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Using Your Laptop In Bed 233

ryanaip writes "The New York Times has an article looking at the social implications of technology in the home. Specifically, the problems a spouse can face when their loved one is working in bed." From the article: "As electronic devices get smaller, people tote their technology around the house more than ever. And as the number of home wireless networks also grows, laptops — along with Treos, BlackBerries and other messaging devices — are migrating into the bedroom and onto the bed. The marital bed has survived his-and-her book lights and the sushi-laden bed tray. Can it also survive computers that tether their owners to the office or make the bed the workplace itself?"
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Using Your Laptop In Bed

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  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:53PM (#15983659) Homepage Journal
    I can't come to the Slashdot right now, because I'm on the phone with my girlfriend. Please leave a comment after the beep, and I'll get back to you right away.

    What's this about technology interfering in relationships? It's the only reason I have one right now cause she lives 3 hours away!
    • by winkydink ( 650484 ) * <> on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:56PM (#15983679) Homepage Journal
      I can't come to the Slashdot right now, because I'm on the phone with my girlfriend.

      Because the restraining order says I have to stay 500 feet away from her

      Please leave a comment after the beep, and I'll get back to you right away.

      Unless you are my probation officer. In that case, forget what I said about "girlfriend". I'm really talking to my sister.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        In that case, forget what I said about "girlfriend". I'm really talking to my sister.

        Do these really have to be 2 seperate people? Open your heart to your sister, snag her heart while she is young, and you will find you have a lover more capable of satisfying you emotionally, mentally, and physically than anybody else can.
      • So.. (Score:3, Funny)

        by buswolley ( 591500 )
        Slashdot decides to make fun of slashdotters...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by thynk ( 653762 )
      I love technology, my wife is on the east coast (1700 miles, 28 hours by car) in training for the Army. About half of our communication is by email or cell phone when she gets passes on the weekends. I work from the house, so it will let me be closer to her next month when I take an extended trip.

      Before she went into the army, I would fire up the laptop and work from bed while she snuggled up next to me until she was ready to get up. Pretty much the best working conditions I could imagine and when my day
  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:54PM (#15983665)
    Step 1: Give partner a reason to put the laptop down and pay attention to you
    Step 2: ???
    Step 3: Profit

    This is not rocket science, people.
  • by andrewd18 ( 989408 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:54PM (#15983668)
    Why the hell is this being posted on Slashdot? It's not like having spouses angry at us for using the PC in bed is ever gonna affect us. Either we won't get a spouse, or she'll be too busy surfing the 'net on her own laptop to care.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      I think she'll care when you're looking at pr0n instead of her.
      • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:18AM (#15983752) Homepage Journal
        "I think she'll care when you're looking at pr0n instead of her."

        Except you'd be looking at porn of her, on your laptop, while she makes it in the bed next to you on her laptop.
        • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:28AM (#15983781) Journal
          Scary, but could happen. I have IMed people from across a room before -- or a house.

          Mom: Call your brother for dinner:
          Me(IM): Dinnertime
          Bro(IM): OK
          Mom: Were you going to get your brother?
          Me: Already did.
          *bro walks in*

          Another story, I don't know if it was real -- guy chatting hot and heavy with someone, they phone each other, then she says "Look outside..." His wife, sitting in the car with her laptop and her cell phone.

          Other frightening possibilities -- I'm used to working with a manpage ready. So, Laptop+Manual... []

          Ok, enough. Let's apply our creativity to things that won't remove us from the gene pool.
          • by photonic ( 584757 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @04:46AM (#15984212)
            Reminded me of this great commercial [] from a Dutch campaign that warns children of the dangers of webcams. Guy is camming with some hot girl on the internet and is then called for dinner. Guess who he was camming with ... (worksafe)
  • by PIPBoy3000 ( 619296 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:56PM (#15983676)
    Laptop as marital aide.
  • I sleep in my bed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Crowhead ( 577505 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:57PM (#15983685)
    That's all I ever use it for. Sleeping. Oh, and falling asleep. And I guess waking up. And, you know, with the wife. I use my bed for bed-type related activities. No TV, no computer, no phone. Those aren't bed related activities.
  • "working" (Score:4, Informative)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:58PM (#15983690) Homepage
    Specifically, the problems a spouse can face when their loved one is working in bed.

