Neighborhood Coffee Shop Cost: $2.75 for coffee and refill, $0.50 for parking for two hours when you split the difference between the expensive meters by downtown and free street parking elsewhere. ($100.75/month) Pros: Good atmosphere, comfortable seating, good-quality coffee, the warm glow that comes with knowing you are exhibiting normative behavior. No homeless people. Cons: Every table is different, so you either get the big table by the outlet and everyone glares at you or you get the artful tree stump by the window and you have to find the center of gravity on your laptop in order to keep it balanced. Baristas trying to impress everyone with their taste in ambient noise music.
The Library Cost: $3.00/month in late fees Pros: Quiet, plenty of space to work, resources all around you, no time limit Cons: Homeless people
McDonald's Cost: $2/day in depressing snack foods -- e.g., box of "cinnamon melts" ($62.00/month) Pros: Spacious, relatively fast connection speed, not as many homeless people as the library, generally free parking lots Cons: Constant screams from kids in the PlayPlace all hopped up on empty calories, beeping from the automated fryers/microwaves behind the counter, uncomfortable seating.
Comcast Cost: $69.99/month for six months, then $79.99/month for the rest of the year for the package 99 percent of twenty-something renters would get. Pros: Possible to use while wearing pajama pants, no mandatory contract length for above package. Cons: Hernia-inducing customer service, sneaky fees.
Qwest Cost: $59.99/month for six months, then something like $70/month for months six through ten and $95/month for the next year and a half. This, again, for the most obvious twenty-something renter package. Pros: Company doesn't hire customer-support ninjas hell-bent on sneaking service into your home without you understanding what you're getting (like Comcast). Cons: Two-year contract for DirecTV is pretty much unavoidable.
Bar Cost: We're assuming this is an afternoon or late-night option, so $10 for a happy-hour tab ($310/month) Pros: Tons of bars have wi-fi for some reason (it comes with their super premium sports cable packages, maybe?), but no one uses it. So it's generally unburdened by surreptitious porn downloads (like the coffee shop and library) and it's fast. Plus, there's booze. Homeless people, but they're really happy, so it's a plus in this case. Cons: Noise and everyone around you thinking you're a tool for bringing a computer to a bar.