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geeksugar Interview with Gizmodo Editor Elaine Chow

Geeks We Love: Elaine Chow of Gizmodo

You've already seen the men of this year's Geeks We Love series, and now it's time to mix it up with a girl-crush: Elaine Chow of Gizmodo.

A gadget girl living in and writing from China, Elaine is set apart by geography and gender, as most of the Giz staff is male. Check out what she has to say about that, as well as a valuable dating/technology lesson she learned in my interview with her.

GS: You're the Gizmodo member who writes from Asia. Do you look out for what's breaking in tech while we're all sleeping on the other side of the world?

EC: Basically that's my job! Catch things that are only around the Asian websites or that would otherwise fall through the cracks during the graveyard shift. Thanks to the Internet, it's not too hard to do — though it sometimes gets lonely since very few of my coworkers are on the company chat room at two in the morning.

To see the rest of my interview with Elaine, just


GS: Gadget rundown! Cell phone, computer, console?

EC: I actually have a terribly old cellphone — a Nokia model from 2005 that my dad stopped using last year. I'd lost my U.S. phone, a SE W580, on the plane ride over here. I've been hemming and hawing over what to replace it with since. A part of me wants something I can slip into tight jeans. Another part of me wants to use a smartphone already. Preferably running Android.

I've got my tablet PC, a Fujitsu Lifebook T4210, and my desktop. . . a Shuttle PC I built myself. I've been kind of lazy with my Shuttle. Back in New York, I had it hooked up to a 27-inch LCD TV. I was going to do that here, but just haven't found the time or money to go TV shopping. I got the Shuttle because it was small and easy to move around, but I wanted to be able to swap components as they got old. With the tablet — I love tablets. I like to doodle, so sometimes when I'm feeling a little strung out, I'll fire up Sketchbook Pro.

Besides that, I've got a Wii, a PS2, and my DS Lite. I've been a little obsessed with Mario Kart lately. I used to DDR a lot, but I haven't found a good mat in China yet. I'm waiting for Sony to come out with a slim PS3 (you know they're going to at SOME point in time. Come ON Sony!). . . and debating whether I really need an Xbox 360.

I waffle a lot when deciding whether to buy new stuff. I'm very stingy and I hate waste, so I'll obsess over the value to use ratio of my purchases. My TV's a big ol' 26-inch CRT my parents donated to my apartment.

GS: As one of the only female writers on the Gizmodo staff, do you feel you have an edge? Do you think you handle tech stories differently?

EC: I don't know if it gives me much of an edge to be a girl writer. When I first started out, I'd get some misogynistic comments if I ever wrote about say, a kitchen or cleaning gadget. I would like to think I don't handle anything differently than my fellow writers because I have ovaries though. It helps that the Giz crew is a pretty enlightened bunch. Maybe the guys tend to make a few more boner jokes. . .No. . . No, I make a lot of boner jokes too. Never mind.

GS: Being a woman writing in tech, is it more important that you connect with a female audience and show them you're a woman so they can relate to you, or that you are seen on the same level as a male tech blogger?

EC: I think the best way for me to write is to not think about being anything other than being "Elaine, who was fascinated enough with geeky things to become a tech blogger." I think me being a woman will color my posts as often as me being an environmentalist, me being a science lover, me liking cats, etc. You know? Like, it's important. . . but it's not the most important thing. That being said, if me being a woman blogging at Gizmodo has made any girl out there think "Hey, maybe this tech stuff isn't just for guys after all," I'd be super psyched.

GS: How do you feel about the current state of dating and technology? Any funny mishaps happen to you that could be blamed on tech?

EC: I'm one of those terrible people that never write letters or calls to say hello anymore thanks to email, IM'ing and text messaging. I think the last two guys I dated, I never actually conversed with on the phone. Part of that is probably because I actually hate phone conversations. It's a weird neurosis.

Hmm . . . a mishap with technology. Well, I don't know if I can call this one funny. A former boyfriend of mine had problems controlling his jealousy. One day, I had left my MSN messenger on before leaving my house for work and he saw that I'd received an email from another ex. He went into my emails, from there got passwords to my private blog and then proceeded to read it and yell at me for things I'd written (sometimes about him) that he didn't like.

Now my laptop is password protected and there's a specific guest setting for anybody that's not me to use. Also, I try not to date psychos.

GS: What's your favorite or most memorable thing you've gotten to do as part of Gizmodo?

EC: Meeting Brando in Hong Kong was a very surreal moment and it was thrilling to know that he was a fan. I think that sometimes I forget that millions of people are reading us, and some of those people are making the things we talk about all the time. And then you meet one of them and you're kind of like "whoa, why are you even giving me the time of day? You're awesome!" I love that I got the opportunity to do that.

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