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Will Pretty PCs Make Vista More Attractive? 223

Posted by timothy
from the things-hideous-things dept.
Yesterday's post about a concerted effort on Microsoft's part to beautify computers by means of a comprehensive set of design guidelines drew more than 500 comments. Read on for today's Slashback summary which highlights a few of the most interesting reader insights on the project.
blamanj summed up many others' comments with this snarky contribution:

(Whether that's true or not is up for debate; certainly a lot of people may prefer Vista to Windows XP.)

Stavr0 writes

Microsoft wants 'PCs to be objects of pure desire.'

I desire my PC to be pure of spyware, security flaws and instability.

Reader melted was one of the first to dismiss the PC-prettification project as a lost cause:

Those OEMs couldn't "beautify" anything if their life depended on it. If they could, they'd already do so. The best they can do is steal Apple's 3-year-old designs.

Others, too, described Microsoft's aesthetic guidelines as a clear response to the widely hailed industrial design from Apple; reader Dan East offers a compact formulation of that idea:

MS is just trying to grab a few sales away from Apple at the expense of the OEMs. Why not? MS doesn't have anything to lose on this one — the OEMs are the ones taking the risk.

"The Mac isn't a good comparison," though, says reader dada21, who writes

I'm not sure I agree with the "Be like a Mac!" comparison. For most PC manufacturers, having their own "look and feel" has been part of what has given them a strong brand name. Sure, Microsoft wants to grab some of that brand recognition beyond just the bootup splash screen (and the desktop look and feel), but I also think this will create more than just brand recognition for Microsoft — I believe it will also produce an interesting "playing field" for companies beyond the Big Four (Dell, Gateway, HP/Compaq, Toshiba). Consider the smaller OEMs and white box companies — by providing a standardized look and feel, this will open the door of opportunity for many more companies. Sure, the big guys probably don't WANT this (they want to keep their look and feel in order to keep their branding strong), but it could create a new competitive atmosphere by giving smaller companies a foot in the door to compete on the look and feel front.

I've always loved third-party cases and keyboards and monitors moreso than the Big Four for the same reason that I've always liked clones — they've pushed the envelope before the big guys did. The downside is that the clones never seemed to sell well in the corporate environment nor in the newb home environment; the clones were just powerhouse sellers for us geeks. By having Microsoft "dictate" what they want to see, we may actually see more third parties offering competition to the Big Four, which in turn could see prices drop a bit more, which could push more legal Microsoft products into the fray.

All around, there are some Mac-branding similarities, but I don't really think that is Microsoft's desired goal to miMac (mimic the Mac, in my vernacular). I think it is just a good idea that will help the little(r) guys, and still give the big guys a chance to offer different products that the market can choose from.

According to reader linguae, a bit more mimicking might be a good idea:

Macs are worth the price . When I showed my parents and siblings my Mac and fooled around with it for a few days, they fell in love with it. They were sold on buying a Mac, and they are now saving up for a iMac. The problem is that cheaper PCs are good enough for 90% of the market. Windows XP "just works" now (as long as you keep an eye on security), and Vista will be far better than XP (insert "it's a copy of OS X here"; say what you want, but Vista is still better than XP). Perhaps they haven't had exposure to OS X; my parents were sold on the Mac within a few days. Perhaps they still must have a Windows PC for their jobs (and they don't know that Intel Macs can run Windows natively). Or, perhaps that money is an issue for most people.

Reader MojoRilla phrased his response in the form of a "Dear John" letter, writing

Dear Microsoft,

It seems that you are doing a lot of things lately to tell me what I want out of your products. Vista's new UI, and now these fancy industrial design specs.

Guess what? I couldn't care less what the shape of my PC is. It is under the desk with my UPS, sub woofer and trash can. And I have no need for a fancy new desktop UI, especially one that takes resources away from what I actually want to do with my computer, like photo and video editing.

