The New Normal — Roaming the House and Coffee Houses vs. Family Time

Jan 1, 2008

Happy New Year to all! I’m getting ready to watch the Rose Parade in high def, waiting for my kids to wake up. I’m debating whether I want to watch it with laptop in lap, catching up with some programming ideas I had yesterday.

That spurs thoughts about a Los Angeles Times article today — Michelle Quin’s “Desktops? They’re So Last Year”: It ends with a little girl getting a pink Barbie laptop and sitting next to her mom working. The article isn’t about kids’ lives and laptops, but it does spur my thoughts in that direction.

I recall when friends at Intel were hyping the Centrino chip in 2003, they were seeing a life spread around by wireless connectivity. For 2007, the article says laptop sales rose 21% to 32MM and desktops dropped 4% to 32MM. They quote IDC as saying that portables will be at 66% of corporate (40% in ’06) and 71% of consumer (up from 44%) computers. The article cites that Japan sped past this about a year ago, heading instead to hyper portable phones and other devices.

Lots of citations were shown in the article about parents and families roaming the house — kitchen, TV, etc. — while using the Internet. It also features the hotspot phenomenon, both connectivity throughout the house and around the community.

So what happens to kids, TV viewing, and working with parents? Does this mean that parents are working with their kids more, or that Internet use will interfere just like background TV with the very valuable resource of parent time with kids? Is this the New Normal?

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