Thursday, August 6, 2009

Laptop backlash

I have been home in Evanston these last couple of weeks, running errands, rubbernecking at Oshkosh, getting some hours in on the airplane, visiting the grandchildren and fixing the front porch steps. Before the Lady Friend and I headed north to the Writer's Lair in May, we put our HDTV and high-speed Internet access on hold to save a few bucks.

This has not crimped my use of the Internet with a Macbook. Though I can't get online at home, I can walk a few blocks to the public library or a gelato joint and fire up the laptop for free. (Not Starbucks, where the young and clueless still have to pay to use the Internet.)

Or I can drive to a Panera Bread in the next burb and buy breakfast, then spend an hour resupplying the blogs with the Macbook. (That's where I am right now, feeding both myself and The Reluctant Blogger.)

It's lovely, living in a place where free wireless access is so widely available.

But now, according to the Wall Street Journal, that lifestyle is threatened, at least in New York. Too many recession-pinched folks are giving up their home wireless access and instead camping out at free hotspots, hogging the tables during mealtimes and not buying even a cuppa for the privilege. Coffee shops are forbidding laptops during certain hours or even shutting down the wireless entirely.

What used to draw paying customers has become a magnet for laptop squatters.

In my humble and modest opinion, states and localities ought to provide free Internet wireless access for everyone, as is done all over Europe and Asia. Of course, the Republicans will resist this idea, because it prevents some people from making money.


  1. I ought to mention that Barnes & Noble stores now provide free wireless access -- I dropped by one this morning to buy a book. (A real one, not an e-book.) Maybe those will draw in business, but I hope people won't set up their home offices there -- there aren't THAT many chairs and couches.

  2. We're so spoiled!

    That said, I still prefer to sprawl out in a four-person booth all by my lonesome at Panera, with a large green iced tea and a cinnamon crunch bagel with hazelnut spread. Yum yum yum! :)