Video: The Hero of Grandparent Wifi

By Alexis C. Madrigal

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. 

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/03/video-the-hero-of-grandparent-wifi/284375/