Computer Overboard

Technology is making computers ever smaller, however, home PCs are still big enough to each require valuable square footage in your home.

People fall in love with computers, and then lose their minds -putting a computer in every room of the house! If one is wonderful, having 10 spread everywhere would be great, right? Wrong.

You don't need a computer in the living room.

This can be forgiven if your home is a small studio apartment. But the living room typically has couches and chairs positioned for face-to-face interaction with guests. Computers demand your full attention, taking it away from your guests, hence, a mismatch.

You don't need a computer in the kitchen.

Manufacturers have tried for years to market kitchen computers with little success. A kitchen technology reviewer once referred to kitchen computers as the Bermuda Triangle of technology integration. There are two key reasons why kitchen computers haven't succeeded:

1) Kitchen countertop space is usually at a premium.

2) Kitchen tasks (Turning on water, the stove, the microwave, the dishwasher, opening cabinets and drawers) are all simple, single button and knob actions. The more complicated use of a computer keyboard and mouse combined with frequently wet hands creates yet another mismatch. The main use for a kitchen computer is online access to recipes. Print out your recipe from a computer-acceptable room, and then take it to the kitchen -it takes no more effort.

The kids don't each need a computer in their bedroom.

Of course, you want your kids to be technologically savvy and to have every educational advantage enjoyed by their classmates. But you've given them each a bedroom, a computer and separate internet connection and are now you complain that you don't spend time together as a family anymore? You have no idea who your daughter chats with because she's locked away in her room until bedtime. After not seeing your son for what seems like a few months you seemed surprised that he boasts of having downloaded over 400 albums. The remedy follows, next.

A family room is a good place for a computer.

PC's and Macs both now have profiles that keep users of a computer truly separate. If you fear that sharing only one computer risks familial-anarchy, then put more than one computer in the family room. Wireless networking makes this easy nowadays, and you'll enjoy knowing what the other family members are doing after dinner. Spending time together in the family room may even lead to conversations that aren't typed.

A home office is the best place for a computer.

This is where you have free reign to be as cyber, geeky and high tech as you wish -displaying your technology, proudly! Get a great looking Mac or maybe a PC with an internally-lit case for effect. Home office computers are practical, productive and completely appropriate.

You don't need a computer in the master bedroom.

Bedrooms are for sleeping, dressing and a few other things that require little, if any, technology. Besides, what can your bedroom computer do that your family room or home office computer a few steps away can't? Some cyber-addicts set up a desktop computer beside the bed in their bedroom with a photo screen saver of their kids. I know it's only a photo but there is something about the constant gaze of the kids in that room that would -weird me out.

You don't need to have your laptop in bed with you.

Why would you sleep with your laptop? How do you think that makes your spouse feel to have this third party in bed -laying there, your full attention on its screen? Typing, pointing, clicking and smiling again -tickling the laptop with your fingers. I'm a bit tongue-in-cheek with this suggestion, however, some people should take heed because they do use a computer literally everywhere -affecting their relationships. Feng Shui expert, Angie Ma Wong, states that electronic equipment should be limited in the bedroom because it emanates negative energy in the form of electromagnetic rays and may affect the quality of your rest.

With our excitement about computers, (as with excitement about a human relationship), it is tempting to go overboard with their integration into our lives, when, in reality, a little space can make the whole relationship better.

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