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Mobile Users Plug-in Anywhere They Can

CowboyNeal posted more than 9 years ago | from the power-on-the-go dept.

Portables 556

jasonla writes "The New York Times looks at mobile technology users who leech power from restaurant and airport outlets while on the road. The article looks at the habits and 'culture' of people who use portable devices -- such as laptops, iPods and cellphones -- and what the businesses think of power hungry customers." As interesting as the phenomena of customers leeching power from the businesses they frequent is the self-imposed etiquette of many users.

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556 comments

buttesecks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274231)

always wanted to type that here!!!

what about the other leachers? (4, Insightful)

RMH101 (636144) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274233)

people who use a businesses' air, light and even gravity?

Re:what about the other leachers? (5, Insightful)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274313)

You've been modded offtopic, but I'll support you in this, at least up to a point.

The fact is that restaurants arn't really in the food industry, they are in the entertainment and hospitality industry. Food just happens to be a major part of their entertainment and hospitality offerings, but not even necessarily the biggest part.

Being treated well by the staff is very important and part of the atmosphere and ammenities that people go to a restaurant for (otherwise they could just go buy a bunch of bananas and chunck of cheese from a local mart, for a fraction the price).

Electricty, in the form of lighting, TV sets, radios, video games and other necessaries are part of parcel of the ammenities they offer that people go there for. Now those ammenities include a place to plug in your laptop. It isn't "leeching," it's what they are there for, and paying for.

Dear restaurant industry. Your custormer's needs are changing. Give them what they want. Tack a stupid quarter onto the bill if it makes you feel better.

Those of you that fucking cope will turn out to be the winners.

KFG

Re:what about the other leachers? (2, Insightful)

Loco3KGT (141999) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274332)

That's so far from a legitimate comparison it's not even funny. Businesses pay for electricity, to use it would be increasing their costs.

It's not different than your neighbor hooking up his christmas lights to an external power plug on the outside of your house. It's stealing.

Re:what about the other leachers? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274439)

Few of the businesses seem to care about leeching he electricity. Presumably they feel the same way.

YOU ARE TOO STUPID TO LIVE!! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274465)

Please do the world a favor and kill yourself.

WEP ? (-1, Flamebait)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274239)

If the network was protected using WEP/128bit then the problem would not occur.
Another way I saw applied in SFO was the use of a proxy that only a VISA payment would unlock but even then, I did not use it because it was supposed to be a monthly subscription and I was returning to .CH...

Re:WEP ? (1)

ViXX0r (188100) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274257)

The summary indicates the article is referring to use of power (electrical outlets) not wireless access. WEP would clearly have no place if preventing this.

Re:WEP ? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274259)


I'd be interesting in you telling me how I can protect my electricity supply with WEP ?

Re:WEP ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274411)

If I make my wireless network unavailable to leeches, then the leeches presumably wouldn't have a reason to use their craptops, and thus wouldn't plug them into my power jacks. Think of all the cents I would save on my electric bill every month!

Of course that's ridiculous because people did have a use for computers before the Internet -- didn't they?

aQazaQa

Step 3, Profit (3, Insightful)

pnevin (168332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274242)

In some cases, those staking a claim do so by plugging in a device - even a $2,000 laptop - only to leave it unattended while fetching a $4 coffee.

... as their insurer takes care of that pesky dead battery problem.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274243)

fp leech?

I have to admit.... (3, Informative)

Michael Dorfman (324722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274245)

I have to admit that I do this all the time, especially in airports-- and it is getting harder and harder to find places to recharge.

Re:I have to admit.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274404)

especially in airports

The USAir club at Laguardia has all of two outlets near it's bar (there may be others over by the work cubicles). How ridiculous! I want to be able to check my Notes, surf and quickly get my drink refilled. With all of the business travelers, you would think they would put in a bunch of power outlets. Then again, USAir is in bankruptcy.

Pah! (1)

Aggamemnon (809791) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274248)

I've done it and I've never had a problem through doing. Makes one wonder at the motivation of those who are too mean and stingy to let people charge up their iPod in a public place.

