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Tech Replaces Diamonds As Girl's Best Friend 313

Ant writes to tell us that 'diamonds are no longer a girls best friend', at least according to a recent study commissioned by the Oxygen Network. From the article: "The survey, commissioned by U.S. cable television's Oxygen Network that is owned and operated by women, found the technology gender gap has virtually closed with the majority of women snapping up new technology and using it easily. Women were found on average to own 6.6 technology devices while men own 6.9, and four out of every five women felt comfortable using technology with 46 percent doing their own computer trouble-shooting."
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Tech Replaces Diamonds As Girl's Best Friend

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  • by Umbral Blot ( 737704 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:40AM (#15830100) Homepage
    I don't even think 46% of men do their own computer trouble shooting.
  • One possibility... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chmcginn ( 201645 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:43AM (#15830111) Journal
    Depending on how the question was phrased, it may have said something like "attempt" or "try", instead of "successful complete a troubleshooting task." I hate seeing results to a survey without seeing the survey, personally, for this exact reason.
  • by dark_requiem ( 806308 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:44AM (#15830113)
    with 46 percent doing their own computer trouble-shooting.

    Based on personal experience, I can't imagine this is accurate. I seriously doubt that 46 percent of women or men do their own computer troubleshooting and repair. I can honestly say that most of the people I know own computers, and far less than 46 percent are anywhere near capable or knowledgable of even basic troubleshooting and repair tasks. I expect many /.ers have had a similar experience. The average computer user doesn't even know how to update their drivers. Hell, the average user doesn't even know what a driver is.

    Besides, who conducts a survey comparing the preferences of men and women with a sample set of one group (men, in this case) half the size of the other. While I am by no means a statistician, it seems to me that you would use equaly sized data samples, or at least weight the sample sizes based on the percentage of the population as a whole. Based on my luck recently, I'm quite certain there are not twice as many women as men in this country.
  • Troubleshooting? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crull ( 221987 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:51AM (#15830136)
    What kind of troubleshooting? Troubleshooting can be a pretty much anything from, "I can't seem to find the zoom button" to "Why doesn't this daemon function properly".

    Of all the women I know exactly one do their own troubleshooting. And don't say things like, "You're a geek, maybe you know two women, your mom and sister, and the latter does her own troubleshooting".

    46% just sounds a lot if it's not very basic troubleshooting. I don't even think 46% of the men is doing his own troubleshooting.
  • by Moridin42 ( 219670 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:52AM (#15830141)
    The article also reports:

    The study found over the next five years women see themselves increasing their activities in six tech areas: digital cameras, cell phones, e-mail, camera phones, text messaging and instant messaging.

    I'll grant you that not everybody is proficient with these devices/apps. But pushing shutter releases and send buttons does not make one tech savvy. Man or woman.

    I also wonder where they draw the line for 'technology devices'. Since everything from forks to keys to credit cards to laptops is technology. Just not all of it is recent.

    And lastly.. does the thought "well, I rebooted Windows and everything worked fine" count as "computer trouble-shooting" ?
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:57AM (#15830152)
    After a while in support you learn that "nothing" is the second most used lie right after "the check's in the mail". If the caller is male, you may safely assume that he DID try to fix the problem and the fact that he still called you means that he DID make it worse, and that pretty much every possible setting has been twiddled and is now at some completely random value.
  • My Observations (Score:3, Insightful)

    by miyako ( 632510 ) < minus language> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:12AM (#15830194) Homepage Journal
    I have a few observations on the subject. I think that the first thing that immediately lept to mind has also been the prevailing comment so far, and that is that 46% seems awfully high for men or women for doing troubleshooting, unless you count troubleshooting as saying "hmm, something's wrong.".
    That aside, it seems to me that women have a higher average technological competency than men, speaking in general terms, however there also seems to be a smaller standard deviation. Of the men I know, most seem to be either geeks or luddites. Most of the men I know have only very recently started considering using cell phones (many men I know don't own one), and very rarely, if every, use a computer. On the other hand, I know very few female geeks, but I also can't think of any female luddites. Most women I know were early adopters of cell phones, and most women I know use the computer more than men, and for more versatile tasks (e.g. I know a lot of men who literally never use the computer for anything except ebay, most women I know use the computer for the web as well as email, IM, iTunes, photos, etc.).
    Of course the survey contradicts my own observations, but I also think terms like "technology gadgets" are extemely vauge. In my experience, women are generally early adopters of technologies that enable creativity and communication (cell phones, IM, scanners, photo editing software, etc.) whereas men tend to be early adopters of technology that is primarily entertainment (dvd players, video games, etc.).
  • eh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Rooked_One ( 591287 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:20AM (#15830219) Journal
    the age group seems a little biased.... there are just as many (if not more) women that are over the age of 49 than under - probably..... But I bet the curve of this is really scewed to the 15 year old side... My mother falls right in the eldest of the group, and while she is comfortable with computers, she can bearly troubleshoot and would take a diamond ring over a TV anyday - but then again she is a teacher that doesn't watch much TV.
  • by Tatarize ( 682683 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:41AM (#15830271) Homepage
    What's worse... those are probably the better 46%.
  • Survey Problems (Score:2, Insightful)

    by xdxfp ( 992259 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @05:17AM (#15830368)
    I wouldn't despute that women use technology, but don't confuse that with an interest in technology. Most women I know use computers for e-mail, myspace, ordering flowers, etc.

    Second, the fine print says women ages 15-49. Why not 15-99? Perhaps they wanted to distort the numbers to make it newsworthy.

