When Manny Olaguivel looks for a place to use the Internet with his laptop, he bypasses the restaurants all over Norwalk that now offer free wifi and goes straight to Barnes & Noble.
"I just go to the bookstore, because I know it's here," said Olaguivel, a Norwalk Community College student from Stamford who was surfing the Web at the Barnes & Noble at 360 Connecticut Ave. after classes on a recent morning.
Most of the Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's in Norwalk now offer free wifi, and even Roly Poly and Subway have it in some locations. But during visits to outlets in different parts of the city, no laptop or tablet computer users were in sight, nor were there any smartphone users. At Starbucks and Sono Caffeine, though, at least a third of the patrons were using laptops or tablet computers.
"It's because of this," Sono resident Ben Cesare said, pointing to his chair — a leather armchair with a low table in front of it. You don't get nice comfortable furniture at McDonald's and Dunkin' Donuts, he said. Cesare had a smartphone and a laptop going simultaneously at the Starbucks at 56 Westport Ave.
Although no customers had laptops out at the Dunkin' Donuts at 650 West Ave. on a recent afternoon, manager and Norwalk resident Faruk Vahora said he usually gets five or six people every morning from the nearby offices who bring their laptops and stay for as much as an hour.
And at the McDonald's at 340 Main Ave., during lunchtime, no one had a laptop or other device out. Assistant Manager Mayela Colmenares said they usually have a few people every day who stay for up to an hour while using the wifi.
At Sono Caffeine, at 133 Washington Ave., barista Katie Toth said offering free wifi is a must now. "It's really important today," Toth said. She didn't think her cafe would lose any customers to other places that are offering wifi, though. Her customers stay a couple of hours on average, and some stay for four or five hours, she said.
Where do you go to use wifi? Do you have a favorite public spot to work?