Re:Pah! (5, Interesting)

acariquara (753971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274316)

Good call. I don't know how's stuff in Yankeeville, but here in Brazil it's commonplace in airports, for example, to have tables with lots of electrical outlets specifically for the purpose of charging cellphones and laptops for on-the-go users. No charge. And it's not even inside a coffeehouse or whatever, it's clearly marked at the waiting room.

I guess courtesy is out of order at the good ol' US of A.

(and no, this is not a troll, more a rant...)

Re:Pah! (3, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274344)

In the good ol' US of A, the main point is that it's up to the person who owns the table/outlet/electricity to decide who gets to use it and how. Now, if that business thinks their bottom line is getting eaten alive by people charging cell phones, they're crazy. However: it's up to them to decide that.

The other thing that we have in the US of A is a long history of watching foolish businesses go OUT of business. That's the miracle of capitalism! Sounds like Brazil already gets it (in terms of businesses providing these services), but I'd rather that we talk in terms of the companies involved getting it or not, not the country.

Re:Pah! (1)

acariquara (753971) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274390)

The other thing that we have in the US of A is a long history of watching foolish businesses go OUT of business. That's the miracle of capitalism! Sounds like Brazil already gets it (in terms of businesses providing these services), but I'd rather that we talk in terms of the companies involved getting it or not, not the country. Nicely put. Brazil's economy is far more challenging than US' - competition tend to be more fierce around here, and those who "don't get it" actually don't get any. I could rant a lot about culture, openness (is that even a word?) but that's it. Money is scarce, and the few(er) wealthy customers tend to spend their with places that treat them well, and not give them strange looks if they are just charging their already-overpriced cell phones at their facilities - not that any of this applies to airports, but anyway.

Re:Pah! (1)

gkuz (706134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274429)

The other thing that we have in the US of A is a long history of watching foolish businesses go OUT of business

Please explain sugar or tobacco subsidies.

Re:Pah! (1)

danheskett (178529) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274455)

Farmers dont generally farm one crop. They farm a cash crop, and a crop in the off season, out season, or rotation season. Without the cash crop, there is no "other crop", which generally is foodstuff.

Without many of the government handouts farmers get, there would be no farming in the US except for high priced exportable or niche products. That means we'd be dependent on foreign food only, which is so dangerous it's absurd.

Re:Pah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274395)

I think it was about a year or so ago. The Japanese police made precedent that you are NOT allowed to steal eletricity to recharge your cell phone, by arresting a couple people for... theft of electricity. (They used an open power outlet infront of a store.) The damage? $0.01. Really. That's what the damage report said. (Well, it said something like 1 yen.)

In reality, the problem apparently wasn't so much being a meanie or cheap ass, but that high-school kids would unplug outdoor signs to recharge their phones, or simply sit infront of stores while their phones were recharging. Whey the police never bothered to apply a loitering law (which exists) in the cases is beyond me....

When are you guys going to go to grade school? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274253)

WTF does "As interesting as the phenomena of customers leeching power from the businesses they frequent is the self-imposed etiquette of many users." mean in english? Or any other language for that matter. I'm sure the fish will translate better than that mess.

Re:When are you guys going to go to grade school? (1)

DrSkwid (118965) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274273)

Seems perfectly plain to me, perhaps it is *you* who need schooling!

Re:When are you guys going to go to grade school? (1)

Herby Werby (645641) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274319)

Seems perfectly plain to me, perhaps it is *you* who need schooling!

Can someone tell me whether "it" or "you" is supposed to be the pronoun here? I reckon it's "it" in which case "need" should be "needs".

Re:When are you guys going to go to grade school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274378)

Yep! "needs" is right. Bad pedant, needs to go back to pedant school (or is that "need"?).

Re:When are you guys going to go to grade school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274468)

In capitalist USA, The schooling needs YOU.

Uh, whatever.

Re:When are you guys going to go to grade school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274318)

It's perfectly grammatically correct, though a comma after "frequent" might help things along.

Re:When are you guys going to go to grade school? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274391)

I'll translate it for you as I read it:

"Many users, despite needing to recharge the battery of a device, are aware that electricity costs businesses money, and so ask for permission before plugging into an outlet, and perhaps offer a token payment in addition to whatever goods they were planning on buying."

