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Softening the Edges of Technology

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the no-generic-white-boxes-here dept.

122

Tired of the generic grey boxes that fill corporate offices? A New York Times piece looks at the efforts by some hardware resellers to soften the edges of the PC with elements from nature. The piece goes over the efforts of places like Suissa Computers, which offers 'desktop computers in cases of oak, walnut, zebrawood, purpleheart, mahogany, maple and leopardwood'. Likewise, Holzkontor of Neustadt and the company Wood Contour offers keyboard and monitor sets that adds a naturalistic touch to the average soulless desktop setup. They don't just touch on commercial options, talking briefly about homebrew case-mods: "Nicholas Falzone, 20, a third-year architectural student at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Calif., is just putting the finishing touches on the second computer case he's made. 'It's taken me at least a thousand hours,' he said. The case has an aluminum interior frame to support the computer workings. The outer frame is made of koa and maple. Mr. Falzone did the rough cuts with a table saw; after that, almost all the work was done with hand tools. 'Each joint has multiple mortises and tenons,' he said. 'I didn't use any screws or glue.'" Interesting to see the beautification of PC cases in the pages of the old grey lady.

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JEWS DID WTC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392675)

HOW LONG IS LONGCAT??

Re:JEWS DID WTC (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392779)

OVER NINE THOUSAND!

A matter of style (3, Interesting)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392681)

I prefer my technology to be utilitarian. I like plain old boxen.

I like grey and black computers. I no longer really like beige though. Beige shows dust and nicotine stains too easily.

I respect the fact that some people like for their computers to mesh with the decor of the room in which they are placed but for me, I don't want my computing equipment to be a decorative statement. I just want it to work.

LK

Re:A matter of style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392739)

It hit me how absolutely ugly computers used to be when I visited a Wal-mart yesterday and the H&R Block representative had this humongous CRT monitor literally taking up half his desk and effectively blocking his view of the customer even though the screen must have been only 19" or so (but the thing screamed mid-90s in styling alone). LCD screens have really made a big difference along with the form factor. Used to have a tower about 3 1/2 feet tall late 90s just so I could upgrade and add drives like crazy, in the meantime now a small form factor looks a lot better and the ultra high towers can stay in the server room.

Other than that, because of the nature of PCs, it's too hard to disguise what they are - components are generic and it takes quite a bit of work to integrate them - which isn't often possible with a upgraded cd/dvd-r drive, and then you are left with ugly beige faceplace that just looks out of place.

Macs are really easy on the eyes, but I wish they started offering the MBPs in colors like the iPods just for variation.

Re:A matter of style (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392751)

I think there is place for some middle ground as well as both extremes. I have some very "plain" cases, like the CoolerMaster Stacker (lots of space for hard drives and very good cooling - perfect for a video server). I also have a nice-ish case for the HTPC ("fits in" with the rest of the AV gear in the rack, wife-friendly). And there's middle of the road. I don't do square beige boxes anymore, but I don't go for designer cases either. I'll pay a few extra bucks to get a better looking case (good quality too), but nothing crazy.

Although there are some cases I really wish I had, like the WMD [bit-tech.net] , but it takes too much time and usually costs too much.

Re:A matter of style (3, Interesting)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392759)

Yeah, I don't want my computer to look like an oak tree. I want it to look like a computer. How are straight lines and cube shapes ugly?! What's next, all of our tech stuff has to be outfitted with doilies and inlaid with velvet?! I guess that's less ridiculous than some architect kid with too much time spending thousands of hours making an oak-ish box.

Oh well. Some people like a car because it is reliable, sturdy, high quality, powerful, fast and handles well. Others like it because it's shiny and red.

Re:A matter of style (1)

h2g2bob (948006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394533)

Funny shapes take up more space, too.

More importantly, what would this cost? Would you prefer a funny shaped PC case, or for your office to randomly get a large box of assorted biscuits from head office with a note saying "good work, chaps". I reckon that the biscuits would cost less.

Re:A matter of style (1)

SageMusings (463344) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392795)

I like my computers under my desk where I don't see them to begin with. Modding cases is cute but not worth my time. I could glue sequins and glitter to my chair but it doesn't add to its utility one iota.

Is metal more "plain" than wood? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392841)

I prefer my technology to be utilitarian. I like plain old boxen.

If you really wanted "utilitarian", you wouldn't even have boxes. An empty frame is cheaper, simpler, and easier to work with. Computers didn't use to come in cases, you know.

I like grey and black computers.

Bang, there's your preference. It's about as easy to make a wood frame as a metal one -- they're equally "utilitarian". Do you like grey and black for any particular reason, or simply because that's what you're used to?

I respect the fact that some people like for their computers to mesh with the decor of the room in which they are placed but for me, I don't want my computing equipment to be a decorative statement. I just want it to work.

That's kind of irrelevant: I do believe that a computer in a wood case will work as well as one in a steel case.

