Tuesday, August 18, 2009
"Laptop backlash" a phony trend?
My Aug. 6 blogpost (see below) quoted a Wall Street Journal story asserting that certain Manhattan coffee shops were restricting laptops from sucking their free wireless teats. Too many squatters trying to save home-office money, etc.
Now an article in Slate (the laptop reference is a few paragraphs down) maintains the whole thing is a made-up story about a trend that really isn't a trend, that a few coffee shops are not statistically significant.
That could well be. This, after all, is August, when news is slow and good stories hard to find. The media likes to invent phony trends to keep readers interested. (I recall one in a certain Chicago newspaper about men's boxers outselling briefs, shortly after some airheaded newslout asked President Clinton about his underwear preference.)
Come to think of it, the only "restriction" I have seen on laptop use at the Panera Bread outlet I frequent with my Macbook and iPod Touch is a single sentence on the web login page asking folks not to hog the larger tables.
I still think government ought to provide free wireless everywhere, although entrepreneurs who want to make money will say no -- just as the profit-oriented medical-industrial complex says no to free health insurance for the needy, who increasingly are all of us.