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PC style as important as Clock Speed 172

Anonymous Coward writes "According to this news, after iMac success, PC style is as improtant as megahertz. What do you guys (and gals) think? " I'd have to agree, as I've owned some nice computers, but they were all eyesores.
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PC style as important as Clock Speed

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  • According to reports, PC makers will be revealing unique new designs at CES.
  • I think this is a perfect place to repost Dagmar's excellent HOWTO for spraypainting your computer. This was originally a series of answers to an Ask Slashdot question, but they've been collated onto a website.

    Find it here: Dagmar's painting the computer -- a quick & dirty mini-HOWTO [airnet.net].

  • Get a nice terminal, and hide the ugly computer in the basement. Instant end to the looks purty vs. goes fast debate.

    As for the person who complained that the styling of purty machines ages badly and gave the example of an old car...well, there's someone who's obviously never heard of people who put hours and hours into polishing "classic cars."

  • Who care what a machine looks like.

    Function over form defiantly.
  • At least as far as security goes, it's historically been one of the worst OSes around. I won't deny that SGIs are cool, though. I've got two of them at my desk (and am using one now to type this).

    - A.P.

    "One World, One Web, One Program" - Microsoft Promotional Ad

  • The "style" of the bawx will always be secondary to the guts of the machine, at least in my eyes.
  • I was... and you're talking nonsense. How old are you?
    Granted, it's not terribly important now, but let's not be rewriting history, shall we? Too Microsoftian, and really bad form for open source peoples :)
  • Posted by clinton:

    According to the posts here on /. so far, there are a lot of folks who don't care what their computers looks like, and then there are a few who do. Everyone has their own preferences.

    I think stylized computers are here to stay -- but not everyone will have one. It's kinda like cars. There's the Geo Metro (a $500 celeron system -- cheap but functional), racing cars/Indy 500 cars (custom built Pentium II 450 systems -- fast but not designed for the aesthetics), VW Bug (an iMac -- consumer oriented, more expensive than a Geo Metro, stylized), and the BMW (400 mhz Powermac G3 in a translucent case -- expensive, stylized, but not as fast or economical as a racing car).

    On a different note, some people here are comparing their Pentium II systems to an iMac. Okay, a 233 mhz iMac isn't that great. But let's step back for a moment -- what does Apple offer to the geek crowd?

    Today you can buy a 400 mhz G3 system [apple.com] (which is faster than a 450 mhz Pentium II system, according to the bytemark benchmark), Rage 128 graphics, Ultra2 SCSI, with up to a gig of memory. USB and firewire. Integrated 100base-TX networking. It can display on 2 to 4 monitors, if you happen to plug in more video cards. And it all happens to be in a stylized translucent case. That kicks ass!

    And what can I run on this sweet machine? MacOS X Server [apple.com] aka Rhapsody aka OpenStep aka NeXTStep aka BSD 4.4. FreeBSD and OpenBSD and NetBSD users should rejoice! Unix users should rejoice! The fact that you can run BSD 4.4 (Rhapsody), MacOS 8.5, Redhat Linux for Intel [xlr8yourmac.com], and NT [connectix.com] on the same machine at the same time is pretty cool. When was the last time you could get Solaris or Linux bundled with your Compaq or Dell? When was the last time you got video/ethernet drivers for Linux/Solaris when you bought a video card or ethernet card? Well, Apple makes hardware and software that works under Unix. (And even open source unix -- MkLinux [apple.com] is mostly their doing) The fact that at least somebody in the mass market computing industry is trying to push this kind of technology (Unix) and philosophy (supporting open source) and aesthetics (translucent curved cases) should be reassuring.

  • Posted by zolton:

    Three years ago I had the idea of creating designer monitor/computer cases. Started to research it, but alas couldn't find the capital to start since runs on commercial plastic injection molders were fairly pricey.

    But it is still a good idea. As computers are now integrated into the homeplace, it only stands to reason that custom colors/design will be important. And people will pay a premium for them. More proof? Look at snowboarders. You don't buy a new snowboard because the old one is obsolete, you buy one for the latest graphics.

    A few graphic designers, a little capital (or a lot), and some saavy marketing...and bingo. Give me a yell, I'll help.
  • Posted by zolton:

    A quick follow-up to my last comment regarding design.

    As Linux apps move onto the desktop, the open source community would be well advised to include/recruit graphic designers to help design GUI's.

    A polished front end does wonders to make the user feel comfortable with the underlying technology.
  • Posted by VIiMprovedlon.crosswin:

    Why do you care about how your computer looks? Computers are a tool not a decoration or a night light. Also the iMac looks stupid. I am also very sorry if you are so obsessed with the iMac that you have to make people thing your a total idiot and mentaly challanged to defend the stupid looking iMac.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by VRBrain:

    the BTW sounds really cool- Linux support anyone? Old hardware rules!
  • Good looking case, Heavy duty case, and good hardware inside.

    Apple has the looks. They fail on the heavy duty case, but almost everything does. They get a C for hardware inside. The powerPC is a nice chip, and I'm not knocking a lower power insides for those who don't need the greater power, I just don't think apple is that great with designing hardware. (mind you most PCs do worse)

    Now if they would fix the OS, but all OSes suck. I'm told by those in the know that the pdp-10 didn't suck, pity they stoped making them in 1983. (Okay, where is that taken from. Kudeos if you can answer without violating the spirit)

  • granted, if I didn't know what "MHz" was, I would probably care how the machine looks -- part of the reason I picked my car.

    but who *looks* at a computer? at work my workstation is shoved under my desk and I only see the monitor/kb/mouse. The servers are located in a small dark room downstairs and most people never see them.

    at home, the system *has* to be in view (because the SCSI cable to the scanner isn't long enough for the system to go under the table) ...

    of course, this whole thing reminds me of an ex (thankfully) roommate of mine. when moving in, he was hooking up his computer. I walked in to see what he was up to, and he said "So ... What do you think?" my answer was "all I know is that it's white." he didn't know what was in the box.

    so, I guess it depends. "fashion" cases are nice, but I wouldn't buy a computer because of one.
  • I appreciate visual design, but would prefer NeXT black over iMac day-glo. I would even sacrifice a little speed for a machine that lends my home-office some style.

