Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wireless Beyond Silliness

Q says: My parents are being silly.

As we were driving to the office today, SwingDaddy pointed out a pod attached to a nearby streetlight. "I saw people installing those last week." He paused for a moment. "Their truck was labeled Metro-Fi, so we might be getting city-wide wireless Internet access."

I thought for a moment. "Their name could certainly imply 'Metro Wi-Fi.' Of course, it might be that we're getting a city-wide stereo system: Metro Hi-Fi. Or maybe the 'fi' is from 'fee fi fo fum' and we're getting a city-wide bakery delivery system. You could go to a lamppost, say "Rye, please," and a nice loaf of bread would drop out."

SwingDaddy is looking at me with an odd expression, but he gets into the game. "What about a home financing system for urban areas? Metro Re-Fi."

The silliness* only deteriorated from there.

We also wondered about the origins of the word. After all, the "wi" is probably from "wireless," but "fi?" It sounds like "hi-fi," the old term for "high fidelity" recording quality for stereos and such, but I'm not familiar with a "wireless fidelity" term in use.

Wikipedia to the rescue. It turns out that "Wi-Fi" was originally a brand name for wireless LANs that became so common in daily use that it's lost its brand protection. There's no meaning to the "fi" part, besides its catchy sound. Something new every day.

* I'm quite fond of the word silly. It's such a fun word to say. Silly, silly, silly. Back when SwingDaddy and I were dating, people would wonder if SwingDaddy was a marriage prospect or just a fling and ask me if we "were serious." I would reply, "No, we're quite silly, actually."

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