Have you been to Laptopistan?


When a tree falls near a cafe filled with java-sippers leaning over laptops, does it make a sound?

A New York Times article on computer use in cafes Sunday suggests it sort of doesn't. Writer David Sax ventured, as a 'skeptical observer' and 'anthropologist' amongst the 'citizens' of 'Laptopistan': a place where 'table hoggers' sit with computers and bottomless cups of coffee. When an old tree crashed nearby, Sax noted, no one really stopped to look – instead they kept tapping keys, peering into their LCD worlds. 'Nothing could stir these people,' Sax writes.

His one-note 'Laptopistan' jokes got old after a bit, but the story brings up the useful question: have we become too reliant on technology when we travel?

Sax's Laptopistan was in Brooklyn, but Laptopistans can be found anywhere the wi-fi banner flies. Checking in with mom, the Wall Street Journal or ESPN can be useful and restoring, but it worries me, sometimes, the convenience is overused; that the fingernails of today's travelers are too clean. It's one of the reasons why I added  'write a postcard' in the Top 10 Things to Do for Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2011.

Do you think we should limit our time in Laptopistan, at home or on the road?