What I want is excellent software, compatible with open standards, for a reasonable price. You used to deliver this. When you delivered virtual memory and preemptive multitasking, you were ahead of Apple. Now you seem way behind. And also, I want you to support open standards so that I can use other products with others that haven't paid you a licensing fee, such as open source. I'm not a sheep to lock in. Hello Linux and OSX.

And your prices are far from reasonable. The fact that I can't transfer a OEM Windows license from one PC to another is rubbish. The fact that you want $399 for the standard edition of office, which I have paid you for several times over the years is robbery. I was happy with the functionality of office five years ago. Why should I need to buy it again? Hello, Open Office.

I'm not a sheep, Microsoft. You used to be innovative. Now you are all about marketing. Its been fun, but we're breaking up!

A bit more positively, reader meburke points out that "real design considerations" go beyond the shape of the box, and provides links to a few sites which should be of interest to anyone who designs anything at all for others' use:

As a starting point, I'd like to suggest designers read, "A Whole New Mind" by Daniel Pink, and check out some articles at danpink.com. Furthermore, I suggest visiting IDEO. Pay special attention to their "method card" deck. Lastly (for purposes of this discussion) I suggest visiting mcdonough.com. The common thread in all this is design. William McDonough says that the need for regulation indicates a failure in design.

The design of the product goes way beyond just cosmetics. There is only so much you can do with an enclosure for a PC board, but there is LOTS you can do with the system as a whole. Case modding is just a place to start. Functional design improvements are being made in everything from the input devices to really innovative interfaces.

The IDEO method cards are different from the "Creative Whack Pack" or "Thinkertoys" cards, in that they redefine the product design domain. The jobs of the future are going to be design jobs requiring both high creativity and high technical ability. If someone in India or China can do your job as well and cheaper than you, or if a computer can do your job better and faster, your job is obsolete.


Many thanks to the readers (especially those quoted above) whose comments informed this discussion.
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Will Pretty PCs Make Vista More Attractive?

Comments Filter:
  • No. (Score:4, Funny)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:41PM (#15834423) Homepage Journal

    Prettying up a Windows PC is tantamount to spraying perfume on a pig.

    • Re:No. (Score:5, Funny)

      by spun (1352) <loverevolutionary@NospaM.yahoo.com> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:51PM (#15834508) Journal
      No. It's like polishing a perfumed pig. With a turd. Or something like that.
    • by rf0 (159958)
      Many people will still sleep with a pig though...
    • by rijit (992822) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @05:03PM (#15834999) Homepage
      Most of the comments I have read on all this are either from Apple fanboys, who have no sense when talking about Microsoft, or techie/geeks/bloggers/etc that are in the know on the everyday tech news. The majority of the people who will see this as the next thing will be the mass of people who are not computer savvy. They will see a pretty PC with a flashy, graphical, easy to use interface from a world known company. They have no experience dealing with the different OS's from Apple, Microsoft, Linux, etc. If you really want to know how well this will do, put some polls out on sites like Ebay, MySpace, Hotmail, and other huge sites where the user base is made up of people who do not know the difference. Then you will get some real numbers on interest. Posting an article on a tech site is not they way to find out how most people feel about Microsoft's up and coming releases/plans/offerings/etc. It is a way to start a flame war between the Applites and Microsofties. Me, I'm a Googler and by products based on what I need it for while comparing prices/usability/compatibility/etc. Makes no difference to me who made it, so long as it works good and does what it is supposed to do.
    • Re:No. (Score:5, Funny)

      by nizo (81281) * on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @05:21PM (#15835133) Homepage Journal
      Perhaps they could make them more aerodynamic so they are easier to throw out the window when you get frustrated?
    • by vought (160908)
      Prettying up a Windows PC is tantamount to spraying perfume on a pig.


      Exactly, and to borrow a line from an old joke, when it's all over, Microsoft smells better, the user smells worse, and they're both left standing in a pen full of shit and mud*.

