Video: The Hero of Grandparent Wifi

A time capsule from the era of Compaq Presarios and the Geek Squad.
More

Anyone can make a funny video, but it’s the mark of the master to create an artifact of the times with that funny video.

And that’s what we have here in the Ballad of the Wifi Hero, based on the McSweeney's story "IN WHICH I FIX MY GIRLFRIEND’S GRANDPARENTS’ WIFI AND AM HAILED AS A CONQUERING HERO" by Mike Lacher. 

The list of technological details that Lacher, and the video, incorporate is long. Allow me to list a few:

  • Hotmail
  • Usatoday dot com
  • Compaq Presario
  • Internet Explorer 6
  • The Google
  • The Yahoo
  • the Router (so capitalized)
  • Linksys
  • The Geek Squad
  • “telephone cords plugged into Ethernet jacks, AC adapters plugged into phone jacks, a lone VGA cable wrapped in a firm knot around an Ethernet cord.”
  • Windows XP
  • Norton AntiVirus
  • “the Yahoo toolbar, the MSN toolbar, the Ask.com toolbar, and the AOL toolbar”
  • “the TiVo was doing something weird with the VCR”

Nothing I've seen quite captures this mode of Internet usage quite as well as the story and video. While San Francisco's cafes may hiss with sleek, quiet MacBook Airs, and many older folks glory in their iPads, there are still millions of people plugging away on their Compaq Presarios, and this variety of experience is easily forgotten.

But make no mistake: This is a dying way of (digital) life, which will pass as surely as AOL and Compuserve. When it has been completely eradicated, when Grandma Glass is a thing, our descendants can return to this humorous time capsule and attempt to decode these lives and these times. 

Jump to comments
Presented by

Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Do People Love Times Square?

A filmmaker asks New Yorkers and tourists about the allure of Broadway's iconic plaza

Video

A Time-Lapse of Alaska's Northern Lights

The beauty of aurora borealis, as seen from America's last frontier

Video

What Do You Wish You Learned in College?

Ivy League academics reveal their undergrad regrets

Video

Famous Movies, Reimagined

From Apocalypse Now to The Lord of the Rings, this clever video puts a new spin on Hollywood's greatest hits.

Video

What Is a City?

Cities are like nothing else on Earth.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Technology

Just In