:02 PM on December 12, 2003


And all this time I thought obidos was Amazon's little private homage to Porky Pig: "obidos, obidos, obidos, oh buy de book already!"
I read the note and still couldn't resist
posted by wendell at 2:09 PM on December 12, 2003


soyjoy already said it, but this was worth wading through all of today's questions for. Thanks.
posted by yerfatma at 2:27 PM on December 12, 2003


Hey, thanks all! I'm always fascinated with people's naming conventions. I use mathematicians when naming drives/objects/computers. So I have Euclid as the server [this was before watching pi], Riemann as a printer server, Newton, Pascal, etc. as computers. The best is when we gave a new computer to a guy working on our more far out projects. We named the computer Feynman because we never knew whether or not he was actually on the same plane of existence with us.
posted by plemeljr at 2:33 PM on December 12, 2003


I always assumed it was "online book information data operating system" or something. That's cooler.
posted by kindall at 2:42 PM on December 12, 2003


I always assumed it was "online book information data operating system"

What did you think AMAZON stood for?
posted by yerfatma at 4:07 PM on December 12, 2003


'Nother tidbit, if you didn't know - Amazon.com was originally founded as "Cadabra.com" by Bezos in 1994. This was abandoned, or so the story goes, because it sounded too much like "cadaver.com" when spoken aloud.
posted by kokogiak at 4:25 PM on December 12, 2003


What did you think AMAZON stood for?

Big women, much snoo-snoo.
posted by kindall at 4:33 PM on December 12, 2003


staggernqation, here's urbandictionary on cromulant.

I seem to remember it being used as hacker slang for "crufty", full of ugly gunk, back in the 80s, but senility is setting in and so I wouldn't bet on it.
posted by fuzz at 4:59 PM on December 12, 2003


if the library was like amazon
posted by BigCalm at 5:12 PM on December 12, 2003


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