    I don't know if you'd call looking at pr0n "working". Although it's certainly a good excuse if you've got one of those fancy laptop privacy screens with the limited viewing angle... (you know, for airplane travel and such).
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dargaud ( 518470 )

      [...] fancy laptop privacy screens with the limited viewing angle [...]

      I've always wondered if the viewing angle limitation is somewhat changeable on the fly. Imagine a laptop with not only a brightness cursor, but also a [Privacy] cursor. Watching a movie with some friends: set the laptop on the table with the widest angle. Working on a secret report in an airplane or watching pr0n in bed while you significant other is reading Kant next to you: set it to 'very narrow'... Maybe there's a patent somewhere i

  • by Jsutton1027w ( 757650 ) on Friday August 25, 2006 @11:59PM (#15983692) Homepage
    It just sounds so dirty. Besides, I have to wonder, how could you....never mind.
  • by ben there... ( 946946 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:00AM (#15983697) Journal
    I've always wanted to feel what it was like to be a prostitute!
  • by thewiz ( 24994 ) * on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:01AM (#15983698)
    My wife and I are both computer professionals. We have iPods, laptops, etc but we agreed that electronic gadgets (including TVs) would NOT be allowed in our bedroom. Our bedroom is for sleeping, sex, and private time together. Work stays at work; home is home. Don't let the gadgets run your life or ruin your relationship.
  • Sleep Hygiene (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skudd ( 770222 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:02AM (#15983701) Homepage Journal
    Sleep Hygienests will argue that doing anything in the bed, outside of sexual activity or sleeping, is harmful to your sleep habits. It will "pollute" (for lack of a better word) your mind such that you are expecting to do something other than sleep in the bed, which will cause your mind to be stimulated each time you enter the bed in the same manner it was stimulated when you were doing whatever you were doing, be it reading, watching TV, or surfing the Internet.
    • Re:Sleep Hygiene (Score:5, Interesting)

      by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:18AM (#15983755) Journal
      So why does sex get a free pass? Wouldn't that train you the same way?
      • Re:Sleep Hygiene (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ring-eldest ( 866342 ) <> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:55AM (#15984133)
        Sex has some built-in controls, as well as being considered socially as an appropriate bedroom behavior (at least in most cultures). Let's look at this "training" a little more closely:

        It's more appropriately referred to as classical conditioning, and it's best spoke of in SR psychology terms. You don't want to pair the bed stimulus with any non-bedroom behavior, or you risk fucking up your sleep. You're right, though, sex is not exempt from this s-r pairing-- you might find yourself becoming aroused when laying down to sleep, even if your wife is not there (and therefore there is no evolutionary reason for you to want to procreate) it is only a conditioned response from the previous pairings of bed and sex.

        Now, for the built in protection: you either have sex, or masturbate. It's not as risky as say, watching TV, eating, or doing other non-bedroom behaviors, because unless you have an abnormal sexual appetite, sex/masturbation does not have to be a massive time consumer. There is a definite beginning/ending to sex, as opposed to the other behaviors, so when you're done, you're done. Go to sleep. (note that it's 3:00am just about, and I'm reading slashdot and posting a response. Damn. I know I should have had sex instead.)
        • There is a definite beginning/ending to sex, as opposed to the other behaviors, so when you're done, you're done. Go to sleep.

          In today's world, that will go down even worse than bringing a laptop to bed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Skim123 ( 3322 )
      Bah, and I bet these same 'experts' say that the toilet is best used for going to the bathroom and nothing else. If it weren't for the bed and toilet, I'd get no 'dead tree' reading done!
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by badasscat ( 563442 )
        Bah, and I bet these same 'experts' say that the toilet is best used for going to the bathroom and nothing else.

