I found a link to the Laptop Friendly Cafes site, which lists cafes which offer free wifi in a user friendly environment, in one of my Google Alerts and my ears pricked up. Since I bought my netbook in February 2009 and my unsatisfactory experience with the FON wifi community, finding free, reliable wifi has become a real issue with me. I contacted Craig, the founder of Laptop Friendly Cafes, to ask him to do a guest post for Europe a la Carte.
“Whether you’re a traveller, a student, or someone who likes to work away from the home or office, a good laptop-friendly cafe can make your life a whole lot better!
Below are some good reasons why we need more laptop friendly cafes:
When travelling, especially on a budget you need all help you can get. Internet cafes are good, but can sometimes be a bit of an unpleasant experience because there are so many people packed in to a small place. So if like myself and a lot of other travellers, you take your laptop with you on some trips, laptop friendly cafes are perfect because you get a free internet connection – saving you money, power outlets to keep you up and running and a more pleasant environment to catch up on your emails, post your travel pics and generally surf the web with a good coffee in a
Working off site
As more and more of us are spending a great deal of time in front of our laptops at work meeting impossible deadlines, it’s important that we are productive. A lot of offices are quite hectic with phones ringing, chatter from meetings and general office banter, all taking our attention away from the task at hand. If you do have the luxury of working off site, a good laptop friendly cafe is the perfect environment for getting some work done in an uninterrupted, productive environment with the use of free wifi to keep up to date and in touch with your work emails.
Being a student is tough, you’re normally sharing a house with possibly 4-6 other people, and a quiet space to focus on study can be hard to come by. A broadband connection in a shared house can also be expensive and all too often slow or unreliable. A free wifi connection and a quiet corner with a table and chair in a cafe can be great escape from the madness that is student housing. The best time to go to the cafes is the off peak times, mid afternoon onwards as you avoid the morning coffee rush and most cafes are happy to have customers in seats buying the occasional coffee in quiet times.”
Update 5 December 2009: Craig has now released an iphone app featuring all of the cafes listed on the site in New York, London, Sydney & Melbourne.