HOW A WIRELESS ROUTER GOT ME A DATE
As an undergrad at New York University, I lived in an off-campus apartment on Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue. It was in a five-story prewar building with more than 20 apartments.
Of course, I needed reliable Internet, so I signed up for cable Internet access and bought a Cisco-Linksys WRT54GL router—highly recommended if you’re in the market. I set everything up just the way I wanted it, complete with hardwired access at my desk and even a wireless signal on the roof of the building.
After a few weeks, though, I noticed a serious drop in performance. After a bit of sleuthing, I found out one of my neighbors had cracked my network password and was stealing my bandwidth! I promptly changed my password, upped my security to WPA2 and changed my network name to “mine not yours, you dirty hipster,” knowing he’d get the message.
Sure enough, he got the message and fired back with his own new network name: “I made it mine, and I’ll do it again.” Needless to say, it was on. We went back and forth for a few weeks with increasingly not-safe-for-work network names.
Then in August, my super hosted a party and invited tenants to have a few drinks on the roof and get to know one another. It was a couldn’t-happen-anywhere-but-New-York type of party. It was just as awkward as you could imagine given how thin the walls in the building were. Finally, someone asked, “So who’s the dirty hipster, and whose network isn’t his?” Before long, I found out the entire building had been following our network ID flame war—a few people even thought about joining in. It was an incredible icebreaker that led to quite a few new friends and, most astonishing of all, even a date.
I had no idea when I bought my new router that it would be the center of attention at a rooftop party, but it turned out to be just the thing we needed to get the conversation rolling and was a surprisingly useful way to get know my neighbors.