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Monday, 16 April, 2001, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Tech topics top tipple talk
Drinkers in Tipton, West Midlands
Traditional pub topics are said to be in decline
Drinkers who cherish the pub as the one place they can avoid computers are seeing technology talk replace traditional bar room chat, according to a survey.

Almost half of pub conversations are now about computers, replacing the well worn topics of children, house prices, education and the NHS.

And a quarter of women prefer to discuss technology rather than their children, the survey of 1,000 people by ICM found.

This compares with 12% of men who opted for computer chat over discussing family life.

Technology is also a hot topic outside the pub with a third of dinner party debates now about PCs and new gadgets.

Holiday talk

The survey for PC World found seven in 10 people think computers are more interesting than house prices, while half the population would prefer to talk about technology than the health service.

Hairdressers may have to change their line in small talk - instead of asking where clients are going on holiday they may want to switch to a technological theme.

The survey found that only 27% of Britons think holidays are more interesting than PCs.

There is competition to keep up with the "techno-Joneses", with people bragging about RAM memory and 28% voting power processors as the most desirable component.

One-upmanship

And 36% of those questioned thought their equipment was superior to their friends' with only one person prepared to concede their computing equipment was a lower specification than that of pals.

Elaine Rowley, PC World's brand manager, said: "Technology today is a fashion and a status symbol.

"More and more people are using computers so it's only natural they are a major topic of conversation.

"The fact that people are now busily bragging about the size of their hard drives rather than their children's school results demonstrates the huge growth in its popularity."

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