      *A.K.A. "The Windows Ecosystem"
    • Newsflash. Not everyone in the world is a nerd, geek or tech minded, if someone wants a personal PC that is attractive then thats their choice and its just as valid as what ever criteria you select your PC by. Maybe people would prefer to differentiate themselves by look as opposed to pissing contest rights about how large their RAID array is. I have four Antec cases and am happy to pay more for them than a shitty beige box. I'll give all you /.'ers a clue, looks matter. I'll put big money on all you guys s
  • no (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Turn-X Alphonse (789240) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:42PM (#15834435) Journal
    Not bloody likely.

    Vista will live or die based on the hype and up take of new PCs. So far the hype is on target (saddly) and time will tell if the general public will think they need new PCs.
    • Re:no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gr8Apes (679165) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:53PM (#15834525)
      Vista will live, the same way that XP lives, albeit slightly slower. Corporations aren't going to go Vista for a while, some are barely just now rolling out XP. Most home users in the US have a PC, and many of those aren't going to go buy a new one. (Just look at Dell's forecast for confirmation of that statement)

      Where I see people buying new PC's, or parts to BIY, is the geek community who are either interested in pure speed of their games/applications (most of which will run faster on a tuned XP configuration) or the Linux/alternate OS crowd, to whom Vista is as relevant as a hat to a dog. Of course, there's the ever increasingly popular Apple offerings, if you're going to have to learn a whole new interface anyways, why not go with one that's been critically reviewed, and comes in the slickest and sleekest packaging known?

      Or you can be a member of all three groups. :)
      • As always, it's the games that will drive new PC purchases. How soon before we start seeing sys requirements such as "Core Duo or equivalent, 2 Gig RAM", etc.?

        And these new PCs will have Vista pre-installed. Which will, in turn cause Vista to be yet another System requirement.

        My scepticism tells me that Microsoft and Intel HAD to have worked together on this.

        • what's funny about that is that AMD beat Intel to the punch, and as far as multi-core goes, will probably lead Intel again in all aspects by mid 2007 at the latest. (They apparently still lead in the multi-CPU, as witnessed by IBM's switch to Opteron)

          I'm not so sure that games are going to drive new PC sales in the near future, mainly because dual core machines have been out a while and most games are still single-threaded. Why? Because multi-threading is hard compared to single-threading, if you want any m
    • by rf0 (159958)
      There isn't hte saying keeping up with Jonses for nothing. People will upgrade to faster hardware just so they can click from their web browser to their email applicaton 0.00001ms faster than on the previous version of windows
    • Re:no (Score:3, Funny)

      by vimh42 (981236)
      Don't you see? This is actually a method of blame shifting on the part of MS. If Vista fails, MS can blame PC venders for not making thier machines pretty.
  • by krell (896769) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:42PM (#15834437) Journal
    "Do you think this expensive wrapping paper will make Wilma like the gift bowling ball I'm going to get her for our anniversary?"
  • by Digital Vomit (891734) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:44PM (#15834462) Homepage Journal

    Three rules that will boost Vista sales:

    1. Be handsome
    2. Be attractive
    3. Don't be unattractive

    (props to SNL)

  • Vista is evil (Score:5, Insightful)

    by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:45PM (#15834466) Homepage Journal
    They can dress Vista computers up however they want, it won't change the fact that Vista is mostly an attempt to push DRM like PVP down our throats just a little bit more so that they can force us to buy new hardware before the old hardware is obsolete. Forced obsolecence is a serious concern, and "prettying up" PCs is about as important as makeup on a dog.
    • Yawn, more uninformed, vague railing agains the big, bad DRM wolf. This is nonsense. DRM is a capability, nobody but the content providers will force you to use it. If you don't want to watch the latest Brittney Spears video on your PC, it won't affect you. If a content provider (e.g. Sony) implements onerous DRM then don't buy the content or complain to Sony. Bad DRM is already out there, Vista just makes it easier for the content provider and easier for the end-user since they don't have to deal with
      • "Yawn, more uninformed, vague railing agains the big, bad DRM wolf. ... Vista just makes it easier for the content provider and easier for the end-user since they don't have to deal with 10 different kinds of DRM."