As much as you may hate to admit it, putting it a grey or black metal box is also a "decorative statement". It may be the computing equivalent of "exposed bricks", but it's a statement, nonetheless.

Re:Is metal more "plain" than wood? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392951)

If you really wanted "utilitarian", you wouldn't even have boxes. An empty frame is cheaper, simpler, and easier to work with.

It doesn't block RFI if your case is open. For some people that's not an issue, for me it is. If I operate with my cases open, I get interference on my TV.

It's about as easy to make a wood frame as a metal one -- they're equally "utilitarian".

Can you stamp wood cases out of sheet wood?

Do you like grey and black for any particular reason, or simply because that's what you're used to?

They don't show dust or nicotine stains as much as lighter colors.

It may be the computing equivalent of "exposed bricks", but it's a statement, nonetheless.

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice... I have heard the Rush song too.

LK

Re:Is metal more "plain" than wood? (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393115)

"It doesn't block RFI if your case is open" Neither do most gaming cases that are made from PLASTIC or variations. Even metal frames dont block RFI as much as you THINK.

Re:Is metal more "plain" than wood? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394777)

What "gaming cases" are you talking about? Most the ones I've seen were still made of aluminum and even the few plastic ones had thin metal shield of some kind on the inside if you cracked it open. If you're thinking of those all clear acrylic cases, those are quite rare really.

Re:Is metal more "plain" than wood? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395779)

Neither do most gaming cases that are made from PLASTIC or variations.

Did you miss my point about prefering utilitarian cases?

Even metal frames dont block RFI as much as you THINK.

They block it enough to not interfere with my TV.

LK

Re:Is metal more "plain" than wood? (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393297)

It's about as easy to make a wood frame as a metal one


I want you to go back and think about this for a minute...

Re:Is metal more "plain" than wood? (1)

ATMD (986401) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394287)

In an industrial setting, it certainly is easier to manufacture from sheet steel.

However, this doesn't apply everywhere - I'm planning on building my own case soon, and since I don't have the facilities for metalworking it's going to be made from wood.

A matter of feedback. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392853)

I like my technology clever [time4.com]

"3. Fool the Brain
And now the dirty secret: When you push the "3" button, although it feels like only the screen under the "3" moves, in fact the entire phone vibrates--the same as it would if you pushed the "9" or the "1." It's an illusion that plays on the context-specific way your brain processes information. You're expecting a response from the spot you pushed, so your brain classifies the resulting vibration as direct, localized feedback. You feel (and hear) the exact same click of pressing down on an actual button--a ruse that took 12 years to get just right."

Re:A matter of style (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392953)

Check the specs on the suissa, though. They're likely to be better that what you're running :)

Re:A matter of style (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392991)

Check the specs on the suissa, though. They're likely to be better that what you're running :)

Maybe, but they don't look as good.

Besides for $5700, the computer had better be fast no matter how it looks.

LK

Re:A matter of style (1)

alisson (1040324) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395711)

No doubt!

But they're so preeeeettttyyyyy /em starry eyes

Re:A matter of style (1)

David_Shultz (750615) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392999)

It is absolutely a matter of style, and wooden computers -I hate to say it because of the amount of time that this guy spent making it- are not particularly good style. Where will a wooden computer fit in? Technology is not supposed to look wooden. They tried it with tvs too, in case anyone remembers. Who has wooden tvs these days? They look like crap. A wooden computer might fit in well in a cottage, but why would you want a computer in a cottage anyways?

A matter of fashion (4, Interesting)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393581)

It is absolutely a matter of style, and wooden computers -I hate to say it because of the amount of time that this guy spent making it- are not particularly good style.
No, it is absolutely a matter of taste. Even if we accept that there is a taste-independent concept of "style", I don't believe that it applies here. You don't like wooden computers? Good for you, but it's your personal preference. That's all.

Where will a wooden computer fit in?
Anywhere with a large amount of traditional-looking wooden furniture. It would probably look at home in my parents' living room; far more so than their 4-year-old beige PC, or even a more recent black and silver one. Ditto anyone who spent the money on a wood-paneled study, etc.

Technology is not supposed to look wooden.
Says who? Oh... yeah, you do. Well, I'm sold.

They tried it with tvs too, in case anyone remembers.
Yeah, it used to be quite a common styling. There obviously weren't too many complaints at the time, else they wouldn't have used that style for something like 25 years.

Who has wooden tvs these days? They look like crap.
Matter of taste. And- more importantly- probably a matter of long-term fashion trends.

Have you ever noticed that all electronics these days are silver? Yet from the early-1980s to the mid-to-late-1990s, everything was black. When I was a kid I remembered thinking finding those late-70s brushed metal hifis old fashioned, because I associated black with the modern stuff that was in the shops. I remember at some point in the late-1980s my CS teacher came across an early-80s computer that we both laughed at because it was so "space age". Okay, part of that was the styling, but it was also because it was covered in spray-painted silver coating. The exact same style of silver coating that covers a lot of modern electronics.

