1. It’s easy to do book reports when you are connected to the wifi because you can just Google a book report and print it out. It’s also easy to do a book report by actually doing the book report, which is easier if you aren’t fighting all the distractions the Internet has to offer.

  2. “My question, of course, was about the wi-fi.”

    I would say that Mallet assumes wifi, G4 network and phone service are all the same thing.

  3. If by “turning off wifi” we mean turning off the router or internet modem, then, yes, my home phone stops working when we “turn of wifi.”

    Lots of people have IP-based phone service either from their internet provider, or from Ooma, Basic Talk, etc.

    On the other hand, if my internet was down and the MacArthur folks called. they could still leave voicemail.

  4. Frazz is being sarcastic, when he refers to getting a call from the Macarthur grant people, he means the opposite… you don’t get a genius grant for realizing the obvious.

  5. Fewer than half of people in the US have landlines. Most people in the US have smartphones. Most phones support WiFi calling, which doesn’t use your data plan, and can be more reliable in places with dodgy cell service. So… plausibly.

  6. Back before all this tech, C. S. Lewis was able to recognize when a pupil had copied someone else’s paper, which he called “galley slave work” compared to doing your own thinking and writing. Never mind the Macarthur Foundation; let me know if the Cambridge Admissions Office gets in touch.

  7. Daniel J. Drazen, you’re absolutely right. I used to work in the English department’s student lab, helping kids with their writing, and I could tell from a mile away when they’d plagiarized. One of the professors I worked with never bothered to look up where they cribbed from, just handed the paper back with “Resubmit when you’ve written it yourself” on it. AFAIK, no one bothered to protest their innocence, just rewrote and resubmitted. They were dropped a letter grade for their …er… misunderstanding.

  8. Our main phone runs through the router, so, yes, it is a thing. We also pay extra for a landline, because that one works even when the power and WiFi go out. My office has Internet-based phones, so that goes out if the server goes down. This is not a mystery, and the humor/wit works just fine in this one.

  9. :” This is not a mystery, and the humor/wit works just fine in this one.”

    It does, because it’s totally unrelated to whether or not you can get telephone calls when the WiFi is down.

  10. I have an old-fashioned copper landline. I should get rid of it due to cost. I don’t have a cell phone (shocking, I know). I have an iPad without cell capability. I think I can set up wifi calling on it using Google Voice. I haven’t bothered trying.

  11. “If by “turning off wifi” we mean turning off the router or internet modem”

    We don’t.

    That’s turning off the router of internet modem.

    Turning off wifi means either turning off the wireless modem in your computer or setting your smartphone to not use wifi, or to configure your router or internet modem to not transmit wirelessly.

  12. ‘“If by “turning off wifi” we mean turning off the router or internet modem”

    We don’t.’

    People who understand technology speak a very different language from those who don’t. Even smart non-techies might not understand the differences between “turning off wifi” and “disconnecting from the network”.

    The difference is very obvious to you. But not everyone is so savvy.

  13. “People who understand technology speak a very different language from those who don’t.”

    Sure. It’s not limited to technology, either… People who understand (whatever) talk about (whatever) correctly, because they understand it. People who understand how cars work, for example, know the difference between a carburator and a fuel injector and don’t confuse the two.

    Mallett didn’t misuse any technical terms in this cartoon. This cartoon isn’t about anything technical. The joke works just as well if you subsitute “internet” for “wifi”… even though “turning off the Internet” isn’t really a thing… or at least, it hasn’t been since the rtm worm of 1989… because for most people, whether they understand how wireless networks work or not, understand that turning off WiFi disables connectivity to the Internet.

    Side track: Back when I was doing tech support for students that were not IT students, I used to get about one per week… complaints that the Internet didn’t work, because the student had switched off the radio switch on their laptop. Most of them only had to be shown the switch, and have it explained what that switch does, once.

  14. Agreeing with @James Pollock, who needs to “fire up” their WIFI? Who doesn’t keep the router going? Does the Frazz world hook an access point to a dial-up modem? Or need to use dad’s mobile as an access point? Or do kids carry MIFI?

    Why not “fire up” Chrome/Firefox/Brave/Safari (web browser of choice) or Google/Bing/DuckDuckGo (search engine of choice)?

    Regarding WIFI and phones, my mobile carrier (won’t say their name, but it rhymes with “see! no file”) has very poor signal in my home, but I can get those calls on any device with WIFI.

  15. Except when I’m deliberately online, my computer is disconnected from the Internet. I know others who do this.

  16. I understood it as James Pollock explained, in the second comment, with “fire up” meaning “connect to” perhaps; the easy way is to cheat and find a book report on the internet, and the other way is to turn off the internet (whether at the router or the computer or just by pretending it’s not there) and actually do the work. I took the final remark (and here I disagree with James Pollock’s later comment) from Frazz to mean, roughly, if you turn it off too long you’ll end up doing genius work (and not that you would miss the call because the wifi is not “fired up”). (Which you might think Frazz would want to encourage, but maybe he’s going for some reverse psychology….)

  17. @Catlover: “who needs to “fire up” their WIFI? Who doesn’t keep the router going? ”

    My parents!

  18. The router is clear in another room from the computer. It’s where the cable comes in from the outside.

  19. My (high school to college-aged) kids use “wifi” almost synonymously with “internet.” If they don’t have connectivity, they will tell me “the wifi is down” or ask me to “fix the wifi” even though the actual wifi is probably the least likely culprit.

    So I don’t find it implausible that someone might refer to booting up a laptop and proceeding to get online and start searching for materials as “firing up the wifi.” As catlover suggest, “firing up Google”
    might be more likely,but “Google” (or the other choices) are trademarks, so I can understand Mallett (or his syndicate) being reluctant to go that way.

    Now certainly, “fire up a web browser” makes sense, but “shut down the web-browser” doesn’t work particularly well as web browsers are hardly the only way access to the internet could be distracting to someone like Caulfield.

  20. Another withe copper wire service (After Hurricane Sandy, our only phone service which was working – plus a magic jack number – plus a google number – plus we each have a cell phone. Incoming calls on our copper wire service. Outgoing calls not to an 800 or similar number go out on my cell phone (I have unlimited minutes). Incoming calls 99% of the time come in the copper wire number – when out of state or similar I give my cell phone – if only I could hear/feel it ring and not have to almost always call the person back – no calls that I do not recognize the phone number for which no message is left is called back.

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