Unix (which is what Mac OSX is) was designed for colleges and businesses. There are, in those institutions, dozens of different computers, and thousands of different users.
So the first thing to get straight is that users (human beings) are separate and distinct from computers (boxes of electronics.)
All the users want access to all the computers.
To do this, all the computers have to be on the same network.
To avoid confusion then, the COMPUTER NAMES are all different.
By using different COMPUTER NAMES, the USERS can mount any or all of them, and tell which is which.
So, for example, let’s say there are 9 computers on the network, and they are named “one” “two” “three” “four” “five” “six” “seven” “eight” and “nine”.
You could be running on computer “three” and have “one” and “eight” mounted on your desktop.
Everything is still clear and understandable, eh? No confusion about which computer is which?
Next, let’s assume you have 26 USERS (human beings) who want access to all 9 COMPUTERS. Let’s say their 26 names are “Alpha Name” “Beta Name” “Charlie Name”… and so on thru to “Zero Name”.
The USER creates his own account on each of the nine COMPUTERS.
Why? Because with all those people (26 of them) on the computer, we don’t want private information, or individually purchased applications; or passwords etc, to be discoverable by the other 25 people; because some are administrators of the entire computer, and some cannot do administration things. So each can have is own desktop, and settings… etc.
So Alpha Name creates his user account on COMPUTER “one” and then goes to COMPUTER “two” and does the >exact same thing<... and so on down the line to computer "nine". On each of these computers, he creates an account named exactly "Alpha Name". The COMPUTERS automatically supplies a "short (user) name" for the account, which is the USER's first name, in lower case. So the "short name" of USER "Alpha Name" is "alpha." >AT THE TIME OF ACCOUNT CREATION< the USER can select a different "short name" from the computer-suggested lower-case first name. So "Alpha Name" may decide she likes "honeybear" as a short name instead of "alpha"... she can make that change when the account is established. Just like the full USER name, the "short name" is tied and permanently fixed to that account. Neither can be changed. Why? Because that would allow the defeat the privacy of each user. Still with me? So: COMPUTER "one" has accounts with USER short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". COMPUTER "two" has accounts with USER short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". COMPUTER "three" has accounts with USER short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". COMPUTER "four" has accounts with USER short names for 26 users: "honeybear" "beta" "charlie" "delta"... and on to "zero". Now: USER "honeybear" can choose any one of the COMPUTERS named "one" "two" "three" "four" "five" "six" "seven" "eight" and "nine" and always sign into any or all of them as "honeybear." So: when you choose "go" from the finder to mount a new drive * you are telling it which computer to try to mount, either by name (if you choose "browse") or IP address. Right there, you have specified the computer you want. Next it pops up a dialog with a list of users. That's because you could be any one of the 26 users on that computer, and it has no way of know which one you are unless you choose a user name and supply the password. Once you do that, you are signed into that chosen computer, as that particular user, just was if you were sitting in front of it, and using its own keyboard. Tracy * I almost never do this with my local network, except for the first time. Once I have a remote computer mounted on my desktop, I just create an alias to it, and leave that alias on the desktop. Then when I restart, and want to re-mount that computer, I just click on the alias. Much simpler.