        Seriously. Why let all that perfectly good water go to waste? Bring some ice and a couple mixers and you've got yourself a party!
    • The Romans (at least the wealthy ones) had a nice solution to this problem: they had multiple beds, each dedicated to some activity. They had beds for sleeping, sex, eating, work, and partying. If they had had TVs and laptops, they'd probably have had separate beds for those, too.
    • The "Sleep Hygienests" are correct. Without poper pracice it is quite impossble to drnk a beer while horizonal. But usully geting enogh in is suficien
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:07AM (#15983720)
    I have my main computer in the family room. My wife typically hits bed at 10-11pm, me, about 12-2am. I am using my computer until then. Since I am not in the bed, at least she can sleep and I will not be bothered to "put that computer away".
    Okay, so our time is spent apart from 8pm on, is that a problem? She likes to watch TV and use her computer as well, I like to use mine. We happen to be in separate parts of the house. I can tell you that she does not like when i hit bed much later then her and try to wake her up so we can spend a few really close minutes together ;) I try that about once a month and typically get told it is too late and to go back to my computer if I want to some tits and ass. We have modified our typical sex time to a few times a week between 7-8pm during the week (just after dinner but before we go our separate ways) or any convenient time during the weekend depending on where the kids are.

    For reference, our 17th anniversary was last week, we got married just after high school.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Asmor ( 775910 )
      Man, I wish my fiancée would tell me to go to my computer for some T&A.

      She's of the "tolerates it but doesn't want to know about it" school.
  • Kinky (Score:5, Funny)

    by Aardpig ( 622459 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:09AM (#15983724)

    Pretty neat, eh? [] Just imagine projecting a keyboard and screen on your lover's[*] back. You could read Slashdot while drilling for oil! Just make sure you're not using a Sony battery.

    [*] No, I didn't say girlfriend. After all, this is Slashdot.

  • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:13AM (#15983737) Homepage Journal
    I've got my wireless AP in the basement and I get Excellent coverage all over the house, but the second i move it over the bed the water blocks the signal completely.

    It's probably better that way, but i'm just amazed how a relatively small amount of water can completely destroy the signal. I haven't tested it in the bath yet - how good is Dell Completecare?
    • Just make sure you're not using the dodgy Sony batteries. If it catches fire, you may be tempted to use the bath to put it out... however, the batteries are Lithium-Ion, and lithium reacts "vigorously" with water. I'd be more worried about healthcare than completecare.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's 2.4Ghz, about the same as a microwave, which picked that frequency specifically because water absorbs it so well. I wouldn't be surprised if a much thinner layer of water ate the signal.

  • Sadly, something many of us here have a hard time comprehending. Something like NP-complete. I dunno.
  • Sushi? (Score:5, Funny)

    by JourneyExpertApe ( 906162 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:18AM (#15983754)
    "The marital bed has survived his-and-her book lights and the sushi-laden bed tray."

    Where was I when people were serving cold rice dressed with vinegar and garnished with raw seafood on a bedside tray?
  • Yes, yes it can (Score:5, Insightful)

    by IANAAC ( 692242 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:19AM (#15983759)
    The marital bed has survived his-and-her book lights and the sushi-laden bed tray. Can it also survive computers that tether their owners to the office or make the bed the workplace itself?"

    This is just stupid. Really.

    Yes, of course it can survive. Most reasonable people in relationships realize that there is a need to separate work from personal.

    Therefore, they'll most likely have a separate work area, which could even be part of the living room. Hell, if you've got kids, you probably already have an area of the family room/den set aside for the family computer.

  • by Gerocrack ( 979018 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:19AM (#15983760)
    Add a little Bliss ( []), and the laptop becomes a welcome guest in the bed.
  • Priorities (Score:5, Insightful)

    by davidwr ( 791652 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:22AM (#15983766) Homepage Journal
    If you love {your computer | the internet | insert favorite toy/hobby here} more than your spouse, you have a problem.

    Solving that problem is left as an exercise for the reader. Answers may vary.
  • by Tavor ( 845700 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:27AM (#15983777)
    Is that people are so busy anymore as to need to take a laptop to bed, to vacation, or such. Not to sound like a luddite, but really. Why do people not take a good book to bed, or pay attention to their partner? It's not like one is getting paid to work through bedtime or vacation.
  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:28AM (#15983784)
    Selfishness has become par for the course in American culture. You can have it all! It's all about YOU!!!

    American culture has become a cesspool of me, me, me attitudes. And you know what I see, working in Northern Virginia around a lot of very wealth middle age people who are like this? Nothing but unhappiness! The happiest people I know are the ones who aren't that well off, but have rejected modern values for sacrifice and committment in their families and marriages.