Nowadays, those mid-80s black-with-flat-panel-buttons-and-red-lettering hifis now look... very 80s. I'd have found a lot of the style-conscious brushed-metal digital cameras around now very dated-looking if I'd seen them in the 80s. I saw an Agfa camera from the 1960s recently and briefly had trouble telling if it was really old or really new; but I liked it. And yet 20 years ago, I'd have hated it and thought it looked old-fashioned.

Similar arguments could apply to wood. Sure, wood looks old-fashioned and is less likely to make a comeback for that reason, but that's not really the issue here.

In short, never underestimate the effect long-term technological fashion trends will have on you.

A wooden computer might fit in well in a cottage, but why would you want a computer in a cottage anyways?
If we ever needed confirmation of your blinkered closed-mindedness, here it is. Do you think that someone living in a cottage wants to live in some sort of 19th-century Beatrix Potter lala land, cut off from modern technology and society? I suspect they'd want a computer for the same reasons that 99% of the population do. Why the hell wouldn't they?

NOT just a matter of style! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393139)

Thinking of dead trees and rainforest ... given the disposable nature of tech devices in general, it's very questionable to waste hardwood on chassis and casing. It would be a bit different if the system would be upgradeable internally at least 30-50 years to come, but I'm not holding by breath to see it happen in near future.

ac.

Re:A matter of style (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395277)

I prefer my technology to be utilitarian. I like plain old boxen.

What kind of car do you drive? A black Element?

Yeah! (5, Funny)

efence (927813) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392709)

Let's paint all our boxen like this [vicclap.hu] !

Some provacative thoughts on this matter (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392861)

My schlong is long
And generally recognized
As a lengthy ding-dong

It slips and slides
Past your thong besides
And seduces your brides

It's been up your mom's butt
And you know what?
She was an anal slut

It's been down your sisters noise hole
She she drank it in like it came from a soup bowl
And then her tongue slithered along reverently cleaning the pole

But when it met your daughter, she was but a teen
And this thing invaded up to her spleen
And as she cried, she shrieked I was mean.

But what can I say?
My schlong is long
And generally recognized
As a lengthy ding-dong

Re:Yeah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392863)

Dude, you do NOT want to mess with Annarchy.

Re:Yeah! (1)

toetagger1 (795806) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392965)

OMG its a Pink Poney!!!

Re:Yeah! (1)

donaldm (919619) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393039)

Well it could have been worse it could have been "Hello Kitty" http://www.exonome.com/fj/phkl/ [exonome.com] . My eyes my eyes!

Wood? (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392721)

My latest computer case, the monitor, the mouse and my chair are made from solid gold. Sure it cost a bit, but at least its hard to steal because of the weight. The only drawback is that I had to reinforce my second story to take the extra load. However, this wasn't difficult--I simply replaced all my wooden infrastructure with custom, moulded titanium and encased the structure in concrete.

Waste of money (3, Interesting)

tsa (15680) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392747)

All the money you pay for these cases could better be spent on the technology that is inside them. If I was a shareholder and 'my' company wasted money om this I would invest my money elsewhere. Of course people should decide for themselves if they want 'beautiful' computers in their home.

Re:Waste of money (2, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392775)

The sad fact is personal computers are too big. Build an energy efficent unit inside the flat panel monitor and we won't need huge bulky cases that put out more heat than old tube type televisions.

Re:Waste of money (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392901)

Huh? In this universe computer cases don't somehow magically put out heat based on their size. Hell given extra space to work with in theory allows for more efficiency as you no longer have to worry about size (small != efficient).

Re:Waste of money (1)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392971)

I will probably mourn the day I can't buy a new CRT monitor, say what you will about them being too big, bulky & energy ineffecient, they never go inverse when you look at them from an askew angle - that's the main reason I don't like LCD screens because you keep having to get your head in the right viewing zone to get a clear & proper picture.

Re:Waste of money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393035)

Have you been using LCDs from 1992?

Re:Waste of money (1)

ereshiere (945922) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393053)

Have you used an LCD lately? The viewing angles on my 2005 iBook G4 and my 2004 lamp-like iMac are incredibly wide, and the lack of glare and refresh-rate headaches more than compensates for any color shifting issues.

Re:Waste of money (3, Interesting)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393135)

I switched to LCD's about 2 years ago... The picture is tollerable, but to be honest, the quality, and color accuracy in my former CRT was quite a bit better... however, my former 22" CRTs weighed in at about 75# each, and my desk has a permanent bow in it... That is my main reason for going to LCD... Getting my desk space back, and saving my back when having to move things.

