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Wednesday, August 29,2012

The world is your study hall

by Allan I. Ross

Study hall used to be either a punishment or a blow off, depending on which side of the C-level you and your GPA lived. It was just you and several other highly motivated crammers — or professional nappers — packed into a quiet room, with anything above a whisper earning a sharp “shh!”

But Wi-Fi has changed all that. Hell, you can probably crank out a well-researched exploration on women’s portrayal in the media on a fairly busy night at the bar. Swinging from hotspot to hotspot is now as easy as Tarzan swinging through the jungle. Is your double mocha cappuccino getting you too jacked up to finish your instant message session with that cute guy helping you with statistics? No problem. Just walk to the bar next door and switch to red wine — and maybe invite him out to continue the seduction process. 

In fact, wireless Internet has become so prevalent, it’s basically second nature. “What do you mean I can’t get a signal?” is the new “What do you mean you don’t have a bathroom?” Coffee houses and apartment courtyards have replaced computer labs as the place to GSD (get shit done). That sound you hear is the drone of empty basement level rooms, PCs firmly plugged into the World Wide Web with old-fashioned Ethernet cables, bare keyboards and barren monitors flashing lonely cursors.

Thanks to Wi-Fi, you can now cruise through the latest viral videos or catch up on old episodes of “Arrested Development” at halftime of the game or while your friend hits the bathroom at the bar. Of course, you can probably also use it to get work done, but that’s not really what the Internet is there for. Where do you think you are, Russia? 

Take a step back and you see that Wi-Fi has changed the face of communication itself.  Skype has become a verb. Sitting in front of your desktop to have a face-to-face with your girlfriend is as outdated as stretching the cord on your landline around the corner so your folks don’t hear you. Wi-Fi has enabled almost instant visual communication with every single corner of the globe. 

So thank you, wireless Internet, for allowing us to keep in touch with each other every second of every day, to enjoy videos of cats falling into bathtubs while we’re on the bus, to keep track of how the game is going at Aunt Mitzie’s funeral and for helping us slog through our Humanities 101 homework at 4 a.m. in a coney island. Oh yeah, and for learning and stuff.

I’ve lived in the area for 11 years, since before Wi-Fi was even a thing, and let me tell you, it’s improved my life immeasurably. I’ve gone from driving around with a phone book under my seat in case I needed to call a tow truck to using an app on my Android to find all the good carryout places within a three-block radius on my way home from the bar. Christ, if you would have told me then I would even have an Android in 2012, I would have told you to shut your Philip K. Dick.



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