Thursday, February 02, 2006

Introduction (first column appearance)

I left Good Housekeeping to join etown.com and marry a space
alien!

by Carla Diana

OK, so the second part is not exactly true. The alien and
I broke it off a long time ago, that jerk. The first part,
however, is true. I've recently joined the boyz here at etown.com
to bring you this new column called "Carla's Corner." Welcome! I'm
looking forward to having some fun and bringing a much needed
woman's perspective.

In future columns I'll be exploring issues in technology and
sharing regular musings about what's happening now in the
ever-changing world of consumer electronics. And believe me, I do
have a few kilobytes worth to say about this stuff. I'll be
talking about the way we've adapted to technology's blessings --
and its shortcomings, the role of ergonomics in interactivity, and
kids and electronics.

"But why should we spend precious online moments digesting your
reflections on things technological?" you ask. "Isn't the 'net
full of endless ruminations from anyone whose hands can reach the
keyboard and the 'on' switch?"

Well, you may have seen my work in Good Housekeeping magazine
where I spent five years as a part of the print media. Or perhaps
you've caught one of my national TV appearances on shows like
CNN's "Money Matters," Lifetime's "Our Home," Fox Business News
and CNBC's "Steals & Deals." As Good Housekeeping's Director of
Engineering and Technical Editor, I was in charge of reviewing
every new electronic gadget from baby monitors and talking scales
to camcorders and DSS systems. I wrote, researched and edited
articles while managing a staffed engineering lab. I put products
through all the tests I could think of, including lighting
Barbie's hair on fire (a true pleasure), jamming microwave oven
doors open (yes, I feel OK now, really) and jostling portable CD
players until they skipped.

It was a good gig while it lasted (sigh -- no more free
gingerbread cookies or tips on keeping my bathtub its whitest),
but I left this past August to move on to new endeavors. [Can you
do anything for my bathtub? Oh, um, sorry. -- Ed.] Aside from this
regular column on consumer electronics, I'll be dreaming up some
new contraptions of my own as I pursue a master's degree in
product design at New York's Pratt Institute. Yes, that's right,
I've traded in my business suit and corner office for a wad of
clay, some smelly markers and my own corner on the web.

How did I become the woman people consult for insight into today's
technology? For starters, I have a crazed desire to know all about
the latest amazing invention and I've been this way since I lay in
a crib. There was no fooling me with that hollow toy phone. I knew
the real thing when I saw it. Much to my parents' chagrin, I was
taking apart their radio long before I was old enough to say
"frequency modulation." I followed my interests all the way to
engineering school to learn about what makes things work.

So began my career as a consumer electronics maven. When I got
bored of being a run-of-the-mill engineer I started reviewing and
criticizing products, and my word processor has been humming ever
since.

Over the next few months I'll be using what I've learned through
evaluating products all these years, along with my newly enhanced
design savvy, to bring you insights on the electronic devices that
will be entering our homes in the next century.

Thanks for clicking on this new feature. I hope that from now on
you'll make it part of your regular cyberintake. Check in every
couple of weeks for some new truths, trends and tribulations to
spice up your visit to etown.com.

# # #

This story is an etown.com exclusive.

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