Tuesday, December 8, 2015


On a recent journey to that City of Bright Lights and Shattered Dreams (I mean, of course, New York), I noted that Houston’s Bush Intercontinental Airport offers free Wi-Fi, as did the hotel at which I stayed. This is a great service to travelers who wish to connect their laptops, smartphones, tablets, digital audio players, and the like to the Internet.

I know that the “Wi” of “Wi-Fi” is a shortened form of “Wireless,” but I wondered about the “Fi.”  Let’s see now, “Hi-Fi” means “High Fidelity,” “Sci-Fi” means “Science Fiction,” and the U. S. Marine motto sometimes shortened to “Semper Fi” is “Semper Fidelis.” So “Wi-Fi” obviously means “Wireless….uh….Wireless….what?”

It turns out the “Fi” doesn’t really mean anything.  It’s just a catchy term, analogous to “Hi-Fi,” coined in 1999 by the Interbrand Corporation and trademarked by The Wi-Fi Alliance. It is a little easier to remember than Wi-Fi’s official name: “The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers 802.11 Direct Sequence Standards.”

The Bard of Buffalo Bayou is a devotee of Whi-Fi—which in his case stands for Whisky Fifths.

            A very shy fly endeavored to try
            To fly as high as the pie in the sky.
            But close to the sun, he began to fry.                       
            He’s buzzing now in the sweet by-and-by.

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