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... anyone who has several computers on a network or even just a personal tower and a laptop?
The name of any Mac on an active network is determined by the name given to that particular Mac under 'Sharing' via System Preferences under 'Computer Name.' The house 'shortname' is irrelevant in this manner and is not used. The shortname only comes into play if you decide to connect to that particular Mac to swap files between the two. In that case, the network drive icon that will appear on your desktop will be labeled with the shortname of the user account you're connecting to to swap data with - and that's only if you're connecting directly to it's home folder (user account). If you decide to connect to the actual root of the hard drive and not the user account, then the shortname doesn't ever come into play, as the network drive icon that appears in that case will be of the name of the hard drive you're connecting to (typically 'Macintosh HD' unless it was renamed by the user). That being said, there is little real reason to change the shortname save for appearance purposes (i.e.; your shortname has a spelling mistake within it).
 
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