    However, I would gladly do without both style and high-end performance for a zero-noise machine. I suppose I could live with head-seek noise from the fixed-disk, but power-supply fans and cpu-fans bite the big one.

  • > Yet while the ``Wintel'' duopoly of chip
    > colossus Intel Corp. and software giant
    > Microsoft Corp. are due credit for developing
    > the PC ``for the most of us,'' the importance of > design isn't lost on either of them.

    Funny most histories of computing site Apple as having really developed the idea of the PC. And we all know how much Microsoft stole from Apple. And yet business people seem to have shorter memories than presidents...

  • What OS did the PDP-10s run? Whatever it was, it probably sucked [kite.net].

    --Phil ("Linux sucks differently every time a kernel is released.")
  • I agree. Cool, good and useful industrial design can help a lot.

    ``There will be a rush to design things that look a little bit cool, but that raises the question can you reach really low prices with offbeat designs and do you have the volume to justify the expense of the industrial design?'' Kunstler said.

    Even if I like how look the iMac, the best thing that the designer put in the little pet was the handle. I hate the boxes that are heavy, bulky and ugly (Ex. Compaq servers) that lacks this handy case improvement. On the other hand, I liked the design of the old Acer Altos that got a handle, white case and an excellent design, making easy and safe to carry the server (if needed) from one room to another, so I don't understand what this guy is trying to say, if he is implying that industrial design doesn't matter, maybe he never opened a box, so he doesn't know how can industrial design make easier the service of the equipment.
    From a consumer's viewpoint it's OK that the designers put more attention to the looks of the machines, and a IS guy would care more about how easy is to upgrade memory, change processor card, swap hard drives, cooling, etc. so he can gave a god service to his customers, and this depends of the job (mostly) of the industrial designers.
    And, if you are paying hundreds of dollars for that boxes, at least they could make them look good.
  • by CaseyB ( 1105 )

    Sorry, but I don't want a cutesy-wutesy computer.

    The idea that looks are important doesn't imply "cute".

    What *I* want to see in computer design is a return the classic computer design: huge, imposing, and in it's best examples, frightening.

    I want large, black towers. I want an ominous everpresent throbbing hum. I want blinking lights, that make it perfectly clear that the machine is thinking thoughts so far beyond your comprehension that you should be on your knees offering it baskets of fruit. I want quarter-inch tape reels spinning back and forth in a mesmerizing display of it's infernal machinations. I want to own a computer that looks like if you did something the least bit displeasing, it would make use of any electrical devices plugged in anywhere in your house to kill you.

    But instead, we get transparent blue jellybeans. Sigh.

  • the 300MHz G3's open a can of whupass on the 400MHz Intel's. I imagine the 400Mhz G3's will be top of the line PC hardware until Sharptooth and K7 come. The guys running 400MHz G3 LinuxPPC boxes are going to be my envy till I can setup a SMP K7 system.
  • It's mind boggling reading all the drivel posted in this forum. You ask a bunch of geeks if they care how their computer looks, of course they'll say "no". Geeks don't care how anything looks, including themselves (which is why most of them can't get a date).

    The dummer ones among you even say that you'd prefer function over form, thinking that you can't have both! Do you think a manufacturer is going to increase the price of a system because it looks nicer? Of course not! Competition won't let them! The whole idea is that ALL computers, regardless of capability or function, should look good.

    Timur "too sexy for my code" Tabi, timur@tabi.org, http://www.tabi.org
  • Well, my thought was that if enough manufacturers made really nice cases for all their systems, the costs would spread themselves out and eventually it would be a non-issue. But the only way it'll ever get to that point is if customers start insisting that manufacturers make attractive cases!

    Timur "too sexy for my code" Tabi, timur@tabi.org, http://www.tabi.org
  • If I care that much about style in my computer I'll just customize it myself. paint the case/keyboard, etc.. I can't see actually making a purchase of one computer over another because of style unless the two were exactly the same in all other ways.
    Kevin Doherty
  • How the machine looks is always a consideration. Given the choice, when we are buying a machine for the computer room, assuming 2 machine are identical in function, we'll buy the black box with lots of blinking lights over the off-white / beige no flash system. Clients who see the computer room are much more impressed by this than the 'plain' computer boxes.

    Also, think of the standard homeowner. Do they want an f-ugly beige computer rectangular box sitting in the den/living room or do they want one that looks 'cool' and matches the couch/carpet/wallpaper?

    Does it matter to everyone? Of course not... many of us on slashdot probably don't even have the cover on the case most of the time... but I do remember a very popular slashdot article earlier this year about different ways to paint a case.
  • Yes, Like the "swiss cheese" Acer Aspire of 1993/4 My brother has one that is _younger_ than an Acros and upgraded twice before going to an ATX design. The Acros is still being used today and still takes an AT MB. The "swiss cheese" guy has an "Acer Special" MB and the case is, well, a lost cause.