Re:Waste of money (2, Interesting)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393147)

But that's my point, doesn't matter how new the LCD screen is it still has a viewing angle, CRT can be seen from any angle and the brightness doesn't change like an LCD. The biggest annoyance I have with the brightness thing on large LCD screens is how the bottom is brighter than the top when all it's displaying is a single colour on screen.

Don't get me wrong, LCD screens are great in their place like the small one on my Archos AV500 but I'm not yet ready to 'upgrade' my two PC CRTs to LCD because I very much value the even brightness on the screen.

Re:Waste of money (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393595)

CRT can be seen from any angle
No, it can't; stand behind one and tell me if you can still see the picture :-P

Re:Waste of money (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394607)

I have a pair of 20" Dell LCDs here and I just tried to work out the viewing angle because I haven't ever noticed any color distortion. I looked at them from pretty much 180 degrees and the only thing I saw was a little glare from the window - no inverted colors and if the perspective wasn't so off I'd have been able to read them just fine.

Only with some kinds (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393295)

There are three basic panel technologies these days: TN, VA, and IPS.

TN (Twisted Nematic) are the original LCDs. They are cheap and thus common but have the worst image in terms of viewing angle and colour.

VA (Vertical Alignment) panels aren't as common as TN, but still pretty easy to find. New ones (usually called P-MVA or S-PVA) have very wide viewing angles, though you do notice a little colour shift off axis. They also have the best block point of any LCD technology and vastly improved colour over TN.

IPS (In Plane Switching) seems to have kinda fallen out of favor, but you can still find plenty. The S-IPS variants (all you find anymore) have the best viewing angle of all technologies. Their colour is very angle invariant. Their colour is also very natural, though they don't have all that good a black point.

Basically, you just need to get a better LCD and you'll probably be happy. Though no LCD can get as deep a black as a CRT, they do have advantages CRTs don't such as being able to get much brighter with no bleed, no convergence issues, never needing calibration, razor sharp text, etc.

I agree that cheapie LCDs don't cut it but I dumped my CRT for a high quality LCD some time ago and I'm rather happy.

Re:Waste of money (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393033)

Like an iMac? [apple.com]

Computers are too big (1)

Cheech Wizard (698728) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393077)

"The sad fact is personal computers are too big. Build an energy efficent unit inside the flat panel monitor and we won't need huge bulky cases that put out more heat than old tube type televisions"

iMac

That would be... (0, Redundant)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393389)

... an iMac 3rd gen. Selling like hotcakes.

Re:Waste of money (2, Interesting)

Jessta (666101) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393309)

One of the reasons computer cases aren't made of fine wood is because it's expensive. It's even more expensive because you'd be paying for it again in 3 years when you buy a new computer.

Buying an expensive Oak furniture is fine because it's going to be around for probably > 20 years.

And if those people decide yes... (1)

jpellino (202698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393397)

... then your stock will make a lot of money, but of course it won't be your stock anymore because your presumed it all a waste. In which case your fellow stockholders will be very glad you weren't the CEO.

Re:Waste of money (2, Insightful)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393413)

All the money you pay for these cases could better be spent on the technology that is inside them. If I was a shareholder and 'my' company wasted money om this I would invest my money elsewhere.

And should 'your companies' also dump their nice oak desks, and Aeron chairs for Ikea crap?

Many of these custom cases take standard sized mother boards, power supplies, and drives. I suspect that a 10 year life span is reasonable for anyone with even a moderate ability to swap out components for newer editions. The only difficulty I see is adapting to newer ports - at some point USB will be as much of a legacy port as a PS2 keyboard port, and it might take a bit more ability to stay current.

Although you might have a point - I'm often surprised by a $200,000 office suite with a $700 crap HP mini tower sitting on a $20,000 desk.

Re:Waste of money (1)

an.echte.trilingue (1063180) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394771)

It is ultimately up to the customer to decide where they want to spend money, and I would invest in any company that can give its customers what they want. There is a rather large market for people who are at least as concerned about the way their IT products look as how they perform. Just look at the case mod culture or how much attention apple pays to their product styles. There are also many people who have the money for both the best technology and a stylish case, just look at the market for jewel encrusted cell phones and iPods.

As for corporations interested in purchasing these cases, a lot of companies spend a lot of money ensuring that their front rooms, where they make contact with their customers, have a consistent style and look. What they are trying to communicate with this style varies by company, but it is essentially marketing and it works pretty well. Selecting computer cases that fit that style will help complete the "look" that they are trying to achieve, and potentially help make the sale. It isn't such a bad idea.

Wood? no thanks (1)

L4m3rthanyou (1015323) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392753)

It's all about personal preference, really. For me, metal would fit better, though I'd prefer the stainless steel looks (Lian Li anyone?) over the drab "black is the new beige" stock boxes. Anodized finishes look sweet, too. Anyhow, my next case will probably be fabricated from diamond plate. Any excuse to spend a few days in the shop is a good one. ;) I have to admit, though, I'd be a bit irked about cooling in a wooden case. I hope it's done well.