        You just contradicted yourself. It does make DRM easier to implement, and thus is a subtle attempt to put more DRM software and hardware into our homes for a big lockout coming from Sony or whoever wants to cripple access to their product.
  • by Klaidas (981300) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:47PM (#15834482)
    I don't think that pretty PCs will make people buy more. It's simple - if someone needs a computer, they will look at RAM, Hard drive, graphics card and other things, not the box itself.
    Besides, most people I know build their own PCs, so it won't affect them.
    One more thing to mention is that PCs are not just _personal_. They are also used in companies, where office buys them for employees. If a computer has a nice colour, would they buy more, than they need?.. I don't think so.
    • Wrong. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by aywwts4 (610966) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:20PM (#15834702)
      You are obviously not a woman.

      I'm shopping for a new laptop for my girlfriend, A old dell I gave her is getting a bit old, but mainly she doesn't like the spartan, utilitarian, unattractive, and slightly scratched exterior.

      She has three criteria for a new laptop, in this order...

      1. It looks pretty

      2. Its a 17 inch widescreen.

      3. I say that the specs are good enough.

      She is quite enamored with the Toshiba's Due to the glowing lights, copper colour, and sleek design. Its only a bonus that their specs are pretty good for the money.
      • based on my experience, i'd say skip the Toshiba...
        First their support/service is nearly inexistant. I had a remote controler shipped with mine which drivers stopped working after a (pre SP1) xp patch. I'm still waiting for them to update the driver.
        Then during the two year i owned my €2700 laptop, i had:
        • the hard drive
        • the dvd writer
        • the battery

        die on me. Then two days after the end of warranty the motherboard stopped working... I suspected it was dc jack so i decided to have a look a it.
        I spent

      • This is just so much sexist shit.

        When I poured coffee into the screen of my laptop, I did a fairly comprehensive search, and ended up buying the exact laptop one of my girlfriends already had. I think our criteria were pretty similar!
      • I know ladies that know exactly what they are buying and why.

        And if they don't they ask the right questions.

        When you are spending such a serious amount of money only a stupid person (woman or otherwise) would base his decitions in the factors you are mentioning. The gender of a person doing a purchased based in the worng reasons is completely incidental.
    • I think that some people view their computer as more than a computer, a status symbol as it were. As many people will attest the new macbooks have a very stylish and well-refined look to them. Some people think it smacks of "elitist bastard", "artistic", or even "I'm different". However no matter how much Microsoft wants PC makers to make their boxes look pretty, I don't see it happening.

      What would happen to the price of Dell's $300 PC if they decided to "pretty it up"? I'm guessing the price goes up a l
      • ...but it probably won't be.

        I think that some people view their computer as more than a computer, a status symbol as it were. As many people will attest the new macbooks have a very stylish and well-refined look to them. Some people think it smacks of "elitist bastard", "artistic", or even "I'm different". However no matter how much Microsoft wants PC makers to make their boxes look pretty, I don't see it happening.

        As someone that had about 10 Macs prior to OS X, the thing that bothers me most about them no

    • "They are also used in companies, where office buys them for employees. If a computer has a nice colour, would they buy more, than they need?.. I don't think so."

      No, but they'll buy the brand that looks more pleasing to the eye.

      Otherwise... Why do all corporations buy these stock art and plants to make the workplace look like something of other than a place of work.
    • Wrong.

      The PC is as much a living room appliance now as a TV or stereo. The laptop is a personal accessory that makes a statement about the owner. "Pretty" is not a good term to use, but people do want to buy something that is attractive (think of all the time you will be staring at it, after all), something that looks good in their house, something that just "looks cool." That may seem superficial to you and your beige-box building friends, but you are neither the market nor the majority. (And you shou
  • by Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:50PM (#15834501)
    The bitter pill is coated with a sweet colorful shell...
  • Admittedly, PCs are pretty lame in the design department, though I frankly have never been enamored of Macs either, though at least they trended away from the beige-gray box. Nowadays you can get beautified PCs (can we say Alienware?) and perhaps eventually there will be some renaissance in case design.

