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Softening the Edges of Technology 122

Posted by Zonk
from the no-generic-white-boxes-here dept.
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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Softening the Edges of Technology

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  • A matter of style (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @02:28AM (#18392681) Homepage Journal
    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: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Seumas (6865)
      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.
      • by h2g2bob (948006)
        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.

    • 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.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      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 fac
      • by Lord Kano (13027)
        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?
        • "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.
          • by Lord Kano (13027)
            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
            • And PSU's are heading towards 1000 Watt suckerage. I think its getting ridicoulous that a computer can use more power than a fridge AND freezer or washing machine etc. I wish they would focus on low more efficient low temperature power usage and parallelise more and specalise more than what we have today.
      • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

        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...
        • by ATMD (986401)
          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.
      • by ncc74656 (45571) *

        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.

        They keep kids and pets out. If properly designed, they channel airflow where it's needed so that components stay cool. It's easier to handle a complete system assembled in a case than a hodgepodge of boards and boxes. Those are just a few reasons why a case is

    • by alisson (1040324)
      Check the specs on the suissa, though. They're likely to be better that what you're running :)
      • by Lord Kano (13027)
        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
    • 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 (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Dogtanian (588974) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @07:50AM (#18393581) Homepage

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

      What kind of car do you drive? A black Element?
    • plus the fact that most computers goes under the desk and are not seen by anyone.

      I for one use mine as a stool for my feet so i would not feel comfortable to use a 600$ case for that but, if you like to show off and let people se hoe much money you have, why not.
  • Yeah! (Score:5, Funny)

    by efence (927813) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @02:38AM (#18392709)
    Let's paint all our boxen like this [vicclap.hu]!
  • 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 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tsa (15680) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @02:49AM (#18392747) Homepage
    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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dattaway (3088)
      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: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        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).
      • 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.
        • by ereshiere (945922)
          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 (Score:4, Interesting)

            by aztracker1 (702135) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @05:09AM (#18393135) Homepage
            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: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by hack slash (1064002)
            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
            • by Dogtanian (588974)

              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
            • by radish (98371)
              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.
          • by tsa (15680)
            They are really good, I like them better than the screen on my 15.4" MBP.
        • Only with some kinds (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @06:29AM (#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.
      • Like an iMac? [apple.com]
      • "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... (Score:1, Redundant)

        by jpellino (202698)
        ... an iMac 3rd gen. Selling like hotcakes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jessta (666101)
      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.
    • ... 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: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bobdotorg (598873)
      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
    • 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 en
  • 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.
    • by Seumas (6865)
      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.
    • 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
    • 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.
    • The year - 1984 -- I was a freshly minted Electronics Technician - with a job earning money !! But still pretty broke -- came across a deal for a Franklin motherboard ( Apple II rip-off) --- I built a nice box out of pine (hinged lid !!) kluged a power supply together and we had our first family computer --- Amber screen and all. Damn thing lasted several years even had a modem going ........

      Wood .... its not just for bread boxes anymore !
  • 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

  • by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @03:02AM (#18392793) Journal
    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.
  • by Landak (798221)
    Cue the 'My computer's on fire!' jokes in 5, 4, 3, 2...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dogtanian (588974)
      That's interesting; but the question is whether properly-treated wood really is any more of a fire hazard than plastic.
    • by badonkey (968937)
      There's no time for jokes. I'm rushing for a trademark on the name "TinderBook" before Sony snags it.
  • by hack slash (1064002) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @03:21AM (#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)
  • by ribuck (943217) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @03:35AM (#18392895) Homepage
    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.'
    • by cowscows (103644)
      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.
  • 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.
  • For the sake of nature, I hope they're all made of sustainably harvested wood...
  • Daft... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ZwJGR (1014973) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @04:24AM (#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.
    • by mikael (484)
      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.
  • 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 that creates wooden cases, mice, keyboards, the stuff:
    http://www.woodacus.hu/ [woodacus.hu]
  • .. 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.
  • 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 ;-)
  • 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

    • 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: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Legion303 (97901)
      If that's your attitude, I'm not going to show you my bald eagle skull casemod.
    • by Inda (580031)
      I've posted this before and I'll post it again...

      I used mahogany 15 years ago to build fullsized models of cars and their panels. Not once did I use rain forest mahogany because, wait for it, it was shite. The quality of rainforest mahogany is fine for cheap furnature but no good for anything else. We used sustainable wood 15 years ago and I'm sure most professionals still do.

      Create a case mod out of rain forest mahogany and watch it split with the heat.
  • 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.
  • What was that architecture student designing? A computer even Ted Kazynski would love? Or ?
  • by 955301 (209856) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @09:01AM (#18393841) Journal

    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.

    • The Internet - Serious Business
    • Umm, maybe you should talk to your doctor about your medications. I don't think your current ones are working all that well.
      • by 955301 (209856)
        Nah, just trying to prove a point to a friend,

        That you can write a few paragraphs making *any* argument and get at least a few people tagging it interesting or insightful.

        Slashdot is dead.
  • by louv (1077273) on Sunday March 18, 2007 @11:04AM (#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?

  • 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

    • by Firefly1 (251590)

      I know that I have dreamed of building a system into a desk...
      Hmmm, combine with a sufficiently rugged large touchscreen (that can be 'locked' ala the buttons on a Discman/MP3 player/what-have-you) and it sounds like you'll have Dillinger's desk from Tron. Not a bad idea, that...
  • 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. 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'
  • 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

  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Wood doesn't have to be used just for the natural look, it can be functional too. When we were replacing four LCD monitors with something higher resolution some of us decided that the old 1600x1200 displays didn't need to be wasted. The only thing is the one stand held all four monitors and we were splitting them up. So, we had to come up with our own stand.

    I used a tree branch that was about three inches in diameter, cut a long piece to attach to the metal connector in the middle back and hold it at t

    • Some years ago I took a regular desktop enclosure and covered it in wood-grain contact paper, just for the fun of it. The results were surprisingly good, and the machine seemed to disappear into my office ("where's your computer? What ... that's your computer? I didn't even notice it.") with entertaining results. The front panel wasn't shaped in a way that was amenable to more contact paper, so I just painted it a matching shade of brown. Overall it was a pleasing effect.

      That also didn't take me any 1000
  • by AP31R0N (723649)
    "Interesting to see the beautification of PC cases in the pages of the old grey lady." PC cases haven't been boring since the mid 90's. Ever heard of Lian Li (and about a dozen other companies making cases)? Ever hear of case modding?

It's a poor workman who blames his tools.

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