I took it as a good thing, an expression of basic politeness - an indication that not all people are selfish, even with regards to something as relatively minor as taking a small amount of electricity.

Leeching???? (5, Insightful)

Herby Werby (645641) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274255)

They don't bat an eye at helping yourself to serviettes or sugar but a little juice gets a 'leeching' tag?

Ffs... (0)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274258)

"It is part of the culture," said Mr. Lebrun, 27, who finds it necessary to charge his cellphone in the classroom because its battery can manage little more than three hours of talk time

Buy a better phone, then. Those brick-sized analogue phones are kind of obsolete now, especially since they tore down all the analogue masts...

Re:Ffs... (1)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274288)

Buy a better phone, then.

3 hours of talk time is actually normal for a modern phone, if not exhibitng good battery life. As always, if he wants to complain he ought to buy the extended battery, but that is a whole other story.

Or alternately... (2, Insightful)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274330)

...he could simply meet the person face to face.

Seriously, doesn't anyone else here think 3 hours of cell phone yammering every day might be a bit excessive?

Re:Or alternately... (1)

afidel (530433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274368)

Seriously, doesn't anyone else here think 3 hours of cell phone yammering every day might be a bit excessive?

Yes, yes I do. ~6,000 minutes a month is a bit insane. My father is about the only person I know who would and should do that. And that's only because he has a two person business and is on the road 95% of the day calling on customers and working with his business partner. Yammering with your friends on your cellphone about nothing 3+ hours a day is just stupid.

Well... (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274339)

... my elderly and rather knackered Nokia 6110i manages a good 6 hours of talk time, and several days of standby time. That's with its stock (and now quite old) battery. I have noticed that standby time is getting shorter, but talk time is still good.

Thank goodness for... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274262)

BugMeNot and Firefox :-)

Not like it really COSTS anything. (4, Informative)

Archeopteryx (4648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274264)

Geeze, you could have a cafe full of plugged in laptop users and still not have this cost you 25 cents an hour.

Re:Not like it really COSTS anything. (5, Funny)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274287)

hmm...thats not a bad idea...perhaps they should make parking meeter style outlets for 25 cents a per half hour with a 2 hour limit...and 10 minutes and with a 30 minute limit in Manhatan. Quick someone patent that!

Great idea, really! (1)

Archeopteryx (4648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274301)

Do it!

Re:Great idea, really! (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274311)

Wow...it would not surprise me if someone would...

Ah! Too late! (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274350)

There's 'prior art' now... ;)

Re:Ah! Too late! (1)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274363)

That's right!!! Yay!!! if I see a the "Outlet Meeter" I have this to prove it was my idea... Omg I can't stop laghing.

Re:Ah! Too late! (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274377)

it's not like the patent office would care

I don't leech! (2, Funny)

MrRuslan (767128) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274269)

I borrow. Sometimes with interest!

Re:I don't leech! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274317)

Visit my website for tech support. I just started so there is not much there but..
..a whole lot of flash. Flash, Flash, Flash. How about not giving visitors motion-sickness? I'm no usability expert, but geez - a website that makes my cursor move slow over the page because of the animation required to display a paragraph of text? HTML is perfect for this scenario, lashings of flash is overkill. Not meaning to flame - but you asked people to visit.. :)

Charging an iPod? That's NOTHING (5, Interesting)

multipartmixed (163409) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274272)

Back in January 1998, when a good hunk of Canada had no power due to an ice storm, I couldn't go to work because we had no power at the office. I also had no power at home, and was bored out of my tree.

So, I grabbed a pair of APC BackUPS 400s, threw them in a knapsack, and walked to the local pub (which DID have power). Plugged 'em in, had a few beers, walked home, watched TV; repeat.

I tell ya, though, my back was kinda sore. Those things ain't made to be portable!

Batteries (1)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274277)

Make a battery for a laptop that lasts longer than 2 hrs and then leeching might slow...

(Centrino, Macs are better yadda yadda I know)

Re:Batteries (1)

odyrithm (461343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274334)

or what about a wind up laptop?

