pinklaptop.jpgThe bluetooth doodad thingy that I use in the car has been malfunctioning: it works, but then when I turn it off, I have to re-set the doodad so that it can “find” my phone, which, of course, can’t be done when I’m driving. It’s aggravating but I’ve been kind of living with it (who has time or inclination to go find another ear doodad, really?)

Husband searched the web and found a deal on an earpiece, which arrived in this morning’s mail. I thanked him (so lovely to have a tech assistant, isn’t it?), put the package on the floor next to my desk, and went about my day. That night, when Husband came home, he said “did you try it?”

“What?” I asked, mind on dinner and dishes and homework.

“The earpiece, did you try it? Does it work?”

“Uh, no. I don’t need it until Thursday, when I drive to work, so…” Husband sighed and returned to his email.

And there it was: the gender-tech chasm, running right across the apartment floor. He didn’t understand why I wouldn’t immediately want to fiddle with this new doodad, see what it can do, tweak it and tinker with it, set it up with my phone. I can’t understand why I should futz with it until I have to. And then when I do futz with it, I just want it to work.

Luckily, Dell, the computer giant, has decided to create a bridge across that chasm: this week, they’ve launched, a site designed to help women with their technology choices.

The home page features attractive women holding even more attractive laptops, all with stylish cases; there are directions for how to recycle your tech (isn’t this something men want to do, too?), a spotlight on a woman designer who works for Dell; and a list of “seven unexpected ways a mini can change your life.” Did you know that a mini be a recipe finder, diet guide, and provide maps to restaurants? (Women, apparently, are very interested in both eating and not eating.)

Your mini-laptop can even provide free guided meditations, for those times when you can’t make it to yoga but can find the time/place to have your laptop tell you to listen to your breath (rather than to your laptop’s “free tweakable online task manager”).

Now first of all, there are lots of women who have crossed the gender-tech chasm, and whose tech savvy puts everyone around them to shame. (For an academic’s take on tech, digital media, and gadgetry, try Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Planned Obsolesence, just for starters.)

And second of all, doesn’t seem to want to help women be more tech savvy; it just wants us to buy the super cute polkadot laptop sleeve, and maybe the matching tote.

Finally, if this site is Dell’s way of trying to sell more laptops to women, does that mean that the “regular” Dell site is the “male” site? Or will Dell start to proliferate like the Gap did – babydell, dell women, dell men, dell kids?

The mind boggles. In the meantime, my ear doodad is still in its box. I’m hoping Husband will set it up soon.