    We will all die someday. When you are on your deathbed, are you going to be happy that you had a great career that forced you to stay away from your wife and kids? How about you, ladies. Are y'all going to look back fondly on the years you had kids, but even though your husbands could support your family, you worked anyway because "feelin fullfilled" meant more to you than being close to your kids as you rasied them? Then you wonder why they don't know their parents and act lost or are embittered to parents whose priorities were all fucked up.

    I have news for you, modern America. The reason you are fucked up and rotting from the inside out is that you have no soul. It is not all about you in the here and now. When you get married, you are responsible to uplift your spouse and take care of them, even if you don't "feel love" toward them right now. When you have kids, they are your priority, not your job and "need to feel fullfilled." That means that you don't work more than you need to to provide and be secure in the future. Drive the damn Scion tC instead of the Lexus if you have to.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by AusIV ( 950840 )
      I agree with most of what you're saying, except I think you're over generalizing. I've always lived in the midwest, and while I certainly see some of what you're talking about, I certainly wouldn't say it's par for the course in American culture. I've only been to Northern Virginia once, and it did seem faster paced, but I suspect the reason American culture is tainted as selfish is that people who are all about their jobs and money are the loudest among us.
    • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:56AM (#15983981)
      I grew up in Northern VA, and I can't say I see what you're saying. When I was younger, I lived in a $150k house in Vienna. When I went to college, I lived in a $1.3m house in Great Falls. I can't say the ratio of happy/unhappy people was any different in the two places.

      In the real world, money has a lot of benefits. It's documented that a lot of marital strains are the result of financial issues. Sure, some of that is the result of a materialistic bent, but what the hell, humans are materialistic. Life is just a lot easier when the answer to "so, where should we eat tonight?" is based on "do we want Italian or Mexican?" rather than "gosh, that new Italian place is pretty expensive". As for working moms, its an almost universally good thing. Staying at home results in psychological pathologies, especially in our modern social structure where women don't congregate in the large social groups they do in more traditional societies. It's a loney, stressful, and largely unrewarding experience for many people, and results in an often contorted relationship between husband and wife.

      Seaking from personal experience, I have to say that there is no conflict between modern values and tight family bonds. My parents and my brother and I are all very success-oriented type-A people, and more than a bit materialistic. Even though all of us spend most of our time working, we still have an extremely close bond. Creating that bond doesn't require changing your lifestyle, it just requires committment. When I still lived at home, we ate dinner together most every night. You have to eat dinner anyway, it's not a huge step to do it together. I spent a non-insubstantial amount of time as a kid talking with my dad while helping him with household work like fixing sinks or cleaning gutters. I'd spend a lot of time talking with my mom over breakfast before she left for work, or when I was on vacation, going out with her to lunch on her days off. To this day, even when I work 70 hour weeks, I still know everything my brother does, because I ping him now and then on AIM, or call him during lunch or dinner. All these things don't add up to a whole lot of time, but it doesn't take that much to stay involved in each others' lives.
    • by mattkime ( 8466 )
      >>Selfishness has become par for the course in American culture. You can have it all! It's all about YOU!!!

      Kids these days! Back in my day, we didn't have! We got our news on paper! And you knew when it arrived because you hear it hit the door! Or the bushes! Of course, women and minorities had no place in society but you didn't care because the pigeons! The pigeons! Back in my day, the pigeons believed in family...
    • I understand the point and tone of your post, but other than the actual selfishness part I disagree.

      Unless you're taking something away from somebody else, the only reason to give it to them is that you want to or it won't cost you anything. This includes your children. You should want to give them a good, comfortable, fulfilling, and educational life, but sacrifice doesn't have to be involved. It's not sacrifice to raise a child, it's a privilege in my book. But that doesn't mean you can't have a career t

  • I just opened my laptop to check my email and do wor...err surf the usual websites before bed and this story is the topmost on /. Stay out of my head...err bed...yeah, the idea of being in bed with Cowboy Neal really isn't doing all that much for me. Well, a least nothing good.
  • The heat! (Score:4, Funny)

    by LiquidEdge ( 774076 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:42AM (#15983820) Homepage
    All that heat on your crotch CAN'T be good for the swimmers.
  • When putting my 18 month old daughter to bed she likes me to stay in the room until she falls asleep, after reading her a story I'll put her in her crib and pass the time playing with my PSP, either surfing the web, playing retro classics or even the occasional PSP game. This represents all the gaming i get to do these days.
  • My laptop is my girlfriend
  • The way batteries can explode these days, I say don't do it!
  • The bed seems an ideal place for massaging devices.

