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SOFTWARE PACKAGES, INTERNET OFFER NAMES FROM ABBEY TO ZOE

SHARE SOFTWARE PACKAGES, INTERNET OFFER NAMES FROM ABBEY TO ZOE

The Internet plea was posted at 11:41 p.m. and was perhaps a sign of sleepless nights as well as a sign of the times.

"Help Name Our Baby!!" reads the Internet site, conceived by ronlau@primenet.com on May 10.Not so long ago, naming baby was a relatively private affair between two parents, often with the aid of nosy grandparents and a few baby name books. Now data bases and the World Wide Web are transforming yet another human ritual.

There are at least three software packages to help parents find the perfect moniker. And the most adventurous parents are going public with their search.

Mark and Heather Horstmeier turned to the Web earlier this year for help in naming their baby girl. The Horstmeiers posted a list of their favorites and asked Net surfers to vote for their favorite or add to the list with a suggestion of their own.

Shortly before Heather went into labor, the list had grown to 17 names, from Abbey to Zoe. Olga was also on the list, as were Chance, Temptra and Maisy.

When the big day finally arrived, Mark Horstmeier described the details of Heather's labor, then posted this description of the final name selection.

"While I watch the nurses do the assessment in the nursery, I ask our baby what name she wants to have. When I suggest Samantha (a leader in the voting), she gets [upset] (she doesn't look like a Samantha, anyway). I try the next two names, Bailey and Moira. She raises her hand to Moira both times. Now I have to convince her mom."

The couple settled on Moira Bailey Horstmeier. The middle name had been suggested by a voter.

Trisha and Steve Klein of Lake Forest, Calif., have also put out a plea on the Net for a baby name ("You can forget about Calvin Klein and Kevin Klein," they warn), as have the Lathams, the Gateses (who have ruled out Golda and Flood) and a couple identified only as E and H.

Their favorites so far include Tiberius, Wyatt, Ignatius and Shemp - a selection that seems both odd and typical at a time when John and Mary just won't do.

Like so much else these days, there just are too many choices. One baby name software package boasts 29,000 names (although, as another software company owner notes, "beyond 8,000 names you get into the wacky stuff.")

Of course if you want wacky, you don't have to spend your money on software. The Lathams have gotten the following suggestions after asking for help on the Internet:

Chanah, Boymerang, Brimsley, Rasputin, Lucifer, Zorba, Baptista, Blasphemia Anathema Legion, Euele and "Jack, short for Jackal."

- Software baby name packages include:

"Compendium of Names," by Dogwood Technical Services (29,000 names), $35 plus $5 shipping and handling (no charge if downloaded), 800-667-6446 or (http://www.islandnet.com/-dtsi/compend.htm).

"Namease" (12,500 names), $19.95, 800-2925-4080, also available at Barnes and Noble and some software outlets.