    Having said all that, in the end if the OS sucks, is hard to use, or makes the machine unworkable, no amount of cool paint jobs or weird shapes are going to make people any happier about Vista.

  • by quokkapox (847798) <quokkapox@gmail.com> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:57PM (#15834550)

    Is whether Windows XP will still be available on new PCs. I don't want to purchase a license for Vista until at least a year after the bugs are worked out, which might be early 2008. Will I be able to buy a *NEW* PC (capable of running vista) with good ole windows XP preinstalled for the entirety of 2007?

    Not everybody wants to upgrade to some shiny new untested environment.

  • by Kesch (943326) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:58PM (#15834554)
    Backslash: Will Pretty PCs Make Vista More Attractive.

    Read on for today's Slashback summary


    Wait is this a Backslash or a Slashback? I thought Slashbacks were minor stories and updates. Obviously the number of sections abusing the word 'Slash' are not confusing enough. To rectify this issue, I propose a new section known as 'Slashwrists' which will contain emo blogs along with any the new MySpace stories.
    • Maybe this is a Blashsack, or a Slabshack ("Love Shack" for big iron). Now, if it's both a Slashback and a Backslash, then it could be a back-to-back slash-slash. Which, given the comments aimed pointedly at Microsoft, would make sense.
  • Buying on a whim (Score:5, Insightful)

    by weasello (881450) <weasel@nOsPAm.greensheep.ca> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @03:59PM (#15834560) Homepage
    When I worked in retail, I found myself mostly finding for customers the highest end specs with the lowest price possible (with "quality" being one of those specs, not necessarily pointing at the nearest e-machine (or equivalent)). The only time the prettyness of a PC ever came into the discussion was when I was talking to a key set of people:

    (1) Those who don't understand the technologies involved and can't go by anything but presentation, and
    (2) Those who have so much money they just buy the most expensive product available regardless if the money is going towards chassis styling or internal components (a subgroup of (1) usually).

    A lot of little old ladies or folks getting in and out of ferraris fit into these two categories. It's the 'noob' market. Businesses, geeks, nerds, and probably 80% of computer purchasers (per unit, not per person) are not going to be affected by the prettiness of the thing.

    Heck, if I see something that looks slick I'd avoid it on the simple premise that the product has a value in design as opposed to specifications and/or quality of parts.
    • by sfontain (842406)
      Heck, if I see something that looks slick I'd avoid it on the simple premise that the product has a value in design as opposed to specifications and/or quality of parts.

      Attractive outward appearance doesn't preclude quality.
      • by weasello (881450)
        Not necessarily, but it most likely will. Those devices that have been designed with a more attractive outward appearance typically goes through R&D, has an aesthetic designer to pay for, and the company knows it has a better looking product and charges extra for that.

        If a company were to design a tower that looks phenomenal, with no detractions to usage or functionality, and they charged the same for them as a regular ol' box tower with identical functionality... Well then, we'd see an evolution of
    • > A lot of little old ladies or folks getting in and out of
      > ferraris fit into these two categories. It's the 'noob'
      > market. Businesses, geeks, nerds, and probably 80%
      > of computer purchasers (per unit, not per person) are not
      > going to be affected by the prettiness of the thing.

      Well I think that is going to change as PCs (and similar) start to become more of a commodity.

      Few anegdotes:

      Some time ago I went with my father to get a new microwave oven (just for company - I don't live with my par
      • When a customer has a certain *need* in mind (eg: exterior color, small size, portability, quietness) it becomes one of the selling features of the product, and I fully agree with you and your examples - I personally don't mind stringing a long set of klunky cables from my TV to the media center PC that's stored in my closet because of it's noise levels. Those that don't have that option can't go that route.

        What I was touching on was comparing two products with equal functionality, but one with a visuall
        • > Great point on the deeper design though. I never addressed
          > it originally but UI design and ease of use are one of the
          > most important factors in PC Development IMHO.

          And with this in mind Apple is in better situation - they design hardware AND software. They control it from ground up. Only thing MS can do is issue some directions/sugestions - but it actually won't matter.