    Trendy quickly becomes passe.

    my two kopeks
  • Why stop at the outside? I want a computer with its insides chromed over like a some of those hot rod cars. Then i could put some cool hydrolics in like a vato-mobile. hell-yeah.
  • ...and a marketing end it is absolutely necessary. Although I don't think macintoshes were the first to come up with it. Lots of machines used to look cooler than your plain beige case, Acer made a pretty cool looking case, as does Dell, granted they were horrible to work inside of. Not to mention SUN and SGI has always made cases that looked cool, at least if you were a "techie" granted they were see through....of course it makes you wonder why a see through computer case would catch on but a see through bathing suit is illegal...I think our ideals are messed up personally.
  • I care. That's why when I built out my PC I went to the trouble of acquiring a very cool looking black cube case instead of a regular beige box.

    Now if I could just find one of those very rare Microsoft Natural Keyboards in BLACK, I'd be all set.
  • Genius analysis. I couldn't have said it better.
  • Wrong. Where I work we sold 1500 in December alone. The sales are not fluffed up.

    What is probably fluffed up are the research figures showing how many buyers are first time computer buyers.....
  • Take a look at Great Expectations [cda-ltd.com]. They make furniture-quality wooden computer cases and accessories.

    Doug Loss

  • If you can't afford Great Expectations, try Wood Computer Cases [rwebsite.com]. They print high-quality photos of woodgrain on regular cabinets.

    Doug Loss

  • Just give me a small footprint. Maybe a Netwinder.
  • I volunteer you to be in the first of the Giant
    space Arks. Space Ark A. You see we are building
    them because a giant sun eating space goat is
    going to destroy our galaxy.
  • You should contact SGI in your area...they'll refer you to a reseller.
  • For young kids (grade school age) the iMac is plenty powerful and I'd be willing to let them pick their favorite color without worrying if I could save a couple hundred dollars by being more miserly.

    The iMac isn't up to the standards of bleeding edge types, but if I were buying a computer for a kid going off to college (maybe not a CS major)I'd certainly consider it for the ease of moving it in and out of dorms.

  • It's like cars, some people just want a good, efficient machine, some people want something that just looks good, others want a nice looking car with a big engine under the hood.

    Computers will be the same way in years to come.

    I have an ugly G3 minitower, but I cover the thing in punk-rock stickers, so it ends up looking good.
  • 99% of why I buy a computer is because of whats under the hood. But I keep my towers on my desk, cause I like em there, and everyone likes to have nice looking furniture that is sometimes a conversation piece, and beige boxes just aren't that. Apple struck a big nerve with the iMac.

    Whenever I get computers I always end up covering them with stickers (usually obscure punk-rock bands) or something like that, just to lively the thing up.

    I don't know cars, so I care how a car looks. I do know computers, so I don't care how they look. I think it pretty much works like that, and as computers get more mainstream, we're gunna see alot more boxes designed to appeal to the eye.
  • It bothers me a bit when people overdo the aesthetic thing. There are people who will go out of their way to put their television in the part of the room where the cable doesn't reach, because it 'looks better there.' I don't get it. It still looks like a TV, and my eye is focused on the flickery, moving-picture part.

    If the hardware looks nice, and isn't proprietary, I'd buy it, sure. If it has a curved, molded CD drive or some oddball motherboard size, screw it.
    I don't think most of us function over fashion types necessarily WANT an ugly box; it's just that we have seen what most of these pretty boxes are like on the inside.

    Just like many don't want a GUI that takes all of their RAM and CPU cycles, we don't want a conversation piece that has the cpu soldered to the board or worse.
  • I hate "fashion marketing" as much as the next person, but I have to admit that the average Intel machine is, visually, an abomination. We bought a new one recently and it's an ugly ugly ugly box which is made even more ugly by it's attempts to be less ugly. Worst of all, it's cooling fans, all six of them for what I know, make such a racket that I can hardly see myself think. The only saving grace is that you can stuff the machine under your desk and only look at it when you need to stuff floppies and CD-ROMs in.

    I'd love to have something ~small~, at least as a head.

  • Does everyone really believe the color beige is ugly? I, for one, think it is one of the nicest colors that can be applied to computing in general. I mean, what piece of computing hardware _hasn't_ come out in a beige color?

    I buy an iMac, but I want to use my old printer [oops...well, have to buy a network box for the printer to use with an iMac.] My old Apple printer, of course, is beige...my iMac is not--Aigh!! Throw that damned laser printer out! It's ugly!

    Being the neutral color that is it, what is the problem? It doesn't clash with anything, so why do people think it stands out?

    I'd wager that 90% of the fridges/freezers out there are beige or white--so, what's the deal? People generally don't think too hard about the guts of one of these appliances...but in general they come in one basic color. I also question the notion that computers are becoming a commodity. In a sense, they are, but the internals of a computer ARE what define the subjective experience of it. It's great that I can show it to my friends and say "Ain't that great! Blends in with the curtains", but if it is a pain in the ass to use, what good is it to me?

    And, tell me the truth--who wants translucent green? I would love to see a room where translucent green 'fits', but beige does not.

    Personally, I don't care what Mac does. If you get a Mac, you are certainly going to know that you are buying a proprietary box, anyway. If you bought a standard PC, you would know that you could go anywhere and order parts for it. Buying a proprietary system will guarantee that you will have to order non-standard parts for it. Instead of getting the 50cent faceplate, you will have to order, direct from Apple, the $20 'cranberry' faceplate. Want to order a DVD-RAM drive in Cranberry? Oops..sorry, can't do that.

    I worked in the computer retail trenches for years, and some of Schteve's thoughts are accurate--your average MAC user is usually not going to understand what is inside the box, anyway. But a couple of years down the road, when you explain to people that they can't run X software because they didn't get enough RAM when they bought the machine, they get confused and feel like you deceived them, tricking them into buying an inferior product. Do customers ever come back in the store to say "I simply LOVE the computer you sold me. It looks splendid sitting next to the sofa!" No, they come back in irritated at you for selling them a crappy product, and think they are entitled to a refund.
  • ``Hopefully that'll put pressure on people to make better boxes. I don't want to deal with 10 screws to put in a little piece of memory.''

