I have always wanted a laptop computer. I should emphasize on the “wanting” part. I really don’t need one, since I have already a small colony of PCs at home and office. With broadband connection, most of the time they are just idling until I needed one of them to check the email and read the news.
The main reason for me to wanting a laptop computer is due to the amount of people I see that have them. They can do their work else where than home or office, for instance, at a coffee shop. Most of the commercials on television and printed ads portrait laptop computers as symbol of freedom, as if we are nomads that needed constant mobility to chase another piece of data pasture along the information super highway.
At the coffee shop I frequent, the owner has installed broadband internet connections, both wired and wireless, and let the customers access them for free. All you needs is a laptop computer configured with a wireless network card, you and your cafe mocha or latte can surf the web together.
I am sure his business revenue has increased significantly since this technological improvement. Especially considering his local competition, Starbucks partnered with T-Mobile, charges customer to access the internet via wireless connection. It did not take long for the “Plug-n-Stay” people sniff out this piece of WiFi real estate.
People with laptop computers have started to appear in herds. At the top of this techno-hierarchy are the people with Apple laptops. They look very cool with the white half eaten apple logo glowing and white wires dangling from their ear pieces to the other gadget companion, the iPods.
One drawback about these laptops is the battery’s capacity. The actual battery time is never equal to the manufacturers’ claim. Depends on the model, usually after two hours of usage, the laptop would start to notify user to plug it into a wall outlet for recharging. Hence, the “AC Plug Scramble”. It is similar to the “Pee Pee Dance”, where a semi-panicking jig is performed by someone that desperately needs to find/use the nearest lavatory. The “AC Plug Scramble” can be easily prevented if the user would arrive early to the coffee house and stake claim to an AC outlet by continuously plug in their electronic gadgets.
Customers with laptops would require larger space for themselves as well as their electronic companions. The coffee house originally designed for fifty-person seating, now has decreased its net seating capacity.
This morning I have witnessed one couple lugged in their two Dell laptops. Initially there was only one single table open, clearly not enough space for two adults with two laptops, and the entourage of carrying cases, power adapters, books and notebooks. Soon as another table cleared, the wife has cleverly dragged the now available table across the coffee house so she can piece it together to their current table. Success! Now both of the have the space needed for doing some actual work? Wrong.
After they have stringed power cables across the walkway to the nearest AC outlet, both the husband and wife started to read Sunday newspaper, completely neglecting their beloved laptops. After half hour or so, both had enough of the so-ever-primitive- printed-newspaper, the wife opened her laptop and started to engage a mad game of Yahoo Crossword Puzzle! The husband cracked open a book titled “Bounds for Canaan”, and proceed to doze off. Yes, he fell asleep!
Two young ladies at an adjacent table asked the people at their neighboring table to “watch their stuff” (Two laptops, backpacks along with textbooks and mobile phones) while they are away. Mind you, these people are complete strangers, yet all of the sudden, just because they are at the same coffee shop at the same time, they are the most trust worthy individuals on the planet.
Two of the most memorable moments I have witnessed in the past are: someone has spilled a large cup of iced cafe latte onto his brand new Sony Vaio. The other one was someone tripped over a power cord that was still connected to a Dell, caused it to smash into the floor and cracked the display screen. Where is that annoying Dell guy when you needed him to yell out: “Dude, your Dell just fell!”
In conclusion, I am still lusting over laptop computers. At the same time, I am glad that I don’t have one. The simple joy of watching someone else’s laptop’s mishap is well worth owning one myself.