    Lastly, the study cannot imply anything about whether women actually like technology more than clothes. Perhaps they would prefer a digital camera to a pair of shoes because they have 200 shoes, and only a crappy disposable camera.
  • by Moridin42 ( 219670 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @06:04AM (#15830466)
    It doesn't really matter how you categorize.

    My point wasn't to say "ooooh. lookit the women who think they're technophiles but aren't!"
    My point was to more say "using the ubiquitous tools of the day isn't particularly noteworthy."

    The AC above was pretty close. Young women are pretty well noted (deservedly or not) as talking a lot on the phone. But since now the phone is celluar, there is something new going on? There isn't. Or instead of loading the camera with film, its loaded with a card. Its still a camera, though. Maybe if you could show a shift in who the women were communicating with, it would be notable. Say, they're using IM and email as a primary method of finding new friends. Or if a demographic of women now have friends from demographics they previously didn't, thanks to email, IMs, whatever. If the science changes but the activies are basically the same, its my opinion that this is No Big Deal.

    The factoids that might perhaps slightly be called "mildly surprising" would be the ones about preference for gadgets over jewelry, vacations, and shoes. But that depends on how the question was asked.

    "Would you rather have a plasma tv or a diamond necklace?" is a very different question from "Would you rather recieve a plasma tv or a diamond necklace as a gift?" Similarly, asking "would you rather buy a digital camera or designer shoes?" is a different question from asking "if you could have a digital camera or designer shoes, which would it be?" One is asking which do you find to be a more valuable purchase on a finite budget, and the other asks, if money weren't a factor, what would you have? Yet either one could be put into a survey and then written about as "technology is what women want!" It wouldn't at all surprise me if women responded in favor of the gadgets to one type of question, as gadgets can be enjoyed frequently. The other type, however, may elicit responses from the same women in a different fashion as they imagine the rarer occassions when they want to really go all out. Times when the plasma tv doesn't go with you and the digital camera may be useful for taking pictures. But if you don't look good for the event, maybe you don't want that particular picture.
  • by instantkamera ( 919463 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @07:24AM (#15830639)
    I was under the impression that 95%+ of the entire population is stupid, male and female alike. I am also highly skeptical of ~50% of either sex doing their own PC troubleshooting.
  • by a.d.trick ( 894813 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @10:16AM (#15831692) Homepage
    I don't think there's any law that swings one way or the other. Modern society steriotypes men as drunken buffoons (a la Homer Simpson, et al) and many of them strive to fall into that steriotype (it's not hard). Women on the other hand are told that their supposed to be liberated from the male dominance in our society, they must take control of their destiny and all that jazz, so the tend to turn out smarter. The current gender situation is a rather sad irony that after all that womens lib. and stuff that went on last century.

    Of course I'm speaking in generalizations here. I figure that the actual individuals that make up society are a bit saner.
  • hot and bothered (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Glog ( 303500 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:45AM (#15832476)
    46% of women doing their own PC-troubleshooting, eh? I guess that is equivalent to me doing my own car maintenance by glancing at the odometer and then at the oil change sticker to figure out if it's time for another oil change.
  • So what? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ThousandStars ( 556222 ) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @11:54AM (#15832568) Homepage
    Who gives a shit whether you own a "tech" device -- and what the hell does that mean anyway? Does a cell phone count? Does a mortar and pestle? How about an iPod?

    What's more interesting is whether a) you can explain how a "tech" device works on a deep level and b) Whether you can alter it to make it more useful to you, whether through prgoramming or hardware mods. That's what they should be thinking about, not whether you have sufficient extra income to buy such devices.

  • The AC said this:
    From my experiance in a university computer science department the vast majority of the women that are in the department (suprisingly there are actually in the double digits) are excellent at theory but absolutly have no idea how to write code. They usually pass classes that require coding by suducing one of the lonely male students into doing it for them. In contrast there are three or four females that are excellent coders. It's probably safe to say that each person has a differant way of thinking about things which may allow him/her to work problems more/less sucessfully than others.

    I'm not surprised you posted as "anonymous coward" -- fear often has to masquerade. Do we first express surprise and doubt that you've been anywhere near a university with your poor spelling and written communication, or do we run with an outdated stereotype that computer people can't spell or use language properly?

    Nearly everything you said was an outdated stereotype created by men (term loosely used) to ward off women from an area that they felt was theirs. Interestingly enough, you also insulted the men.

    Look at this: They usually pass classes that require coding by suducing one of the lonely male students into doing it for them.

    The "vast majority" of women pass classes this way. You are acknowledging that there are a consider number (enough to merit vast, in any case) but then suggesting that women use their sexuality to obtain a decent grade -- and that the men are poor suckers who can't laid without some "hot" chick giving some in order to get her work done.

    This post, while extraordinarily offensive, says so much more about you than it does about your purported experience in a university. A guy who can't even spell the word "seduce"; you've given away how badly you wish your stereotype would come true for you.

    In point of fact? Most of the tech "lonely geek" guys that you talk about aren't either. It's not the 80s. Tech "Geeks" are generally hot guys, and as such aren't threatened by their female counterparts. The ones who are threatened? Guys who are insecure and therefore feel the need to belittle others in order to maintain their position on top of the heap.

    Oh.. and if you are are as careful in writing code as you are in language, where code is far less forgiving of errors, you'll end up without even the comfort of a job to allow you to continue in a belief system more outdated than an 8088.

    -- The women are coming to "suduce" and take away male jobs -- run away, ran away quickly!

I was playing poker the other night... with Tarot cards. I got a full house and 4 people died. -- Steven Wright