Re:Wood? no thanks (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392767)

Frankly, nature sucks ass. I don't want my computer to look more like a damned fig tree. I want nature to look more like a clean-room.

Now, if you can present me with some sort of all-encompassing world in which everything is organic in a Farscape-style, then great. But just making something look like a tacky wood coffee table from 1973 doesn't impress me much.

Substance is more important than style.

Re:Wood? no thanks (1)

sudden.zero (981475) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393777)

Yeah, I don't think that there is a way to cool a wooden case efficient way to cool a wood case except to replace it with an alluminum one. Lol! However, anyone how would purchase one of these wooden cases probably doesn't do enough serious computing to need to worry about cooling. Probably just checks email and maybe surfs the web a bit. No serious programmer or gamer would be caught dead with a wooden case. zero

"Elements of nature" other than wood (3, Funny)

VampireByte (447578) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394353)

Next week on Slashdot... a PC case made of elephant tusk, monitor trimmed in baby white fur seal skin, overclocked CPU cooled with whale oil, and the mouse will be an actual mouse.

Insides count. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392757)

"Interesting to see the beautification of PC cases in the pages of the old grey lady."

Interesting to see the stubborn refusal on slashdot.

Part of the reason the outsides are so ugly is because the insides are.

Re:Insides count. (0)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393873)

Part of the reason the outsides are so ugly is because the insides are.
Take one of those cute Japanese girls that Slashdotters drool over. Do you think that her insides are likely to be pretty? I doubt it. :-6

Ever see an wood-cased Apple 1? (1)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392763)

Wood cases for computers have been done many times, starting with the Apple 1. Putting a CRT in a wooden box has usually been a dud idea; the result was a bulky box and overheating problems. Some older bank executives used to get such things, but that's died out. A wooden frame around an LCD panel looks fine, and ought to be a cheap option. You can get LCD panels with wood bezels, sold as "digital picture frames", and those aren't expensive.

The wooden keyboard looks silly. There's a stone mouse, but the plastic scroll wheel ruins the effect.

Also, the company mentioned has a site full of search engine spam keywords in white type on a grey background, not a good sign of legitimacy. No business address on the web site, either.

Won't someone please think of the puns? (4, Funny)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392793)

You can crunch your maths on a computer made of Maple.
You can read your mail on a computer made of Pine.
You can surf the web on a computer made of Driftwood.
Industrialists can punch the numbers on a computer made of Virgin Rainforest.

Grace Hopper: "Ahhh! It seems the program has a 'termite.'"

Microsoft's New AV line: "Look everyone! Bill's got Wood!"

PS. You have my apologies if you read this far.

Wooden cases... (2, Funny)

Landak (798221) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392849)

Cue the 'My computer's on fire!' jokes in 5, 4, 3, 2...

Re:Wooden cases... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18392921)

* Nico (Nico@host81-154-181-36.range81-154.btcentralplus. com) has joined #megatokyo
  You know those oh so hilarious Bash quotes where someone's something is on fire, and they run on to IRC to tell everyone. I just decided to put the fire out before coming on to tell my friends. Let this be a lesson to those whose homes burnt down in the space of an irc convo.

http://www.bash.org/?457853 [bash.org]
This could save your life!

Re:Wooden cases... (2, Insightful)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393621)

That's interesting; but the question is whether properly-treated wood really is any more of a fire hazard than plastic.

Re:Wooden cases... (1)

badonkey (968937) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395137)

There's no time for jokes. I'm rushing for a trademark on the name "TinderBook" before Sony snags it.

Part of the furniture (5, Interesting)

hack slash (1064002) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392851)

If you want your PC to look like part of the furniture then you can take a leaf out of the books of those mini-itx modders, the most notable 'furniture' type ones are:

The Clock [mini-itx.com]
Mantle Radio [mini-itx.com]
Cigar Humidor [mini-itx.com]
Gramophone [mini-itx.com]
Pictureframe [mini-itx.com]
Micro TV [mini-itx.com]
Telefunken [mini-itx.com]
and for the geek, the Windows XP box [mini-itx.com] (as in the cardboard box the OS comes in, but with a sly RedHat trick)

A thousand hours (5, Funny)

ribuck (943217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392895)

From the summary:

'It's taken me at least a thousand hours,' he said.
'But that's no problem', he added, 'because Gentoo hasn't finished compiling yet.'

Re:A thousand hours (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393871)

I call BS. Having been an archtiecture student, I don't think I had a total of 1000 hours of free time during all my five years in school. Maybe if you count the time I spent sleeping.

Ultimate Mod (1)

FrnkMit (302934) | more than 7 years ago | (#18392915)

I think this has been posted previously, but there's always this replica of the computers from Brazil: http://www.ahleman.com/Props/ElectriClerk.html [ahleman.com]

BTW, the creator is also the director of The Call of Cthulhu, an independent film based on Lovecraft's story, which I highly recommend to Lovecraft fans and people who can deal with low-budget effects.

Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these... (1)

hobbes vs boyle (974630) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393017)

For the sake of nature, I hope they're all made of sustainably harvested wood...

Mother Earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393019)

thank you, may I have my computer in terra-cota with the keyboard in red brick (yes , I mean actual brick)

Daft... (4, Insightful)

ZwJGR (1014973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393041)

Why would you want your computer case to be made from wood?

...which offers 'desktop computers in cases of oak, walnut, zebrawood, purpleheart, mahogany, maple and leopardwood'.
Wouldn't it be much easier just to hide the desktop box behind your desk if you really don't want to look at it.
As for wood, it is both a saftey hazard and useless as a computer case material, it won't block any EM interference at all, and it's a fire hazard.
I don't want to think what a few year's worth of heat, dust and static will do to your lovely wood panelled box.

Money could be better spent elsewhere...
Read the article:

a 19- inch LCD monitor with a wooden frame -- is $2,950.
The prices for the computers, which include a monitor, keyboard, mouse and some service, start at about $5,740.
Needn't say anything to that.

Re:Daft... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393921)

Nah, it's not really a safety hazard. If your frame is running that hot, something is very wrong. Considering it's an outer casing, even if it was steel, it would still be a fire hazard if it was hot.

And the high prices seems to be more for the cost of the design rather than the material. If you had looked at the other company mentioned in the article, Swedx, you would have seen that those prices were quite reasonable. USD 25 for a mouse, USD 465 for a 19 inch LCD monitor etc.

Re:Daft... (1)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394213)

Wouldn't it be much easier just to hide the desktop box behind your desk if you really don't want to look at it.

Not everyone has a large office desk for their home PC. Maybe they have a small desk in an alcove somewhere in their living room/kitchen/staircase, or maybe they're just worried about burglars seeing a valuable PC sitting on a table. Having a customised PC in this way can help the PC appear less obvious.

Personal taste (1)

Vskye (9079) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393061)

It's taken me at least a thousand hours,' he said. The case has an aluminum interior frame to support the computer workings. The outer frame is made of oak and maple.
 
Basically it just amounts to what people want to spend on something that goes with their lifestyle or decor. Kinda like driving a Honda vs a H1 Hummer. Give them a what for.., personal choice works. (kinda like white carpet.. why?) ;)

Another company with wooden cases, mice, etc (1)

Nagypapi (729713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393107)

Another company that creates wooden cases, mice, keyboards, the stuff:
http://www.woodacus.hu/ [woodacus.hu]

Apple has been.. (1)

JackMeyhoff (1070484) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393111)

.. doing this for years. Grandted its not as stylish but comapred to the average PC. We need to get away from teh big board standard, Im guessing most of those slots are just wasted space. We need more MODULARITY at a smaller scale and more focus on less power usage and heat.

If it was really stylish to do this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393131)

...Apple would've done it first.

Well I think it looks great (1)

gnool (1005253) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393153)

Well I think it looks great! I am a sucker for good design though, be it in an innovative beige box makeover, a beautiful website, sunset behind a mountainous forest or stunningly attractive woman ;-)

yuo fa1l i*t! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393163)

may /bek hurting the

Mahogany (1)

owlstead (636356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393187)

From the WWF site:

The Peruvian rain forest is one of the world's most biologically rich and diverse regions and provides habitat for highly threatened wildlife such as the jaguar, harpy eagle, and giant river otter.

Unfortunately, these creatures and their habitats are at risk from the unsustainable harvesting of timber, particularly of big-leaf mahogany, a threatened species so valuable that it can lead to the destruction of large forest areas. Peru is the world's largest exporter of big-leaf mahogany, with over 90% going to the North American market.


So not only are we going to use cases that use way too much natural resources, we are going to top it off by putting actual pieces of rainforest on them. Well done, cowboys. I would have thought better from a canadian company.

Only FSC wood is used (1)

Poingggg (103097) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393429)

On the site the company stresses the point they use FSC wood exclusively and have no stock but order pieces of wood when they get an order. So the rainforests are not damaged by these products.

Re:Mahogany (2, Funny)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393641)

If that's your attitude, I'm not going to show you my bald eagle skull casemod.

1000 hours? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393203)

125 days? 25 weeks? for a box?

Re:1000 hours? (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393513)

125 days? 25 weeks? for a box?

Some guys will do anything for a bit of box.

wood is not good for computers because of humidity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393259)

No matter how dry it is, wood seems to attract humidity. My wife and I have identical Sony laptops with magnesium cases. We went on vacation. I left mine in a wooden drawer for three weeks and she left hers in a metal drawer in the same room. In only three weeks my laptop grew corrosion patches and the paint started to peel off while hers is as good as new.
While the computer is running, humidity stays away. When the computer is off the humidity accumulates.
In addition a running computer in a wooden case is a fire hazard.