    Is it just me or am I the only one that thinks making it harder for your co-workers to unceremoniously 'borrow' components is a Bad Thing(tm)?

  • While stylish looking machines are fine, what really boils my blood is all the damn noise these infernal machines make. I'd love to see a reliable dB rating attached to any PC marketed out there, and make noise reduction a fundamental part of the design process.

    For example, I gladly forego 7200RPM drives for 5400RPM drives which are quiet (IBM Deskstar's are great). It's a speed tradeoff, but one I readily make.

    I like the look of Corel's Netwinder. I like the planned specs and the functionality of the LC. But if it's got a noisy fan and disk, I'm passing, no matter how cheap they make it.
  • You know sometimes I wonder what the background is of the typical slashdot poster. Why? Because they seem to have no sense of real computing history... well that and a complete and total lack of understanding of the common computer user. Of *course* style is important. This is regardless of the OS or the hardware inside. If any of you had used anything besides PeeCees you would understand this. Having owned one of almost every major workstation line made (except hp boxen)... style is *very* important to me. "Oh but what about the insides you whine?" What do I care? Each of these boxes have had unix and scsi under the hood. As a serious computer user (which many slashdot users claim to be but obviously aren't) workstations have met all my requirements for years and they still continue to.

    So since they are all the same how do they distinguish themselves? Easily *style*. How many of you have ever spent significant time in front of a NeXT? Steve Jobs recognized way back in 91 that if you make something visually appealing as well as having great utilitarian value then you can make something that will last long past its usefulness. SGI and sun have done the same... whereas most people with PeeCees want towers they hide under the desk, workstation owners are proud about the machine they have on their desk. Serious computers users do care about style.

    And the common user? Who are they? They are the 99.99999% of the population that will never read (or care to read) a site like slashdot. They are the people who just want a computer that they can send email on, view the web, make pretty graphs and do taxes. You do not need a PII 350Mhz for this. Microsoft is the reason you do. The point is just *like* a car... if it does what you need then style is damn important.

  • Learn to read. I was commenting on workstations not PeeCees or macs.

    Coming soon on slashdot! Reading Comprehension!!
  • It never ceases to amaze me how many of the people who read /. are completely unable to understand the thinking processes of the common computer user.

    Of *course* people who read /. regularly care more about what's inside than outside, but the VAST majority of people are HIGHLY clueless about this sort of stuff. They get confused about ROM and RAM for Pete's sake. All they want is to be able to run MS Office and some games and some educational stuff for their kids. Does it surprise you that these people care about what color their computer is as much as what CPU it uses?

    The fact that aesthetics are so important leads me to believe that bringing Linux and other Open Source software to the masses will require bringing it to the clueless, and not the other way around (as many people would like to think).

  • unless you're talking about size: I'd rather have those teeny VTS 6Gig firewire drives (the ones due in June, not March -- thick credit card-looking things) than a 3.5" SCSI drive of the same capacity.

    I'm not sure that's "style", however: if they were black with purple polka-dots instead of that blood red color, I wouldn't care. I'd take Ugly and Functional over Cute anyday.

    And anyway, the non-Mac crowd desiring aesthetics as well as function has always had those monitor-cover things, spray paint, and mousepads, right? What more could they want?
  • >>ways to hide all the cables

    oh that reminds me: if style is so important (over function) why aren't more people using those AC adapter "networks" (by intelogis or something like that) vs ethernet? Sure I hate mega cables too (cause I haven't drilled all the holes and I trip over them), but speed is just a WEE BIT more important than appearance.
  • From the various articles I've read over the past few days regarding the new iMac flavors [apple.com] and their impact on the personal computer market as a whole, I've gleaned one sensible comment - that the personal computer has reached a level, as a commodity, at which it can be considered a standard home appliance.

    As such, certainly visual appeal and functional design are sure to become more influential factors in choosing a PC than they have ever been before. But my question is, why only now, and in particular, why has the iMac triggered this media blitz (which is sure in turn to trigger new product lines from everyone under the sun, who will say they all had it under development anyway)?

    PC users have cried out against their cases for years. If those of us who build our own machines weren't screaming about the ugliness of beige, surely we were complaining to each other about the difficulty we had with working (physically) in our machines, the odd tools often required, and even the injuries we had sustained (no one who's done any sort of PC maintenace extensively has escaped some level of personal injury, ranging from scrapes and bruises to the deaded "slot bite" which results from inadvertenly inserting a finger through a case expansion slot and attempting to retreive it).

    In fact, years ago PC makers took a great deal of effort to make it damn near impossible to work on your machine. And Apple lead the pack. In high school, I once had to repair a Mac in newspaper class because the school system lacked the funding to call a certified technician. Not only was it put together with torx screws, but they were so deeply seated as to require an obscure driver (luckily the same sort of driver is sold at auto stores for replacing headlamps in automobiles). IBM also contributed to the nonsense by putting together all of their earlier home systems (especially all the microchannel ones) with screws capped by a trademarked nonstandard head design, much like the gamebit screws which close Nintendo systems and cartridges.

    While I'm happy that in the past several years, "screwless" PC cases such as those made by Enlight have seemed to dominate the market, and proprietary systems like Dell [dell.com]'s now come standard with easy open cases which facilitate adding peripheral cards and internal devices, I do not share the media's apparent bliss over the iMac inspired "form over function" design revolution at all, because aside from it's transparent plastic gumball appeal, the iMac case represents a step backward in usability.