          On the other way MS has such power with its install base that I think that they can force anything on hardware suppliers - just
          • Currently they're too busy reworking the internals of Windows to be somewhat maintainable to add features. This isn't a question of manpower--you don't want to add any features to unstable code.

            Whether Microsoft will innovate once its codebase is stable and maintainable is debatable. The only innovation it's been providing so far, that I can see, is in DirectX. The original innovation there was speed--originally, OpenGL was slower than DirectX. Recently, though, OpenGL has become much faster than equivalent
            • > Currently they're too busy reworking the internals of
              > Windows to be somewhat maintainable to add features.

              I would say their are working to fix the sh**. :)

              > This isn't a question of manpower--you don't want to
              > add any features to unstable code.

              Yes as it would make the code more unstable. But I think problem with N+1 Windows is that it is getting to bloated. In some point of time they'll just *have* to rewrite everything and throw old shit away - that is why I like Linux, these folks just can
        • > When a customer has a certain *need* in mind (eg: exterior color,
          > small size, portability, quietness) it becomes one of the selling
          > features of the product

          Also: yes that is true - but reason I written that things are going to change is that I see PC buyers simply do not know that the thing can be more quiet and also send emails, that the thing can be smaller and also browse the web, that the thing can be easier to use etc.

          Of course most of people look at the cost - but also comparing to automob
    • by JulesLt (909417)
      >Heck, if I see something that looks slick I'd avoid it on the simple premise that the product has a value in design as opposed to specifications and/or quality of parts.

      An attitude you have in common with many people, but one that is not necessarily correct - or at least only partly correct. There is almost certainly a premium attached to design - at the very least there is the cost of employing a designer, along with likely higher manufacturing costs. On the other hand, good design can certainly add to
      • I do appreciate that when designing a "slick" looking product, you immediately assume consumers will pay more for your product. Using this "we aren't aiming for the lowest dollar" you can often throw a few extra bucks into quality parts (such as the USB ports, for example). Once 'price' is no longer a concern, it definately opens up doors. That's why I was quick to say 'compared with identical features' (which comparing a Mac Mini and an Acer Laptop are not). No insinuation against mac users at all - I men
  • Somehow this reminds me of the old addage about putting lipstick on a pig.

  • Where can I find a cheap, butt-ugly biege box to throw into the closet? I'm sick and tired of paying for extra case plastic and multi-colored fans.
    • I think the demands for fans with UV LEDs and holographic stickers has gone so high that they have economies of scale. The last time I was at Fry's (admittedly several months ago... I live six hours from the nearest one now) I wanted just a plain old fan for a box I was building. The plain black fan cost a dollar more than the clear plastic blue LED fan with the same cooling and noise specs.

      So I have a server in my office with tricked out fans. Nobody ever sees them, of course, because the case doesn't

    • The problem is that people are actually PAID to design butt ugly boxes.

      What you want is to buy something where a person was PAID to design a purely functional box.

      If you are asking for cheap, you will get extra case plastic and multi colored fans.
  • by ElboRuum (946542) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:06PM (#15834614)
    The rest of the universe:

    We want you to use your PC and fall in love with someone special.

    Microsoft:

    We want you to fall in love with your PC and use someone special.
  • by Scotch Game (442068) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:13PM (#15834650)
    Will pretty computers make Vista more attractive?

    Yes. Absolutely. Why? Because we're human.

    There are many comments up already saying "you can't polish a turd" and "vista is evil!" and, for what it's worth, I agree mostly. I'm writing this from an Ubuntu machine which I insist on using at work. I compute happily and sans hassle. But will pretty computers suceed? Yes.

    Saying that they won't is the same thing as saying that putting a pretty model in a beer commerical won't make Budweiser (or whatever) taste better. Well, that's true, and yet sex sells beer. And cars. And a billion other things.

    Okay, pretty girls aren't the same thing as pretty computers, but to some nerds they are. And in any case, anything sells better when it looks better, even crappy stuff. Just does, because we buy with our eyes first and our minds second.
    • It depends.

