Computer Interface-Off: Boys vs. Girls

Women and Politics

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These articles by Melinda Sherwood were published in U.S. 1

Newspaper on September 15, 1999. All rights reserved. — Second Chance — On Domain Names

If you missed out on that ideal domain name —

— you may have a second chance. Dot cc (.cc) and dot to (.to)

are being thrown into standard use just like .com, .gov, .edu, .org

and other country top level domains (TLDs). Dot cc in particular is

like the second coming of .com. Amazon and Intel have already claimed

their names on the cc network ( and to preserve

their unique identities.

If you haven’t already, you should receive something in the mail


from eNic, which has authority over dot cc TLDs. eNic is giving


a chance to copy their existing domain name over to the cc network

( before it goes up for sale to anyone. The mass

mailing looks a bit sketchy — some people actually mistake it

for interNIC (the .com people) because the names are similar —

but it’s not a scam, says Fred Gardner, manager of sales engineers

for the east region at Verio, the national ISP and domain-based Web

hoster. "It’s just another way of putting your name on the


he says. "The last time I checked there were only about 22 single

words in the English language still left for domain names with .com,

so people are looking for alternatives."

The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the organization solely


for TLD name assignments, originally designated .cc for the Cocos

Islands in the Indian Ocean and .to for Tonga in the South Pacific.

Since connectivity is poor in those parts of the world, says Gardner,

the root servers were located here in the U.S. Subsequently, the


names went up for sale on the worldwide market and are sure to


a steady stream of income for the islands.

Don’t expect to register a .cc or .to name through interNIC, the .com

people, however. Just about any local ISP can do it for you, or you

can register directly with the root servers — eNic


or Tonic ( Just go to the either site and see

if your name is still available. The cost for a two-year contract

is $100. eNic also offers free Web and E-Mail forwarding, as well.

So if you buy the domain you want, it will immediately point visitors

to the URL that actually exists. So if you picked a short straw when

the .coms came along — don’t fret. There’s a name for everyone

in cyberspace.

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Computer Interface-Off: Boys vs. Girls

She’s been called a "technodiva," and an


video game designer," but before Brenda Laurel launched

Purple Moon, a company that creates video games for girls, Laurel

was what you might call a drama queen — she held a PhD in theater

and was doing experimental art shows with the likes of `60s drug guru

Timothy Leary.

It’s Bill Gates who might benefit from Laurel’s theatrics now. Known

in the computing industry as both a feminist and pioneer in


interface, Laurel has been an interactive consultant for Apple


Fujitsu Laboratories, Lucasfilm Games, Sony Picture and Paramount

New Media. She comes to town to discuss "The Year of the


on Tuesday, September 21, at 4:30 p.m. at Trayes Hall at the Douglass

College Center in New Brunswick. The lecture is free. Call


Laurel earned both an MFA and PhD at Ohio State, and started out


and programming computer games for CyberVision in 1977. She then went

to marketing at Atari, before jumping into a product development


position at Activision.

Laurel’s take on computing: using the fundamentals of art and drama

to make interface invisible. In an interview peppered with curse


Laurel explained to Mark J. Jones of Cyberstage, "it’s really

about what art has always been about, namely figuring out how to


create spaces of the right shape and size that invite the


do something that feels good, as opposed to packing people’s heads

full of stimulation."

Men and women, girls and boys, also communicate differently, Laurel

says, and search for different clues in computer interfaces. But


men are typically software designers, it’s almost always geared to

how they think. In 1992, Laurel was part of a research effort at


Research that illustrated the gender-slant of modern computing using

video games as an example. The organization reported that in computer

games girls prefer:

Leading characters that are everyday people. Boys chose

leading characters with "superpowers."

Exploring new experiences with degrees of success, and


outcomes. A boy’s goal is usually to win — outcome is black

and white.

Strong story lines. Boys are more into speed and action.

Real-life settings. Boys tend to chose larger-than-life


Success that comes through friendships. Boys prefer


of competitors.

That knowledge became the basis for Purple Moon, the software company

dedicated to games for girls that Laurel founded in 1996, and could

very well be the basis for the next generation of computer interface


Top Of Page
Women and Politics

Business and politics are inextricably intertwined,

but for a woman striving to make it to political office, business

is the critical launching pad, says Mary Hawkesworth, director

of the Center of American Women & Politics at the Eagleton Institute

of Politics at Rutgers. "Many men run for office having done some

work in the political parties to which they belonged," she says.

"Women have more typically worked for volunteer organizations,

or have been appointed to a board and they use that appointed office

to get name recognition, to establish political ties, and to build

the campaign."

Case in point: Elizabeth Dole and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Although they have put the spotlight on women politicians, both


have the political ties, not to mention the financial clout, to pry

open the door to the men’s club. "The sad fact of American


life is that money is important to a political campaign," says

Hawkesworth, whose job at Eagleton includes tracking from candidacy

to election 3,000 women who have run for office and analyzing why

they did or didn’t get into office. "But given that money is a

constant, and women are drastically underrepresented, it is important

to pay attention to the women who have the courage to run."

How they can win office is the topic of discussion on Wednesday,


22, when Hawkesworth puts her head together with East Brunswick


Council president Meryle Asaro at the Central Jersey Women’s

Network meeting at the Holiday Inn in Princeton at 6 p.m. Call


Cost: $30.

Hawkesworth earned a BA in political science at UMass, Amherst, Class

of 1974, and received her Ph.D. at Georgetown. She spent 20 years

at Kentucky in political science before joining the Institute in 1998.

What are some of the differences between men and women who


make it to office? One in every seven male legislators is a lawyer,

says Hawkesworth, but only 1 in 20 women legislators are. "Women

have not been able to use the law as a career ladder in the same way

as men have," says Hawkesworth. "For an enormous amount of

women it’s been working behind the scenes. The parties have seen men

as viable candidates, but they have screened women out."

Once women get elected to office, says Hawkesworth, they work


and prioritize differently than their male counterparts, says


"We know for a fact that women legislators feel much more


to work for family and children. It’s one thing to introduce


it’s different to work behind the scenes to get it enacted."

— Melinda Sherwood

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