    Now granted, that's part of the iMac's purpose, and the Macintosh mentality in general - make it pretty, make it easy, make it simple, I don't want to know how to work inside it or configure it myself (right down to the single button mouse). But is this sort of design implementation really what PC consumers want?

    Take the bloated looking latest generation proprietary machines you see at Comp USA and Circuit City these days. You know, the latest line from Compaq, Gateway, et al. Large, heavy cases covered in pretty plastic shells which bend and buckle when you try to pick the machine up and move it, feeling more like packaging material than sturdy construction. And look at the way the plastic elements of these cases "snap" together, rnedering them useless if a single plastic bar should bend, warp or break off (versus a screw hole which you could at least attempt to re-tread).

    Perhaps, this overhyped new design evolution will include remedies to such existant PC problems as well as relief from the ever boring beige regime we have all become far too sickened of, but I am skeptical that this will happen. Personally, I'll stay where I am for now, with my screwless Enlight tower, spray painted black by hand.



  • I've painted almost every case I've ever had, simply for the asthetics of it. My current case is green with silver 'marble' streaks running thru it. If I'm going to sit at my desk and work, I'm going to do it and have something pleasing to look at!

    Northeast USA Computer Show Schedule
  • But so will our pentiums. (and ours will do it in an ugly grey case) Computers weren't meant to be used forever.
  • Then you would have loved the 20th Aniversary Macintosh. The whole thing looks cool, and the tower hides underneath the desk.
  • ...if you do manage to crack the case while putting a screw back in please, asap, send a message to NASA and tell them to replace all the polycarbonite plastic they use.

    At the risk of starting an off-topic debate, IIRC a screw hole acts as a stress raiser - it's possible a crack can propagate from there. In layman's terms, cutting a hole in a piece of polycarb screws up its excellent material properties. The sort of damage we're talking about would come from a totally different failure mechanism to being hit by a bullet.

    Just my two penn'orth.
  • Computer aestethics have been lacking for years. Boxy beige clunkers are okay for work, but when I'm at home I'd prefer something a bit more elegant. Give me some nice curves, better colors, and something that shows off my tastes a little.

    I want something that looks as destinctive on the outside as my window managers and color schemes look on the inside.

    Besides, computers are a lot like cars. Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on one and not have it look good, or at least look different than everything else on the road. Why do you think the new VW Bug is selling like crazy? It's because it doesn't look exactly like every other car out there.

  • The first Apple ][ was delivered in April of 1977.

    The first production PET was shown in June and the first TRS-80s were delivered in August. Both come after the launch of the Apple ][.

    Thus, Apple ][ is the first.

    Source: http://web.islandnet.com/~kpols son/comphist/comp1977.htm [islandnet.com]

  • Sorry, but I don't want a cutesy-wutesy computer. Putting the thing out of sight would be a better solution. Sort of like the Aptiva my parents bought. Its one of those stealth jobbies, only the monitor and cdrom/floppy are evident. The tower is hidden from view (though it needs a longer cable)

    Honestly, if they would improve the design so that it hides most of the computer I think more people would be happy. Basically all you need is your monitor, keyboard, and mouse around the bulk of the time. Maybe a little box with the removable drives available...

    Instead we will probably get stuck with Chia-Computers...

  • Well, it could happen in a couple of years... some PCs do most of what I want anyway.

    First off, a PTG flat screen (plastic-that-glows or similar technology - no CRT). Some flat panel speakers (once the quality of sound gets even better). Having a non-attached keyboard and pointing device for jobs requiring them. Otherwise voice control the damn-thing from across the room.

    Removable storage? Case? The case should either be in the audio rack with the rest of my electronics, or buried behind/under the desk. Access to removable storage could be in the case if it were in a audio rack environment (IOW - a properly designed machine hooked up to a network (or internet) really has little need for constant access to removable storage. Add a CD jukebox and your all set.

    Eventually to make cases much more customizable we have to ditch PCI cards. Perhaps a bigger PCCard as used by laptops that does not require the case to be opened and use a common edge connector. (something the side of a CD case...)

    Just some ding-a-ling ideas..
  • I don't think a single person here would buy a box just on looks. After all this is news for nerds not new for fashion fools. However, I will say right off the bat I am tired of those damn ugly beige boxes sitting all over my office and in my house.

    Yeah, I know that I can break out the paint and get artistic on my machine but I am not a painter, or designer so what I would get is a box that looks like its had paint splatted all over it.

    I know this message has gotten pretty passionate "who gives a flying **ck how it looks!" responses but come on if VA Research started making radically cool looking machines everyone would cheer.

    Also, please consider the fact that most big time commercial machines have very similiar innards and comparing them is pointless. They are all the same. There are a few noticable exceptions like VA Research that makes high quality machines from the very best parts. Still, whether it is Compaq or Packard Hell it is all pretty much the same under the hood. You can buy a comparable machines and find the same sort of parts in each.

    My point is that this is a way for a good company to set itself apart in a big world of HW providers and I am amazed that nobody has thought about this sooner.
  • I can see it now: I'm on the phone with the PC maker:

    Me: "Can I get get it with a SCSI controller?"
    Salesman: "Uh, I dunno. But you can get it in blue."
  • I think style is nice to have, but only REALLY
    important when your talking about computer users
    that are in the lowest common denominator. People
    who want/need to do serious work on their computer
    eg. developers care about what their computer can
    do, not about how attractive it looks. (Unless
    of course you horny as hell ;) ).

    ps. If you want to flame me on this at least post
    something intelligent.
  • "If PC's ever finally do get the abilty to boot driectly from a CD, then you will see floppy drive dissappear from them to. "

    Sorry bud, but PCs have been able to boot from CD for quite some time now. El Terito (mmmmm... nachos) standard or somesuch thing. Floppys are cheap and ubiquitous to don't expect them to dissapear soon.
  • Considering the number of replies to "Ask Slashdot: keyboard spraypainting tips wanted" [slashdot.org], I'd say that even /.'ers care about aesthetics in their computers.

