05/07/2010

It's a girl thing!

This is my entry for this week's Weekend Assignment:
Weekend Assignment #323: Tech Savvy
When you bring home some new piece of technology, do you usually get it up and running with pleasant anticipation and calm confidence, or is there more likely to be much swearing, wailing and gnashing of teeth? What's the most trouble you've had with a new computer, tv, phone or related tech gadget?

Extra Credit: Who do you call in to help, if you get stuck?

In our house, there are no divided responsibilties. 'Im indoors and I share everything equally - childcare, housework (not much of that as we have a cleaner!), shopping, cooking, taking Max to his special ed (lots of that!). It means a lot of time spent talking about things, organising, comparing notes. But it's definitely worth it. There are a couple of exceptions: 'Im indoors tends to do all the repair work that involves gluing things. I tend to be in charge of the technology. So if we have a new computer, a new telly, or dvd player, I'm the one that sets it up. If, at a later stage, there's something wrong with any of the above, I'm the one that fixes it.


You might say I was a bit controlly about it all - I don't attempt to explain what I'm doing and I very rarely call in a repair person. Well the former is not entirely a matter of choice. I'd be incapable to say what needed doing before I'd done it. I just go in there, and fiddle till it works. And repairmen? They' re a bit scarce aren't they? And usually you have to take whatever it is that's broken to a shop miles away (we've no car) and then they'll take one look at it and tell you there's nothing they can do. You need to buy a new one.

And it's not even as if I understand the science. I have no idea what the bits do: I just know I like to poke them. So when my son spilt peach juice on the laptop, I made a couple of calls, and got out my screw drivers. Yep, I dissected the beast, and dried it with cotton buds...and...it works!

I don't feel there's really anything unusual about the woman in the family being the machine experts. In fact, most of the geeks I know tend to be women! When the iPad was coming out, all but one of my facebook friends who were getting excited about it were women. So imagine my puzzlement when I finally saw Steve Job's promotional video which featured only men... Clearly the boy doesn't know his market!

I'm hoping that my daughter also will be comfortable with machines. It's looking promising. Right now she's trying to circumvent a streaming problem with the Doctor Who episode she wants to watch on her daddy's computer. She's trying things out. I'm letting her. (Hey, her dad is out and it's his computer.)

Our son, of course, has all the ease of an autistic child with computers and things. But even he knows to defer to big sis or me when there's a problem with the tv. 

Last week our computer scientist friend, Hannah, gave Charlotte a keyring from the conference she was attending. It was an advert for Digital Divas, and it said on it: 'It's a Girl Thing'. How cool is that?

And let's not forget that an ability to do stuff with computers leads to witchcraft, which, clearly, is also a girl thing!

Alyson Hannigan as Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
 So who deals with the machines in your home?

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16 comments:

@jencull (jen) said...

Me, me, me, me too, I do it :D and I LOVE it. I replaced the cases on two DS lites last week, first time trying it. Ok, it took hours but I am thrilled. I also am the one to open up electronic things and fiddle about. Geeky and proud! Happiness is...........:) Jen

Jean said...

In our home it's very much a case of "your Daddy will fix it when he gets home". Changing a plug is the height of my technical abilities. XXX

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

I suck at doing anything that involves a manual to build it or fix it. My husband is really good at this stuff, so most of the time he does it all. But I do my share of housework, like cooking, cleaning, laundry, blogging (wait a minute, that doesn't really qualify as housework--does it?), etc. So it all works out in the end.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

Oh, but I do love witchcraft. And I'm pretty good at it too. So maybe there still is some hope for me.

Sandrine said...

Jen, let me emphasise I have no technical knowledge whatsoever: I can follow instructions for a new tv and I can fiddle with things and see if they work. But it's a bit like letting a child loose with a screwdriver...
Jean - I don't change plugs, not really. If it involves live electricity, I don't go near it. I get electrocuted just staring at a plug, so think of the damage I'd do! Plus I'm not great with colours, so I could well end up mixing the wires...
Organic mother with cool whip (I know it's a long name, but I couldn't bear to leave out the last bit!)I'm sure you can pass blogging off as housework. You could say that while you're doing it, you're not making a mess in the kitchen!
I'm pretty definite that witchcraft goes with technology. For one thing there is Willow in Buffy. Also, my daughter and I are both pretty good at picking wild herbs. So there you are. Irrefutable, I think.

wandering lass said...

I like doing stuff on my own from techie to changing light bulbs.
I don't liek reading manuals/user's guide unless it's too complicated.

Liz said...

Anything to do with anything that has a plug (or, indeed, plugs themselves) is my domain. It often involves swearing and, as time passes, I have developed an aversion to reading manuals which I can't really explain.

Caitlin N said...

I love technology! I'm always the one fixing the computer when it gets a virus :)

Sandrine said...

One does wonder who writes the instructions and why. I tend to give up after the part where they tell you not to feed the batteries to young children or place the laptop in a hot oven...

Looking for Blue Sky said...

I have a techie teen: she's seventeen and is an old hand on facebook and twitter. She publishes videos on youtube and started blogging before I did!

JulieB said...

In our house we divide things fairly equally - anything involving the TV and the computer is "his" domain, whereas smaller gadgets such as phones etc tend to be my domain. He also does hardware, I do software. Strange thinking about it - had never really been conscious of the fact!

Oh, and he NEVER reads instructions... ;)

Sandrine said...

Looking for Blue Sky: I think my daughter may well be going this way. What do you say to an 11 year old who wants to start a blog?! I'm thinking of starting her on a course for school age children called Alice. Later on, she and I can teach ourselves hacking.
Julie: what an interesting division!Is it something that just happened or does it reflect different abilities? It really doesn't look as if it's anything to do with gender roles though!

Roger said...

oi. i gave her the keyring.

but h won't let me do any machine poking where we live.

roger

Sandrine said...

Roger: my humble apologies. I was assuming...

Karen Funk Blocher said...

I'm impressed that you managed to rescue a laptop from peach juice - I lost a camera to orange juice once. Hooray for your daughter growing up technologically fearless!

Sandrine said...

Karen, I think I was very lucky. I reckon if I'd waited to take it to someone to repair it, it would have died, but because I opened it up straight away, cleaned it and left it to dry it was fine. But I guess opening it had certain risks attached to it too... (I killed a VCR once with a screw driver, and thoroughly enjoyed it too. I think I may be an electronics sadist).

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