laptop zombie
n. At a coffee shop or similar establishment that offers free wireless Internet, a person who is oblivious to everyone and everything except the screen in front of them.
No, protests Jon Myerow, who owns a couple of craft-beer-and-cheese-centric Tria cafes in Center City, he's not a Luddite. He's as addicted to his BlackBerry as the next guy. But there's a time and a place: "When you're out with friends, we should be with friends."…But that's not quite how it often goes down these days — laptop zombies lurking in Starbucks, dates dumped (for 10 full minutes at a time) to answer texts, silent ESPN crawls above the bar, as distracting as snakes on a plane.
—Rick Nichols, “Unplugging a wine bar to let the conversation pour forth,” The Philadelphia Inquirer, August 26, 2010
Walk into any coffeehouse or tea bar in America, and you will most likely hear a lot of … silence. Maybe the light clicking of keys on a keyboard. Some soft music being provided by the establishment. Occasionally, a pair of people seated at the same table talking in hushed tones. But very little in the way of conversation, discussion or exchange of ideas. It sounds and feels a lot like a library…The dude sitting next to you in his comfy Starbucks chair might as well be a thousand miles away—his mind probably is…We have become a Nation Of Laptop Zombies.
—Tom Wright, “Are We Becoming A Nation Of Laptop Zombies?,” Open Salon, February 17, 2010
2007 (earliest)
By design, Starbucks, Borders, Barriques and a couple of dozen independent coffeehouses around Madison have become virtual offices. In some coffee shops a table without a laptop is the exception. "We call them laptop zombies," said Matt Weygandt, a partner in the five Barriques locations in and around Madison.
—Samara Kalk Derby, “Virtual offices,” The Capital Times & Wisconsin State Journal, May 23, 2007