    Another example, the 20th Aniversary Macintosh. Everything about the TAM, the style, the Bose sound system, the "concierge service", and the $7500 price tag were targetted at wealthy computer users with a sense of style. However, it wasn't until the price slipped down to around $3,000 that demand became so high you couldn't get your hands on one. By this time, the G3s were already available while the TAM was still running a PPC 603e.

    The question isn't if people care about how their computers look. The question is, how much are they willing to pay? My roommate purchased a TAM then, and made a conscious decision to pay for style over performance.

  • Gee, my computers are almost never beige... Usually they wind up a kinda dull silvery-grey, with wires and parts hanging out the sides/sitting on boxes beside it, because they didn't all fit into the frame...
    What I look for in a computer case is lots of room, and edges that won't slice my fingers open when I try to pick the thing up. (Not that I've bought a whole computer all from the same place in the last 6 years or anything, but I'm quite fussy about what cases I buy. :)
  • Are you geeks really that stoopid??? The average user wants to get on the internet, play some multimedia (quicktime, mp3, the enhanced CD with video that came with the the new Backstreet Boys cd my sister just bought...) and write a few letters. The iMac is not for you people, stop complaining. I'd really like to have one at home just to hook up to my stereo as an mp3 station. Right now, I have to deal with the old performa g3 I have (it works with my universial remote).

    At my work place, I have several 300 mhz machines as well as a few 400s I use as various servers (I use NT as this is what my unmovable boss has specified so I need multiple machines as I can only run a few services on each before they start to crash). When I go home, I can function easily on my on 486 using win95 cause all I do is hook up to the net or type code that I ftp and compile on my fast machine (ie. terminal server) or grab my powerbook g3 and take it to a coffee shop and get some technical writtings done as well as play a few games or play some mp3 demos I keep loaded so I show the girlies.

    Most people do not need top of the line computers except to play video games. I like video games, but I'm not going to waste extra money just to playgames. Thats what my sis's N64 for is for (ok I'm gonna buy the virtual gamestation for my laptop...first purchase in years). At home I want something to get the job done right and doesn't look too geeky. Now that I'm thinking about it, a lime iMac would look great on my grand piano in my studio...hmmm anyone release usb midi interfaces yet???

  • iMacs do have several nice points. The doors are a nice touch, and I sure wish I had a handle on this heavy beast of a PC I have sitting on this desk.

    On the other hand, a computer is a productivity tool, so I don't think creativity is as important as performance. It's a great bonus (In particular, getting your computer tower custom painted looks amazing, woos chicks and gets you big pay raises) but I wouldn't sacrifice much for it.

    So, in summary, case painting, handles and doors would be excellent but integrating the monitor into the case or compromising the available number of drive bays are big turnoffs IMHO.
  • People who buy an IMac because of its looks probably buy a '90's beetle because its cute.

    Maybe computers will start showing up in furniture stores. You could purchase a computer that wouldn't clash with your drapes. Or maybe get one with an artificial wood grain to match that late 19th century desk in your grandfather's office. 8-)

    It won't catch on.
  • So it doesn't matter if a round mouse couses wrist pain, just so long as it looks neat? Or if your screen size has to be smaller to fit it into a funny-shaped box? Or if your case tips over because the base was narrow and the top wide?

    There's an old cliche: Form follows function.
  • Where'd the circular one-button mouse come from, then?
  • I do agree that it is possible to go overboard with too many mouse buttons, just like you can have too many modifier keys on a keyboard, but 2 buttons is too much? I dislike the 1 button mice because if I want to do something that is a right-button operation on a 2-button mouse I have to either triple click or click and hold or [shift]-click or some other junk. If you make the right button smaller than the left, you can put common click operations on the left and strange ones on the right. It's a lot better than using two hands to [shift]-[alt]-click.
  • I just ran Cat.5 under the floorboards when I re-
    wired the house. Neat little wallports on the
    wall look just like phone jacks - very neat, and
    don't aggrevate the YL.
  • ...Twice pipes...chop chort...candy apple red. For Christmas I got a pair of mudflaps each with a chrome silhouette of a naked chick on it. Gonna be sweeeee.
  • I have a full tower sitting on my desk at school. The cover is off. It's solid steel, some ungodly number of drive bays, cords and cables hanging out all over.

    I think its a work of art. iMacs look cheesy, in my mind..

  • The slashdot readers for the most part live in this little bubble of the computer market that is pretty narrow and specialized compared to the rest of the market. For the most part none of us care. We want a machine that will perform, we want to be able to rip it open and fiddle with it, even if there isn't an urgent pressing meaning to do that. I take the same approach to computers as Lightsabers. Make you own.

    But I am not the average consumer. The average consumer is an idiot. I feel bad that they are being exploited by apple into buying the imac because it has many inherant faults. I always tell new users to get something other then an imac because they can get 5 times the worth for a much cheaper cost. Sure it won't look straight off the jetsons, but it will cost you 500 bucks less, and if something goes wrong with it, i could fix it. Not be scared to crack the plastic case putting a screw back in. Hey I could even send you a file on a floppy and you could read it. Amazing.

    I see apple's motives, we live in a society where people plug the power strip into itself and wonder why nothing works. You expect this kind of person to know what parts to purchase and put a computer together, then install debian?

