Mind your manners with your laptop

I came across an article that is more than two years old and about how to be polite to be a laptop user in a coffee shop. Laptops, or notebook PCs have become pretty much prevalent in recent years, even with cheaper versions of those called netbooks, so it is expected that more people take their computing on-the-go to places like local cafés, hence the need for some manners.

According to the advices presented in the text linked above, common sense applies here regardless of whether you have your laptop with or without you. Do not occupy a large table when you are just alone using your computer. Do not keep electrical sockets to yourself. Turn the volume off your laptop and use headphones if necessary. Clean up the table after yourself. Those are the sort of things you should be expected to comply with as an adult, even in other places than coffee shops.

Imperatives aside, it is interesting to note that the number of people using laptops outside their homes and offices have gradually increased. Every time I visit a coffee shop, I see at least three or four people each immersed in his or her laptops with coffee cups next to them. Some even uses laptops on subways and buses thanks to the WiBro Internet access (Korean variant of WiMax); okay, I am one of those too. Just as it took us some time to learn to mute or turn our cellular phones to vibration, more mobile and portable devices at our disposal requires us to shift and apply etiquettes to newly appropriate conditions. I don’t know yet, but considering the sheer length of time a laptop user tends to take, how long is it suitable to occupy a table with a single order of coffee? An hour, or two? Perhaps as long as it seems fit?

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