If only... (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274366)

...kinetic storage could be made practical for that sort of medium. Unfortunately the power consumption is far too great for that I think.

Maybe in cooperation with solar panels though... BIG ones!

Re:If only... (1)

odyrithm (461343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274384)

OLED displays don't use backlights right? maybe when laptops start sporting them it would be feasible..

True... (1)

Chordonblue (585047) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274459)

The biggest power hog on laptops now is that florescent backlight. Eliminate that and I'm certain you could get twice as much battery time with current tech.

On permission (5, Interesting)

The Slashdotted (665535) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274280)

Whenever I've visited a resturant, I've asked permission 99% of the time.. unless it's an emergency. (What's an emergency to you?) I've been turned down some times, but remind them you'll buy more, or *gasp* pay a dollar or two for the privelige.. Once in Arby's I was denied permission, and got a wierd look.. Then the manager thought better, said not to put the cord of the floor, and I bought food to go.

How bout fuel cells? (1)

thewldisntenuff (778302) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274282)

Whatever happened to them? Theyre supposed to save us from having to having to charge like that.....Top off the.....methanol?....and go....

I personally cant wait til theyre readily available....Does anybody have any info?

Back on topic - I dont think many businesses have a problem with people doing so...Power consumption cant be too too bad, and it brings in traffic...

-thewldisntenuff

Re:How bout fuel cells? (1)

mariusster (846953) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274419)

My guess is these fuel cells are right near the flying cars in the garage of lost inventions... And these will stay there for the next 80 years or whatever it takes us to eat up all the remaining oil reserves.

Not really a problem, giving the billing structure (4, Interesting)

lxt (724570) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274292)

As far as cost goes, it shouldn't really be too much of a problem for many businesses, assuming they are charged on the same basis as the power companies do here in the UK. Companies (at least, the theatres I work in) are not charged according to the number of units used, but by the maximum amount of power they use during the billing period. For example, during a theatre show we use a hell of a lot of power, and the power companies takes this peak rate and charges us across the board at that rate. I don't know whether this is just limited to certain businesses.

Re:Not really a problem, giving the billing struct (1)

thetroll123 (744259) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274340)

during a theatre show we use a hell of a lot of power, and the power companies takes this peak rate and charges us across the board at that rate

Surely not *at that rate*, why in hell would you agree to that? A rate *based on* peak usage, maybe, but not one assuming peak usage continuously!

Re:Not really a problem, giving the billing struct (1)

ColaMan (37550) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274431)

"Normally" you have a meter that gives you the total kW/hr reading, metered at some discount rate.
You then also have a "surge" meter that reads peak usage, or usage above a stated kW/hr.
This is normally used in industrial estates to (help) discourage Big Power Users from switching everything on at once. This way the electrical company can use equipment with a lower surge capacity.

This used to be a real problem at a lab I used to work at, as they had a number of large (20kW) sample drying ovens. Coupled with the "small" (5kW) furnaces we had in the lab + A/C + freezer storage etc, it was quite easy for all the switched loads to "sync up" and .... ooops! $4,000 for a single 5 second 200kW peak surge this month.
There was a power meter gadget on the main incomer with a serial interface left from the previous tenants, and after much cursing in Perl, I eventally linked it to the server in the lab to turn on a light when we were nearing our "peak meter threshold" (100kW). The lab staff would then hold off putting new samples on, or would switch off a few idle furnaces.
As the average lab load was about 75kW, this saved us many thousands over a year.

Re:Not really a problem, giving the billing struct (2, Informative)

ichthius (198430) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274436)

It's because you're paying for a capacity to be made available for you as well as the power itself.

As a simple example, suppose your peak power consumption is the same as the peak output of the local power-station.

Given that you could want 100% of the power plant output at any one time, the power ocompany has to effectively reserve it for you. Even if you just want 1% of it, it can't sell the other 99% because you might need it.

DISCLAIMER - yes I do work in the electricity industry.

