May 30, 2005
Free Wireless, Good Times?

Victrola, a coffeeshop in Seattle, has decided to turn off the wireless access during the weekends to balance out the inundation of non-tipping, lingering, rude wifi-heads (in addition to the more appreciative customers). (via kellan)

The ensuing discussion included this suggestion:

Hey, you could always go wired on weekends. It would be sort of retro, you know, in keeping with Victrola's theme. Put an eight port hub in the middle of the coffee table in the back, and make all of those antisocial net junkies (like me) sit next to each other on the couch-- that would solve the sparsity problem that's created by lone laptop users monopolizing four-person tables.
Some small-town bars (I've heard it's more common in Europe) have a big round table that--it's understood--is where you sit if you just want to chat with folks who are there while you have your beer, or whatever. This kind of thing seems to be a natural fit for people with laptops. There's something a little more balanced about working next to a whole bunch of people who are all working on their laptops, and occasionally bantering about something geeky, as opposed to sitting at one's own table, engrossed in the solipsism of the screen. Restricting laptop use to a certain section or a big table might have interesting social results (and would also keep any given coffeeshop from degenerating into a sea of self-centred laptops.

(I'm writing this from the Bridgehead Café in Ottawa. Good coffee, free wireless, and so far, a good laptop-to-people-ratio: 2:14 right now.)

posted by dru in culture