    I have nothing against stylistic computers, there is nothing wrong with that. But when you are stripping components and features, charging more for it, and then "making it look pretty." That is just a 10 on the lame meter when your target audience is idiots.
  • I'm down with that.
    I want my computer to be HUGE ugly and minimal.
    When I got my latest computer i ordered it in the largest box they had. I have enough free space inside there to put the Netwinder inside it.
    I love high vibration CD-ROM readers, you know the ones that cause your neighbors to seek shelter under desks when you stick a CD in?
    Why doesn't anybody make a computer for me? Put dry-ice(hmmm...pentium nuetralizer?)...and puffers so that it blows smoke. anyways, i'm getting off topic
  • Seeing how i don't view VW beetles as a very important facet of our community, who cares what I think about its aesthetics.

    the thing that is bad about the imac is that it is pawning off an inferior computer for styling to a target audience that doesn't realize the importance of what future trends will bring. if we see the death of the real computer to little nice dinky machines that don't even have a real operating system, and to get a real computer you'll have to pay 10,000 bucks, don't come whining to me about it. I warned you.

    the imac is only furthering the market split. I think we should be spending more time educating the masses instead of providing an easy way out. so they don't WANT to learn about computers? oh well tough meat for them because they are the way of the future. i didn't expecially WANT to learn algebra back in highschool. but i'm glad i took it now. providing the masses with an 'idiot-tool' will only further split the market and end up how i described it above.

    the friendly little imac is a dangerous trend in my eyes. not for what it is right now, but for what it represents.
  • You are forgetting the target audience of the imac isn't going to be upgrading their computer every 2 years. what they bought they are most likely going to be stuck with for a good while. These are the types of people that own 286s and use WP 5.1. they bought the computer once for the intention of writing papers and what not and that is all they need.
  • I have a friend that just put linux PPC on his G3, and from what I've seen its not faster at all. The whole thing has this feel of "emulation" as if I'm running the whole system on top of something else or behind it or something. I'm not saying this is the case, that is what it feels like. And as for being more or less Open, just go take a look at the RPM archives and look at the number differences. for the ones who don't know how to tweak code and recompile you are stuck with Much less software to run on PPC. I'm not saying this means PCs are superior in all aspects. That would be stupid of me to say that. But at this space in time there is much more support and speed(from what i've seen)for the PC.
    yes linuxPPC is easy to set up...uhh...think about it? Apple is very closed when it comes to hardware. there really arn't that many options and so setting up drivers is cake since all G3s are shipped with the same specs for the most part. yet another reason why PCs are more open.
  • Your angst is showing...
    If you had correctly read my argument you would have seen that I wasn't calling the macos a fake OS...or the imac a fake computer. No you had to extort that information from what I said like the poor reader you are. I clarify for you what I said in different, more easy to understand words.

    The iMac represents a future trend that is leading to a market split. In which you have computers that are real computers, and computers that are "terminals"

    let us analyse that statement. That means the market split does NOT exist yet. that means the imac is NOT a terminal. What it represents will LEAD to such a split. If you don't see this then I can't help you out much.

    I am all for diversity. I love computers with style. They arn't my first priority since I don't really stare at the box much, but they are a good thing. That isn't what I'm talking about however. I'm talking Apple and Microsoft's goal to create miniture terminal computers in the future that are built into your stove or what not. When the average person is able to get such an embedded device that reads emails and prints out term papers, who'll need to buy a big full machine anymore? The hardware industries won't be driven to make full computers for cheap anymore. Long gone will be the days when you can get a middle line computer for 1000 bucks. Gone will be the days that you can get a relatively top of the line computer for 2500. Who needs those when you have everything you want in an embedded computer? Right?

    Well that is a wrong philosophy because all of the geeks and hobbiest like me out there will still want a computer they can tear apart and work with. To get such a machine we will have to pay huge amounts of money because that will be an extremely vertical market. the only reason that computers are as cheap as they are now is demand. If the demand drops everybody will have to charge more. This really isn't tha complicated and i'm surprised it completely flew over your head.
  • ive seen comments that say that we are dorks and we dont care how we look. I have to say that is a sterotipical assumption and a unfair on. We consider people that get into racial or sexual sterotipical assumptions a racist or a sexist. I have to say im a geek. I also enjoy a very active social statis, im very popular, i care how i look, girls like me. I assume that many geeks share my opinion that we care about the tiny things that the public doesnt believe we do.
    BTW, mhz is a simply the top factor for me a buy a computer. But if it looks nice thats a plus. but if my performance lags, screw looks.


  • i tell you what you can kiss my ass. ok.
  • Back when NeXT's were good computers, they had it all. Awsome styling and power. Why can't we have more computers styles along the sleek black look? I can't say the iMac looks 'stylish'. Translucency never caught on as fashion in my book. Now if it were totally transparent that might be something. ^_^
  • >poor baby...why not get a toaster...they are easier to upgrade

    Now thats a stupid comment. Why the hell should I have to unscrew things just to get at the inside. Give me one damn reason why computers should be complicated. (Apart from keeping people like you in a job)

    >so ummm, you give them green and take away the floppy drive? good choice

    The last time I used a damn floppy was when I needed to load Winblows with VirtualPC on to a new disk image. It is not our problem that PC's are too dumb to be able to boot from a CD, or just about any damn storage device you can plug into a mac.

    If PC's ever finally do get the abilty to boot driectly from a CD, then you will see floppy drive dissappear from them to.

    Floppy drives are dead! End of story. Give me an ORB any day!
  • And of course, Apple will just sit on it's arse and keep the design of the iMac the same, year after year after year!


    Apple will be the one creating those "sleek, flat-screen monitors and cases the size of a casette player" - which they already created 6 years ago.