Re:Not really a problem, giving the billing struct (4, Funny)

Shisha (145964) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274423)

I think there is another important issue: safety. If your device short circuits the airport power network and then it takes 20 minutes before someone finds the circuit breaker then people are not going to be happy. And what if your device screws up someones laptop? (I know this is _really_ unlikely) The UK solution is that all electrical devices plugged in any sort of public socket (e.g. libraries) should be tested for safety, whenever they're more than one year old.

I'd imagine that airports have two or three different level of electricity grid one for the "totally essential" and one for all the shops adverts and Christmas trees.

As for the electricity bill: if I'm at the airport and everything is running on time then batteries in my laptop last long enough. If my flight gets delayed by 7 hours like it did the last time then I feel I have the right to use some electricity, for all the airport taxes I have paid. Even if that means unplugging some Christmas tree.

And if any employee of the airport wants to come and argue about this then he's welcome: I have 7 hours to spare and I'm pretty annoyed to begin with.

Re:Not really a problem, giving the billing struct (1)

Bishop (4500) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274451)

In North America the billing model depends on the power requirements of the company. Smaller companies are metered just like homes. Even rather large companies can be metered.

It's not leeching (4, Insightful)

nucal (561664) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274299)

If I'm having an overpriced cup of coffee at Starbucks and paying for WiFi, they damn well better let me plug in ...

Re:It's not leeching (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274329)

if you're drinking coffee at Starbucks then you're a retard and don't need a reason you justify your leeching.

Re:It's not leeching (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274352)

Uh, didn't the OP say that?

Yeah. (1)

torpor (458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274375)


Its a case of pot-kettle-black, anyway.

Starbucks are the damned leaches, remember that, distant-caffeine-fogged memories of the 90's notwithstanding!!

Bloody rude, if you ask me, anyway, not letting a customer 'power up' if they need to, while using so-called 'free WLAN services' while enjoying raped-the-earth-coffee ..

Re:It's not leeching (1)

gkuz (706134) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274445)

RTFA. It says that Starbuck's doesn't care, doesn't meter, doesn't track.

Airport taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274308)

I do this all the time (or rather anytime I can since they tend to hide those more and more...). Well, when I take the plane, I pay an airport tax, which I believe covers the charges of the mere kWh I borrow. I mean, what about that guys that drink the water in the restroom. Aren't they leechers, also?

Re:Airport taxes (1)

w.p.richardson (218394) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274348)

I mean, what about that guys that drink the water in the restroom

Presumably, you mean from the sink? I gave up the water from the toilet several years ago.

Blown-Air Hand Driers: enough juice for... (5, Insightful)

ScentCone (795499) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274310)

what, 50 laptops? The point is, public-ish facilities that want or depend on public traffic don't lose much by being accommodating, and no doubt generate some good will among the lithium-ion set. The guy that uses a lot more paper towels or flushes twice in a public bathroom is chewing up a LOT more overheard than the lady who's trickle-charging her laptop (let alone her cellphone).

I'd say the bigger cost is the risk of liability when one Starbucks customer trips over the power cord of another customer's laptop. You know, the one the user has stretched from the pillar in the middle of the room over to his table, where he's /.ing

If they have a problem with it... (2)

jmcmunn (307798) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274328)


Just make all of the outlets which are in public spaces under lock and key. That'd stop the vast majority.

Then, to make an extra buck they can have a little "power cafe" if you will. Same idea as getting a little internet time somewhere, but you go plug in to recharge instead. Personally, I'd pay a dollar for the right to plug in and charge from a single outlet for whatever time I am there. I think most people who needed to charge something would pay out a dollar, and the airports could make good money offerring it at that price.

Re:If they have a problem with it... (1)

egburr (141740) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274471)

Based on my home electric bill, one dollar powers my entire house (air conditioner, refrigerator, 3 computers, lights, electric stove/oven, TV, stereo, DVD player, fans, etc.) for about 5-6 hours. I most certainly would not be willing to pay one dollar just to charge my phone or computer for an hour, unless I was truly desparate.

If the cost of electricity is breaking the business, they need to revise their business plan. At the very least, they should look into some energy saving measures, such as maybe turning off a few lights, dim their overly bright signs outside, adjust the thermostat, etc.

