I'll have to disagree in a very broad way, first of all - I don't think "people" are getting meaner. Some are mean, some aren't, but I think the global trend is toward greater tolerance and coolness. Anyway, we can argue over that next time we jam.
But look here, about your article - people used to get much worse than the third degree for the color of their shoes, shirts, caps, and - yeah, skin. Remember?
And cell phones - they're better than land lines. Honest. You can call your kids while you're taking a stroll to the local pizza shop. You can get invited to a friend's hastily put-together party while enjoying soup at the restaurant. And oh, yeah, you can also use it at home - many do. Cell phones also have these cool "silent" and "off" buttons. Man, I wish my landline had that!
Oh, I don't mean to be a smartass, but have you ever actually been to a coffee shop? I'm sitting at one right now, as a matter of fact. And I'm working. On my laptop. The place is super-chill - lots of high school kids trading gossip, old dudes reading the newspaper, several moms with their kids. No stress, honest. About a third of us are on our laptops. I don't know what's on other people's screens, but the work-related gobbledy-gook on mine isn't stressing me out at all. Hey, if you have a stressful job, that's your problem, not whether you do it while having coffee or not.
Technology is cool. Coffee shops are cool. So, hey, I'm with you 100%. Let's all cool it up and cool it down to max. You know, some would say that includes not kvetching over the realities of modern urban life. Just sayin'. Peace.