Cool woods (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393345)

I think impressive........will make my own.

Origin of 'beixe box'? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393421)

IIRC, the 'beige box' was conceived to give more humane look to early sharp-edged, industrial-style computers. Then sometime around the 1990s we realized the beige box was ugly and the more technological design was cool. So I for one don't welcome our new wooden beige box overlords.

Computer for unabomber! (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393455)

What was that architecture student designing? A computer even Ted Kazynski would love? Or ?

Tropical woods from the rain forest . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393665)

Now there's a very un-PC PC.

Correlation between asthetics and seriousness (3, Interesting)

955301 (209856) | more than 7 years ago | (#18393841)


There are actually merits to having a computer look like a piece of equipment and not an office ornamant which seem to escape the media these days. There are also several examples of where a piece of equipment made "too friendly" has been to the detriment of the person using it.

When a computer looks like equipment it's taken more seriously. If a computer makes noise when it's on, demands interaction with a prompt and has a consistent, unornamented interface it adds a level of seriousness to the business of using it. It says take me seriously because performing operations with me is serious business.

When a computer looks like candy it's "played", not "worked" with. It's left in a corner showing something flashy and useless on the screen. It's an expensive DVD player. According to the Apple ads, this is the direction we "want" to go. I disagree.

A computer can call the people you have appointments with and tell them you will be there. A computer can operate your entire home's systems. A computer can allow an intruder into your home if you are careless with it. This is a piece of equipment, not a video gaming conduit. It ought to be taken seriously.

I believe this because of an existing counterexample of candy-coated machines gone wrong: The automobile. Interactive video, cell phones, leather interiors, a million and one shapes and sizes - these are strongly correlated to the careless nature with which we see people driving. Driving into schoolbusses, driving into other drivers, and driving drunk are easy cases to cite. A group of people who treat their cars like toys is the same group that drives their cars like children, not adults. These people get hurt with their cars because the mindset that makes them want candy coatings is the mindset that makes them drive outside the limits on the environment they are in. If your car is plain, stiff and hurts to sit in for to long, you take it seriously.

A computer can do damage to you just like your car can. Take it seriously.

Re: Seriousness (2, Funny)

Dragoon235 (1051296) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394233)

The Internet - Serious Business

Re:Correlation between asthetics and seriousness (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395035)

Umm, maybe you should talk to your doctor about your medications. I don't think your current ones are working all that well.

Re: bitter old guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395493)

When a computer looks like equipment it's taken more seriously.

"Equipment" has been built out of wood for millenia. What you're really saying is "When a computer looks like the crappy 1970's computer equipment I learned on, it feels more natural to me".

If a computer makes noise when it's on, demands interaction with a prompt and has a consistent, unornamented interface it adds a level of seriousness to the business of using it.

You must love the Ferrari laptop that makes engine noises when you turn it on. You can run MS-DOS on it for that "consistent unoramented interface". Nothing says serious like a laptop that thinks it's a car. Vroom vroom! C:\>

It says take me seriously because performing operations with me is serious business.

You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

Is "serious" the end goal of using a computer? I've been using them all my life, and it's news to me. I've never met anyone whose purpose for a computer was "seriousness". Even us hardcore geeks who spend double-digit hours a day writing code for work have fun with it. People who have done usability studies (like Jakob Nielsen and Jared Spool) find that people get more work done if they're having fun.

Maybe you're a regular Mister Spock, and having fun is physically painful for you. I assure you that you are in the minority.

A computer can do damage to you just like your car can.

Can do damage, maybe, but not "just like" a car. I got drunk last night and tried to write some code. Nobody died. Even if I had managed to delete something important, I have the old copy in version control. Computers aren't great, but we were smart enough to make it virtually impossible to kill people with them, even if you're drunk.

BTW, can you point me to some of the "easy cases to cite" of people driving cars with "leather interiors" are more likely to be "driving into schoolbusses, driving into other drivers, and driving drunk"?

Part Computer, Part Tree (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18393933)

Ztree!
My roots are lost in the midnight
commander

I am part tree, part computer,
compartmentalized by nature

Water me, Smoke me
Drink me, Enjoy me

Hacked out of an old wooden stump
Just keep the leaves out of my fans

You might not have a cat
but please don't use a real mouse

Sounds of nature,
You'll want high bit

(thanks for reading the stupid fuckin poem of the day)

Paperless office (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394323)

Ok, I thought the computer would cause us to use less paper and hence use fewer fossil fuels and chemicals to process the wood from the tree farms. But No!!!! Someone has to decide to build the entire case out of exotic wood - if this is not stopped what's next "Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together - mass hysteria."