If you don't want Joe Public to use them ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274347)

... then stick a padlock on the outlet. But how much will that cost??.

Always done it... (2, Funny)

Mister Transistor (259842) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274354)

Har! Back in 1986 when I was on the road making locale-specific engineering modifications to a pay telephone system I designed, I had an 8085 emulator-in-a-briefcase and a full-size Compaq "Luggable" (8088 12 Mhz 40 MB HD) that I used to plug into airport AC outlets and play Chess and Rouge (Epyx's version for PC) with it while waiting for flights!

You see, I had no "Geek Shame" back then, and nowadays no one would give me a 2nd look, except perhaps the wonderful TSA folks...

It also had a nice clock on the screen by a TSR program of some sort, which would remind me when to pack up and go to the gate. Unfortunately, once, after a couple of cocktails, I forgot completely about the whole time zone thing, and missed my flight clean by an hour! But that is another story...

irritating common error (0, Offtopic)

hb253 (764272) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274356)

Leeching power is a singular subject, so it's a PHENOMENON, not a PHENOMENA.

Re:irritating common error (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274442)

get over it

Virgin Trains (5, Informative)

pklong (323451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274370)


Here in the UK Virgin has been putting power outlets for charging up phones and laptops next to all the seats in their new trains.

So you could go on a pleasure trip and charge up (but given the state of the UK rail system that might not be a good idea if you need to make it to something on time. )

Leeching? OH, how terrible! (5, Informative)

jlehtira (655619) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274371)

Cellphones, ipods and even portable computers are not that power hungry that it would matter. I consider using the power outlets included in what I pay for coffee, airport tax or whatever. Just like I don't pay extra for breathing air from businesses' ventilator systems (which probably costs more than the power). If some business doesn't like me charging my laptop, I choose to go elsewhere.

For reference, my portable computer's battery is rated 14.8V, 4400mAh. That roughly equals 65 watt-hours. The biggest cost of electricity I found is 9 cents per kWh, so filling the battery from empty to full would cost less than 0.6 cents. I will gladly pay 0.6 cents extra to use my laptop wherever I go, if asked for.

You don't need to tell me twice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274372)

If you have a problem with me charging my laptop up while I'm purchasing services in your place of business, just let me know and I'll be sure to find somewhere that doesn't. That simple, really.

Two things. (2, Informative)

Blapto (839626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274387)

1) www.bugmenot.com It has a firefox plug in, you right click the username field, click bugmenot, and it logs you in, no registration required. 2) I'm guilty, so what? I like to go to a coffee place (a cheap, friendly one nearby) and work for 3-4 hours. It's a productive environment. I reckon I drink a coffee every 30 minutes while I'm working, so I probably have about 6 in 4 hours. Call it £3/coffee, that's £18. Call it 6p/kWh, my laptop drinks 65W, so that's about 2p worth of energy. It's a bit of a fuss about nothing. Quote: "Somebody's got to pay for that electricity." Yes, the customer. They might say "if everybody came in and did it..." well, for 12 hours, there are 10 people drawing 100W, that's 12kWh, that's about 70p for the day. Boohoo. BTW, guys who can't find power outlets, use my Confucius say style motto... Think like the cleaner.

We only let paying customer charge up ... (1)

Titusdot Groan (468949) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274392)

How much power does a laptop draw, it's not like it's a hair dryer or something like that.

I've never seen any coffee shop or bar complain about this behaviour, it costs pennies to charge a laptop and it's a rounding error on a typical bar's power bill to charge a cell phone.

It's like using the bathroom or taking more paper napkins; it's part of the business and only idiots would even blink at a customer taking this kind of liberty.

Biggest cost to a business will be... (1, Redundant)

shoppa (464619) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274394)

The biggest cost to a business will be when someone trips over your charger's power cord. The guy who tripped sues the store for the hazard they allowed on the floor, and you sue the store for a new laptop.

Sure, the store's insurance will cover it, but then they'll get their rates jacked up and probably a clause in the next policy specifically prohibiting customers from plugging in anywhere.

If they put power jacks and tables in good areas, where nobody can trip, this becomes a non-issue...