    May I remind you of the "Apple Station" a prototype that never saw the light of day under Mike Splindler. It was sleek, it had a flat screen, it was small, I had a telephone built in and had wireless everything! NO WIRES! - apart from one power cable to the CPU and the phone line to the CPU. Even the damn printer was wireless!

    Apple is the only company with the balls to "think different". If the the iMac had not come along, computers would still be beige! As always, the industry follows Apple!

  • Isn't that what companies do with geeks these days? You know, put a nice looking girl out on the front desk with a nice looking computer and stick the ugly geek with his ugly computer as far away from civilisation as possible!

    If you think about it, it is basically the same thing.

  • Does that mean that cars (which are a tool) shold have no design whatsoever and should all just be white boxes with four wheels, four seats and a steering wheel?

  • I don't care much how the computer looks. What I would be willing to pay a little extra for is reduced noise levels on harddisks, fans and the like. This would probably reduce a lot of stress of working with computers both home and at work.

    I'm waiting for the hardware industry to take ergonomics issues seriously and develop hardware that actually improves how we are working with computers.
  • I wouldn't think twice about paying extra cash for a purdy case. It would have to be better than the one I have though It has a lot of space inside though and doesn't have screws anywhere, except for the brackets which hold the drives in -which pop in and out of the case nice and easy like. All the designer cases I see either have little space or cramp your components in strange hard to reach places It would be great to find a designer case that had a bit of inteligence/flexability behind it.
  • Personally I'd take my Pentium II 350MHz in the beige box over the iMac anyday...It's not a decoration it's a COMPUTER. The only thing that matters to me is how well it runs...Give me an ugly box with a lot of speed and expandibilty over a tic-tac that isn't upgradeable anyday.
  • This article is dead-on. Your fast, cheap box will give you satisfaction for the 6 months that it is the fastest thing around, when it's running. I enjoy my 20th Anniversary Mac [axon.net] every time I look at it, even when it's off. And will for years to come. I could have bought a faster G3 or PII-400 for less, but why? The TA has all the speed I need, and let's face it: On the coolness scale, this one goes up to 11.
  • >they'll never sell. everyone withoout a computer is lacking one because they're waiting for you to give them linux


    Considering that I'm currently writing this on an iMac running linuxppc, that's sort of a non-argument...
  • >IMacs suck, let me count the ways :

    Let's! Can I count with you? Oh, goody!

    >13" monitor... really guys, don't you know bigger IS better...

    I'm pretty sure Apple sure does. After all, they included a 15" monitor with my iMac...damn nice one, too. Very clear, very crisp. Not the best one ever made, but definitely not the worst.

    >The mentality of the average PC owner is that
    >their computer is a progressive fun adventure
    >that only get better as you add nifty toys to it...

    Sure is. After all, I can add another monitor with a cool little gizmo called the iPort [griffintechnology.com] that lets me use an external monitor. It's about $79, and from what I hear, it works great. Also has a couple of serial ports, so you can hook up non-usb and ethernet printers.

    >Heat disipation with regard to cutting edge

    Nonissue. The iMac isn't *targeted* at those who continually tinker with the innards of their computers. That's what the G3 minitowers are for.

    >limited options... non-standard (no, USB isn't
    >standard yet) internal equipment

    It *isn't*? Wow...then all the PCs, new Macs with usb ports, and all the usb devices I've seen (including the usb Zip drive and scanner currently attached to my iMac) must have been figments of my imagination. Same with all the IDE hard drives in existance...after all, the iMac uses one, and if the iMac uses one, it can't *possibly* be a standard...


    Then GET OVER IT. Unclench that lump of coal up your ass. Hope some other manufacturer makes a cooler-looking case. Or make one yourself. Lots of folks (myself included) seem to like it, otherwise Apple wouldn't have sold so many of the machines.

    >Thanks for providing a case that doen't allow me
    >easy access to hack and thinker with the hardware

    Since you'll never own an iMac, why in blazes is this such an issue? If you want a computer you can open up and stick new stuff into, buy a PC, a PowerMac tower, or build your own. I'm sure you're capable of this, else you probably wouldn't be reading /. in the first place. Correct? Correct.

    The iMac isn't meant to be a work-in-progress. It isn't meant to have other bits of hardware kludged into its innards. It's meant to be a self-contained, inexpensive, speedy little machine, which just happens to look cool.

    >The list goes on and one... IMacs just plain suck
    >and represent a last ditch marking ploy from a
    >company on it's well diserved trip down the down
    >the tubes.

    Oh, of course. Definitely a last ditch marketing ploy from an ailing and decrepit (and yet, quite profitable...hmm) company which sold record numbers of iMacs and G3s in the last few months. Yep, Apple's really gasping for air and clutching at straws. Purely a fluke, no doubt about it.

    And if you're interested, I have this bridge for sale...very nice view of Brooklyn.
  • SGI's make cool computers (there new PC's look so sexy)

    but there CRAYS are *SO* much better then HP/IBM/compaq/etc

    they should sell cases!!!!!!!!
  • Hell, I'd rather have a 1 Ghz box that looked like shit, and even smelled like shit. As opposed to one that looks like a flower garden and smells like roses, but only happens to be a 200 Mhz. Gimme power baby!

  • The only problem with 'nice looking' equipment, is the design begins to cause the hardware inside to become propirectary just for that model of computer. So, you can't just go to your local friendly hadware store and buy a different mother board, or a new floppy drive. You have to buy the hardware specific for that model computer, and that is always pricey since the manufacturer knows you have to buy their stuff.
  • Back in good old 1986, there were already red and yellow boxes in Japan. The keys on Japanese keyboards had always been rainbow-coloured.

    Good old American-centric ignorance...

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!