New Adventures in Wi-Fi

Personal blog of writer and technologist San Sharma

Posts by San Sharma

Simon Says

Posted on March 1, 2015

Ten years ago, I found myself in a rare and privileged position: a graduate with a job and a place of my own. I was young, I had money for the first time, and I spent it with all the thrift of Tom Hanks in Big, filling my apartment with pizza boxes and remote control cars and – what I can clearly see now as a cry for help – a chimpanzee called ‘Simon’. Most stories involving loners living with chimpanzees end with their faces being ripped off. This one ends with me, lifting up a Hawaiian shirt and unscrewing a battery compartment. Simon was a robot chimpanzee with sensors that responded to light and sound and pleaded for its plastic banana three times a…

Do you see what I see?

Posted on July 1, 2014

I got my first pair of glasses when I was 11 years old. I chose a bookish, horn-rimmed pair, thinking they’d make me look like Clark Kent. Even at that age, I knew to under promise and over deliver. I was never going to be Superman, but I could manage mild-mannered – maybe more. 10 years on, and it’s not just Clark Kent wearing the horn-rims. It’s Superman too. Google Glass promises not only to fix your eyesight (if it needs fixing), but to repair those other human weaknesses: the inability to look at a map without taking our eyes off the road, to send a text message without using our fat fingers, to slyly take a photo or a video without being noticed.…

Nobody moves like Michael Jackson.

Posted on June 25, 2014

I don’t often write about Michael Jackson on my blog. I don’t often write my blog, to be fair, but I’m aware that my fandom can be uncomfortable for other people. It was uncomfortable when I did a full, crotch-grabbing performance of ‘Billie Jean’ at a wedding, it was uncomfortable when I tried to curl my hair, and it’s always uncomfortable when I shout “he was acquitted on ten counts!” in people’s faces when they discuss those scandalous accusations. But it’s the fifth anniversary of Michael Jackson’s untimely death, I’ve had a drink and I’ve been – what the fan community calls – ‘Michaeling‘. So, rather than talk about those allegations, the shrinking nose or the fate of Bubbles, let’s take a look at the performances…


Posted on May 13, 2012

Awkwardly addressing the elephant in the room – probably by talking to the wrong end or something – we discussed the topic of awkwardness at the pub on Friday night. But this was not like five people discussing the moon landing or, I don’t know, success or anything – this was five experts in their field, contemplating their craft, like Kevin Spacey on ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ or, rather, David Blaine on GMTV. Apparently, a full moon packs out A&E. We don’t know what the moon was doing on Friday, but it was a particularly awkward night. Me and Brook’s sister Ruth wandered into the wrong exhibition opening (but, as it turns out, the right place to pinch some booze). Olly found himself not locking…

My Love Affair with Computers

Posted on March 29, 2010

You could say that I was never properly introduced to computers. At school we shared one between three and the other boys seemed to know them much better, negotiating them as they would girls at the school disco. As such, I hung back, dreading my turn. We’d bump teeth, I thought, step on each others toes. We didn’t really get to know one another until my dad brought one home, unannounced, from God Knows Where (probably the same place he got my mountain bike or the VCR). The Amstrad PC-1640 sat on the dining room table, eating actual floppy disks. Sometimes it took two to get going and you had to pull a latch down over its mouth so it didn’t spit them out.…

Movember Mo’ Problems

Posted on November 30, 2009

Today is the last day of Movember, an annual, month-long, moustache-growing charity event to raise funds and awareness for men’s health issues. Now, I may not be the best ambassador for men’s health: having fallen through the cracks of the NHS, I’ve not been to the doctor in over two years and I don’t know if this growth is normal, but – hey! – I signed up anyway, and have spent the month growing a moustache in the name of charidee. But it nearly didn’t happen. Movember rules state ‘Mo Bros’ must start the month clean shaven, which I did, using the only shaving paraphernalia I could find in the flat – a bottle of Herbal Essence and Brook’s lady shave. I’d kept a…

The Swami’s Visit

Posted on October 27, 2009

Quite often, what we mistake for our earliest memories are, in fact, our fathers’ first camcorder outings. So I won’t claim this as my own, but I do remember seeing, at least, a home video of a man known to my family as simply… the Swami. The Swami, which is an honorific title, is a holy man who tours the world, staying for a few days at a time in Hindu homes. And since the South Asian Diaspora is amongst the furthest flung, the Swami is a very well travelled man. In the home video, he is shown praying in the flat above my parents’ corner shop in Newport, Shropshire. Not his most glamourous gig, I imagine, but for us – my two sisters…