Re:Biggest cost to a business will be... (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274453)

The biggest cost to a business will be when someone trips over your charger's power cord. The guy who tripped sues the store for the hazard they allowed on the floor, and you sue the store for a new laptop.

Are you kidding me? That would actually work?

Am I the only one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274409)

who yelled in the office "plug it UP YOUR ASS !" ?

power leeching (0, Troll)

ajs318 (655362) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274417)

I'm not sure I'd use other people's power sockets without first applying my trusty AVO, maybe even an oscilloscope to check the frequency and waveshape; and even then, I'd always insist on using a well-filtered and surge-protected extension lead. Because I know exactly what I would do if I was the proprietor of a catering establishment where people were even half-likely to leech my power! In the olden days, when it used to be common for equipment to be housed in metal cases, I would just have swapped the phase and earth contacts in the customer area sockets. But today, I'd hafta settle for installing something like a Schaffner 2050 transient generator upstream of the wall sockets in the customer area, and cranking it up to its most extreme setting. Oh, yes, and I'd get another Schaffner and couple its outputs to a bunch of innocuous-looking RJ45s.

Re:power leeching (1)

BrK (39585) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274476)

And you'd be in the restraunt business for about 2 days.

Power costs, on average, 12 cents per KwH. The cost of someone plugging in a laptop to charge for an hour is far less than the cost of the paper cup the coffee they bought was served in.

Your talk about using a filtered/protected extention lead is also silly. Most devices these days have power supplys that can work happily on anything from 90-260VAC. They take in AC, and output DC, and thus have a degree of filtering built in already. Furthermore laptop power bricks and such are pretty much desgined to be used in all sorts of environments. I'd worry more about the contaminantes in the water they used to make my Latte than I would worry about a bit of noise or ripple on the AC.

more like mosquitoing power (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274424)

$hit on a $tick!
Someones laptop, even if a 100W power hungry Alaskan mosquito is gonna use what? At 14 cents/kWh, 2 hours is only 2.8 cents. I've seen fat business guys at the airport drop a couple of bucks in change when they struggle toward an erect posture after sitting with their laptop. At this point they are too stiff to bend over and pick up their change.

You want leeches?
Atlanta airport concessionaire contracts as political payoff and nepotism. Handily exempt from 'living wage' requirements of city businesses. Now that's leeching on a scale that puts the world total portable device mosquitoes in 'drop in a bucket' perspective. Besides, why the hell would a business offer free WiFi for customers and then worry about a buck or two a day, max, in power nibbling?

Coffee shops (2, Interesting)

raider_red (156642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274425)

I'll plug in at coffee shops from time to time if my laptop's battery is starting to go dead. I've always considered buying coffee there to be a form of rent fo rthe table space I'm using. Power is just an extension of that.

VCS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274447)

I recently got stuck in London Victoria Station, with my battery dead.
Of course, I brought my phone's charger. Little did I know that those silly brits used *square* power wall plugs instead of the European standard.
Thankfully, it's 230v. So I whopped out my thrusty leatherman, unscrewed a wallsocket in the toilets, removed the wires, and taped them to my charger. I was saved =).

I'm a bit surprised... (1)

Fencepost (107992) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274448)

That none of the online hotspot directories include a rating for each hotspot to show availability of outlets. Range: "none," "1-4," "5-10," "10+," and "Almost every table."

Moons Over My Hammy and a movie.... (4, Interesting)

Mork29 (682855) | more than 9 years ago | (#11274458)

My friends and I would specifically go to Denny's instead of the IHOP across the street, because they had a booth with an outlet. We would plug in and watch movies while we ate and hung out. It was 3am so nobody minded us hogging a booth, and the manager would come and sit with us and watch the movie when it was slow enough or the movie was good enough. We cost them $.50 in electricity and made them much more than that in business. I don't feal guilty for it....and the manager never minded....

Nokia chargers (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11274463)

Nokia is using a standard charger for all models that has not been changed since the mid 90s. With the (past) marketshare of Nokia this means you are never far from a charger, at a friends, at work, with a customer or around town. I travel a lot without bringing a charger (+adapter) for my Nokia without a problem. Genious.
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