      For desktop, I don't think looks matter so much. You can just shove it under a desk and not really know what it looks like. As such, I don't think a comparison to autos or clothes makes sense. In some cases, the looks of a desktop might matter in much the same way that looks of a water heater matters, not much, because they don't have to look at it, it only has to keep the water the way they want it.

      For notebooks, looks matter more because most people can see it and you can't just hide them i
    • They will succeed because I can buy a prettier computer and run Linux or MacOS on it. *snort* "We are Microsoft and at last we have spoken on the proper way a computer should look. Now that you have been illuminated by our brilliance, go forth and do what we have said." *spit*
    • and yet sex sells beer. And cars. And a billion other things.

      I like reading engadget for all the pretty, self respecting asian ladies frequently placed next to product introductions. I just think of it as good presentation as opposed to blunt sexual influence, like putting fresh flowers on your dinner table when guests come over. Which isn't to say that certain floral arrangements couldn't fit into that latter classification.

      I'm all for pretty computers. Cheers for apple and here's hoping more computer make
    • True. When an industry switches to selling looks, (warning, car analogy) like selling car radiator grills and cup holders, it's also a sign of a maturing market with less true product differentiation.

      PC's are now powerful enough that for many people (not me!) increasing the performance further is pointless. Packaging, unfortunately, is where it's at now.

      ---

      Vista: Billions of marketing words and no delivered product.

  • This whole "lets make tricky, obnoxious cases for PCs" thing pops up every few years. It never amounts to anything.

    Most people don't care how their PC looks. It gets stuck under the desk. A lot of the time, there's even a *door* covering it up.

    If they really want to change the look of PCs for the better, then they should move to ultra-compact "mini" cases. I would love to be able to buy a fully-functional PC in a small case that still had a slot or 2 for expandability, and not have to pay $300 for the privi
  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by The Living Fractal (162153) <banantarr@h[ ]ail.com ['otm' in gap]> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:29PM (#15834765) Homepage
    What is PC attractiveness vs. Cost?

    I assume this is really only talking about mainstream home PCs. The big name brands. I mean, if Dell spends sum X on making new, 'pretty' cases for their PCs, and Gateway spends sum X minus Y on their cases which aren't that much 'uglier', doesn't Gateway win because they can offer the same performance/support (in theory) at a lower price, or offer more performance at the same price?

    Truly, PC attractiveness is an enthusiast market, i.e. case modding. Otherwise, you're going to get something that looks like every other major brand PC: a stylized, but nevertheless cheaply made, box, so the company can compete price-wise.

    Or, you can go with the 'high end' like Alienware, thereby paying an outrageous sum for the name and look. People who buy Alienware don't really care about the price.

    Me, I'd rather buy the components and build my own. You can make a respectable looking box for a lot cheaper than what Alienware will charge you. There are cases out there that look damn good too. Mine is the NZXT Lexa.

    Hell, if you really want a unique case, buy any one of the $50-100 cases and mod it to your liking. Though I get the feeling if you do that, you're not the kind of person who will be quite jumping for joy to get Vista when it is released.

    TLF
  • I reviewed the origional post with some minor interest simply because I do believe that a PC is an appliance no different than a washer, dryer, or TV, and breaking away from the beige box or the now ubiquitous black pc is a pretty spiffy idea. But I don't see links to what Microsoft invisions as being the desktop of the future.

    http://www.microsoft.com/japan/presspass/pressroom /d_img/d3_mouse_20040423.aspx [microsoft.com]
    http://www.microsoft.com/japan/presspass/detail.as px?newsid=2098 [microsoft.com]

    These are microsoft more radical desi
  • For the average pc user,

      If it's fast and plays their average games, they don't care. They will rely on Norton or Mcafee to keep their computer safe.

    For more experienced pc user,
        They want speed and stability. If Vista isn't both of these, then they will probaly stick with XP. Plus be able to play their hardcore games.