Simulated Wood Grain? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18394391)

Well I prefer my TV, microwave oven, steering wheel, phone, clock, desk, etc. to be in a natural looking simulated wood grain as to be labeled as such so I don't forget.

Time Better Spent on Other Projects (5, Interesting)

louv (1077273) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394511)

As a woodworker and career Nerd (read: 20+ years), here is my perspective:

For me, woodworking projects fall into two types: "quick and dirty" and "furniture".

The "quick and dirty" are things that don't need to last more than a day, a week, a month or even a year. They aren't pretty, they are fast, and they are only as sturdy as they need to be to get the job done. They are generally made from plywood, and other cheap, strong, leftover scrap wood.

"Furniture" projects are things that should last Decades. If I did my job well, they will outlast me. Tables, chairs, and cabinetry fall into this category. Pretty woods, weeks of effort, and lovely finishes highlighting the natural colors and grains of the woods. These projects honor the trees that gave their life so I could have pretty things. Not always sustainable forest-grown, but that's getting better over time.

Back to computers... They have an average life-span of 1 to 5 years... Maybe they'll last 10, but seriously, how many of us have a computer around that is more than 5 years old? So why build "furniture" for Today's Computer. The shapes and sizes and plugs and interfaces and monitors and power needs change every few years. Why would you expect that to not continue? Think about it from this perspective: if you has spend 3 months building the perfect computer case (out of rare Koa and Ebony) for your Commodore 64 twenty years ago, would it still be occupying deskspace in your home? Probably not.

So building "furniture" that fits today's computers is just short-sighted. Beautiful and rare hardwoods should be used and enjoyed in artistic creations whose lifetimes should be measured in decades, not months.

This goes for computer cases and furniture custom built around technology (stereos, home entertainment systems, computers, monitors, etc.) How well does that 50" Plasma screen fit in the "entertainment center" you bought 10 years ago?

We could learn something here... (1)

TihSon (1065170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394615)

If Apple has taught us anything in the last few years, it's that people are not happy with just a plain old engine block computer sitting under the desk. They made their salt from designs that made everyone else's efforts look like ... *ahem* ... 'merde de torro'.

Personally, I hope more people with such obvious skill would take up the case design calling. I know that I have dreamed of building a system into a desk, and the thought of having it built right into the infrastructure of the house has crossed my mind more than once.

We have achieved competence and we have achieved usefulness, perhaps it's time we achieved elegance.

Troll Alert! Save the forests! (1)

NetNinja (469346) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394687)

And of course if this trend catches on what impact to the already dwindling forests will this have?

I am no tree hugger but wooden PC's are a bad idea.

What a waste of beautiful wood (1)

Excelcia (906188) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394723)

What a waste of beautiful wood. If corporations are going to pay for walnut, use it on the desk or furnishings, not on a piece of equipment with an inherent 2-year lifespan. If you're concerned about PC ugliness, put the thing under the desk and buy some longer cables.

I can't see this selling too much. I can't see anyone who values mahogany, oak, and walnut wasting precious wood like that. There are always a few of the wallpaper-with-money type folks looking for a new way to shock and awe, but I can't see this being anything more than a CEO's office thing.

Wooden keyboard and mouse (USB/optical) for $30 (1)

itismike (582070) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394739)

I was tipped off about this deal [geeks.com] just before last Christmas. The picture is slightly different from the one I received. This one [redsave.co.uk] is identical. There are two catches though:
  1. It is currently out-of-stock (or unavailable - see catch #2)
  2. Both keyboards that I received needed modification to work.
The defect is that the left SHIFT key prints a greater than or less than character. The easy solution is to pry off the left shift key and remove the contact bumper from the right-most contact hole. This restores the keyboard to full functionality. The solution is simple, but because both kbds had the same fault, it wouldn't surprise me if they pulled them from the shelves.
Interestingly, the customer service manager said that out of the ~1500 they sold, I was the only customer who called to complain about this. Do most folks just put up with or discard malfunctioning devices? Or did I get the only two defective products?

FCC part 15 emissions? (1)

gemtech (645045) | more than 7 years ago | (#18394987)

There a technical reason that computer enclosures are metal: radio frequency emissions. That's why it would be impossible to build those in volume (to where the FCC would notice) without a metal inner shell. Did anyone ever wonder why the designer cases (clear panels, etc.) aren't built by Dell and others?

Re:FCC part 15 emissions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18395225)

Wood cases dont dissipate heat very well, dont block much rfi, and (for the ultra-paranoid) dont help prevent others from picking up your data-encoded 'transmissions'. I suppose that metallic paint on the inside, like the type used on some rf device plastic cases might help, but i could just as well slap some wood grain veneer on my good old metal case.

ecological (1)

SebaSOFT (859957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18395751)

I'm not saying that the waste of making the reggular cases does not contaminates. BuT why do people think that wooden furniture is a good thing??
I fiNd it the most anti-ecological thing.
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