    ...what? Ooooooh. Nevermind.

  • by romit_icarus ( 613431 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:56AM (#15983857) Journal
    As devices get smaller and wirefree, it's an inevitability. Today it's acceptable to get magazines and books to bed, tomorrow it will be electronic devices.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Lord Aurora ( 969557 )
      As devices get smaller won't matter, because you'll be sleeping alone. Mary ran off with the guy with the big device. =D

  • 2 Laptops, cross-over cable, NIC's and a game of network PornoDoom. There's a night in.

    Then sex.
  • When books starting coming out in paperbacks instead of hardbound, I'm sure the exact same question was asked: will reading books - horror! - ruin marriages. Frankly, I think NYtimes is running out of stories...
  • The entire bedroom should be only used for two purposes...sleeping, and having sex.

    You bring it other things, stresses etc and you will cause problems in those two areas. Bad sleep or bad sex will cause some serious ripples through your life.

    So leave the laptop in the other room and just disconnect fror a while.
  • by TheSpatulaOfLove ( 966301 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:32AM (#15983948)
    Using this MacBookPro in bed is the only way I can warm up that cold hearted bitch!
  • by mrs clear plastic ( 229108 ) <> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:34AM (#15983950) Homepage
    I can just picture it next. The GreenHaven WIFI Equipped Cemetery and Mausoleum will be equipped with WIFE and will offer laptop equipped coffins and urns for that busy executive or hacker! You won't miss the net just because you passed away.
  • by ztirffritz ( 754606 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:38AM (#15983959)
    "Can it also survive computers that tether their owners to the office or make the bed the workplace itself?" It depends on what she looks like...
  • by Konster ( 252488 )
    I bring a laptop to bed because the iBrator I bought for my girlfriend only has a 3 foot USB cord.

    She dropped and gave me twenty when I told her I ordered the new 2.4 GHz wireless model...WiFi hotspot has a whole new meaning.
  • Anyone who lives their life defined by what technology can do, rather than who they are and how they treat other people, is really just a machine.
    • Awesome! I've always said that I'll be the first one to sign up when cyborg technology becomes available. I had no idea that I was already a machine! Woot!
  • If you like computers like tripod [] do, for your personal safety I advise you not to use a laptop in the bedroom.
  • Having a laptop in bed w/ your wife might not be a bad thing. What else are you going to use to power that latest USB "accessory"
    • by Wiseleo ( 15092 )
      USB is +5v on bus. Most typical toys are 2-3 batteries so that's 3-4.5v. In this application, voltage matters. Besides, it's fun to program them. Have you ever tried modifying the firmware on the fancier toys? ;-) A powered USB hub is quite a nifty thing in our bedroom.
  • Good sleep habits (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheGSRGuy ( 901647 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @04:47AM (#15984219)
    My physician told me that doing work in bed, eating in bed, watching TV in bed, etc is very bad for sleep patterns. Not only does it start to "teach" your body that the bed is not always used for sleeping, but it would eventually start to convince your spouse/significant other of that same thing. Just my experience with what not to do in bed.
  • by sdnoob ( 917382 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:53AM (#15984303)
    the new spontaneously combustable line of laptops from dell give a whole new meaning to 'smoking in bed'.
  • Posture (Score:3, Informative)

    by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @06:34AM (#15984357) Homepage
    I use the laptop a lot in bed, and I consider (for myself at least), problems with the neck/back/posture to be a bigger problem. (Of course, I am divorced, too; d'oh!)

    Anyone have tips or recommendations for helping one's back/neck? Do those bed-chair thingies work (the cheap ones, or only the really expensive ones?) I saw one contraption that puts the laptop quite a bit above you angled down; it looked rather awkward.
  • by npcompleat ( 942042 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @06:43AM (#15984370)
    Ahhh. Now I know what those job ads mean when they ask for embedded programmers.

Basic is a high level languish. APL is a high level anguish.