    For advanced computer user,
            Vista will sell them if kernel is linux based.
  • Wrong way... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zip0nada (883919)
    I usually try not to just post opinion in comments but I really couldn't come up with any fact for this argument, so I guess it's philosophy from here on out.

    I believe Microsoft went the wrong direction here. They attempted to change all hardware to suit them instead of making themselves adaptable to fit all, or most, hardware. It probably wouldn't be difficult for them, take the same amount of people that it took to make those design guidelines and tell them to make a few extra themes and colors for Vista.
  • I'm more likely to buy a pc based on features that relate to esthetics. Also, being quiet is a big plus for me. That's why I like liquid cooling on my desktop. Also, Micro atx cases are cool because they're so small and don't take up a lot of room on my "real" desktop. The problem with all this is: WHAT THE HECK DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH AN OPERATING SYSTEM? Maybe Microsoft should focus on implementing nice features in their OS instead of worrying about what their box making partners do? Just a thought.
  • by Colin Smith (2679) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @04:53PM (#15834923)
    And of social status.

    People will pay $100/ml for perfume but they won't pay $0.30/ml for exactly the same thing. The same for clothing, add the right badge and they'll pay 3000% more. Microsoft need to be able to justify the now relatively high price tag for the next version of their software so they're appealing to social desires rather than business ones. It's rather an admission that they're going to have difficulty competing on price/performance.

     
    • The same for clothing, add the right badge and they'll pay 3000% more.

      While this is certainly true, I went out of my way to buy a large pack of calvin klein jeans once. They were totally onsale and I had no specific loyalty to any one brand. Gap or Levis was what I typicaly bought, but I didn't "really" care. I can't remember if I bought 10 pair or 12 pair, but it didn't matter all that much because they all ripped in the exact same way, right down the butt. At least with my other jeans that rip usually
  • by Ungrounded Lightning (62228) on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @05:15PM (#15835094) Journal
    dada21 is quoted:

    For most PC manufacturers, having their own "look and feel" has been part of what has given them a strong brand name. [Goes on to examine boost to little guys from common look-and-feel".

    Seems to me that what the hardware companies who are establishing their own brand identity need is not a Microsoft-standard look-and-feel, which will detract from their hard-built brand identification.

    Instead they need a way to customize the appearance of the software's look-and-feel. (Without affecting its ease-of-use or functionality, of course, so customers who learned on something else can feel at home despite their prettifications.)
    • The problem with that is, it's likely to confuse the bulk of users. You should see the confusion that results from WinXP default theme versus WinXP classic. If there are thirty different default Vista themes, then a lot of users will either get too flustered to use anyone else's computer or quickly learn to comprehend new interfaces--and the latter would make it much easier to switch operating systems.
  • the popularity of case modding would suggest that looks do matter. i think we need to keep that in mind!
  • It boils down to putting a turd in a fancy box instead of a plain one. What's inside is still a turd.
  • When I first heard about this recommendation from Microsoft, the first thing that came to mind was the stereotypical Used Car Lot where they dress up their vehicles to look fantastic....but a week after the purchase the thing falls apart. I have nothing against Microsoft, but to me it seems like they want the PC manufacturers to do the marketing work for them or they don't think Vista can sell itself (e.g. Vista doesn't work right, but at least it will look pretty turned off!).
  • Isn't that a bit like putting on a tux to go out dumpster diving?

    (no pun intended)
  • by wintermute1974 (596184) <wintermute@berne-ai.org> on Wednesday August 02, 2006 @07:19PM (#15835920) Homepage
    Okay, I read the original discussion and now this one.

    My question is: Where are these design guides? Are they publically available? All the talk here on Slashdot is just talk. Without seeing the recommendations, we don't know how much value they bring.

    There might be something insightful about them, but without reading them, how will anyone know?
  • if its news that matters, if you have to rehash it then it wasnt that important
  • Windows Fister may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'd never know, cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherfucker.

    Seriously, it going to be years and years. At home I've got a Win2k partition for games, Ubuntu for everything else. I work for a *huge* corporate that is still on the NT-to-XP treadmill, so I won't be seeing it in work anytime soon either.

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