Channeling Wi-Fi's Hungry Spirit

Crowding in the network neighborhood

If you distrust five of your senses and the sixth isn't returning your calls, it may be that your environment has become sodden with microwaves. Too airy and hectic to be detected using old-school sensory apparatus, the microwaves that transport your digital diet through the walls and hallways of your neighbor's house are the same energy puffs your neighbor uses to meet his own daily requirements, which is just a fancy way of saying that the hood's available bandwidth is inversely proportional to its appetite. This is why your wireless router is such a reliable source of madness.

While many have approached this problem from the two-pronged vantage point afforded by inSSIDer and Nmap, diplomacy shouldn't be entirely ruled out. If your neighbor is a reasonable man, he will immediately understand how delusional he is to believe that there are eleven Wi-Fi channels in the 2.4 GHz band; if your neighbor is a reasonable woman, she will immediately see that there is room for only three. On the other hand, if both stream terabytes at 300 Mbps and laugh when you demand they use the 5 GHz band instead, it may be time to go home and rethink your stubborn refusal to give up your Tomatoed 54GL.

History bites its own tail, and technology never does. Radio silence will come again, but how many senses will you have by then?



  1. Jeff, your EKG (or your Eek! KG) here tells me you are watching too much daytime TV. And you should always, always wear your aluminum-foil hat, like mother says.

  2. Hi Tom. Yeah, the beats are wild & crazy for sure. I suspect my neighbor is beaming high-energy frequencies (or low-energy freakiness) at me, but so far the hat has foiled his evil plan.

    Thanks for popping in!

  3. History bites it's own tail indeed but technology has before and continues to do so Aren't the constant pursuits for superior firepower/fighting ability proof of that?

    First chariots then the superior training/formations of the Hoplites, then the cavalries, French crossbows, British longbows, Knights, Pikemen, Canons, Guns, Bombs, Gas, Bi-planes, Jets, Nukes... what next?

    Technology is just the pursuit of the advantage over your neighbor repeated ad infinitum.
    I really enjoyed this though. Your writing is always thought provoking.

  4. Hello, Fyodor. The difference I see is that history's circular habits generally result in tail-biting, while technology has never returned to its points of origin, but moves forward at an ever-quickening pace. It does seem likely that the technologies of war (nuclear in particular) will bite us in the collective tail, but that doesn't mean technology is intrinsically evil. It can be used to improve, and save, lives, and for opening channels of communication that simply weren't possible in the recent past. Our free, global printing presses (i.e. blogs), for example. Personally, I'm thrilled that I can listen to my favorite hometown radio station no matter where I go, or educate myself according to my own needs and schedule.

    By the way, none of this should be taken to mean that I disagree with "The Web" on your blog. It's just that technology doesn't decide how it will be used, or whether it will be used at all. If we're enslaved by it, it's because we allowed it. Free will, same as it ever was.

    Thanks for allowing me to provoke you. :o

  5. I agree completely. Technology is not evil at all I just question the notion of progress when it is simply framed in a technological sense. Is it really progress when technology amplifies our weaknesses just as much as our strengths?

    We do have a greater capacity to heal, to speak, to explain our natural world. But, we also have a much greater capacity to destroy, to enslave, to waste away what little time we have.

    So I agree: Technology itself is not evil, humans on the other hand... We all have our issues.