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IBM's Colorful Notebooks 111

Jacek Fedorynski writes "This Yahoo article says that the new ThinkPads will have swappable snap-on covers - something like Nokia 5110 meets the iBook. :) Initially there will be seven colors to choose from, they will probably introduce more later. Another company realized that many people are more interested in how the machine looks that what it has inside. " Slashdot Green please. The interesting thing is that PCs have reached a point where most PCs are "Good Enough" and manufacturers need to get mindshare by doing something, anything special. Pre-Install Linux? Multi-Colors? Internal Wireless Networking?
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IBM's Colorful Notebooks

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  • by meersan ( 26609 ) on Friday October 01, 1999 @07:15AM (#1645110) Homepage

    10 Least Appealing Vanity Computer Colors

    10. What-the-hell-is-that-gunk Green
    9. Cubicle Beige
    8. Barbie Doll Pink
    7. Aging Plastic Yellow
    6. The Color Formerly Known As Purple
    5. Pepto-bismol
    4. Encrusted Black
    3. Alien-skin Grey
    2. Spewed Puce
    1. Screen of Death Blue

    10 Most Appealing Vanity Computer Colors

    10. Palladium-card Chrome
    9. Justalil-Too-Overclocked Red
    8. Slashdot Teal (thanks Hemos)
    7. Mountain Dew Lime
    6. Circuit Board Green
    5. PNG-not-GIF Transparent
    4. Geekier-than-thou frost aqua
    3. Penguin Foot Orange
    2. Isotope Blue
    1. Darth Black!

  • I wonder also(PowerBook 1400) but atleast another company besides apple and nokia are making things that look cool...and with IBM's recent vow to support linux on their thinkpads i just might get me one.

    And hey...atleast its not a total rip off of apple's style.
  • You do realize of course that slashdot green is the same as Windows Green? And also, I believe it's called teal. =P
  • a slightly cheaper black Dell

    Actually, Dell is on the bandwagon, too. The Yahoo article briefly mentioned that Dell was releasing their 3700-series laptops in two colors. I checked their website, and it's true: "Tahoe Blue" and "Storm Grey".

    My question is, how is "Storm Grey" any different than "is-that-my-notebook-or-yours" grey?


  • I want an ultra violet colored computer... Poor me! :(
  • If it's the one i just errr.... "recieved"... It's the Powerbook 1400. I even have the clear cover for it, but had no idea you could fit CD's under it.
  • The point about PC's being "good enough" is a really good one. I remember when I used to get excited about newer, faster processors. Now it seems that anything above a P200 or so will do just fine for my needs. Ultra Wide SCSI really needs to get widely implemented though...IDE is too slow and unreliable.
  • The university I work for (UNC-Chapel Hill) also requires students to buy laptops. The school has a deal with IBM wherein students and faculty get a good deal on the ThinkPad 600. These machines are plagued with problems, and the solution offered by IBM's on-campus support is most often a total restoration of the OS. Let's hope the new ThinkPads have performance to match their looks.
  • ok ok ok, now don't get me wrong, but doesn't the iMac come in different colors? Screw those little telephones, who needs a colorful phone? It's the same for the iMac, who needs a color coordinated thing that sits on a desk all day. The laptop is a good idea, if you're a woman. What happens when it's after labor day, can you not have the white shell? I think when computer companies start making thier cases look nicer, they make worse products. Take Compaq for example: first off, they're terrible, but then they make the sliding smoke colored door on the front, and all those imputs there. They did all that, then put AMD in the boards. It's just an example. Here's another: Winblows 3.1x decent GUI for DOS, it worked. Microcrap wants to make it more flashy, so they strap a Start button on and make it more colorful with hiding DOS. Hello? kernel anyone? It's a disaster that's already happened.
    My advice: Stick to the old grey and black and you won't risk the humilation at work.
  • I think the topic says it all.

    - A.P.

    "One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

  • just think, in the future we will be able to change the *outside* of our laptops as well.. there will be sites with desktop/laptop cover themes you can download.. internet pornography will have yet another purpose..
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Slashdot Green is people! It's PEEEOOOOPPPPLLLLE!!!!
  • Actually, yes, I did know my car inside and out before I bought it. I know quite a bit about cars and I get pissed at people who drive them and don't even know why they should change their oil, much less how to do it, but that's a whole other can of worms. And I have a degree in computer engineering, so I'm pretty familiar with TV's, VCR's, stereos and the such. I want stuff that does what I need it to do first and looks good second at best. I don't care how pretty my tools are, as long as they're clean and work. And a computer is just that: a tool. Functionality should be priority one. Now don't get me wrong, looks count for something. I don't much care for fecal matter, spew and other such grossness decorating my stuff. I keep my car spotless. I detest bumper stickers and window decals and other things like that which, in my mind, spoil the natural beauty of a car. I just get sick of how people are more concerned with looks than performance. What's wrong with a nice black laptop? Why does a computer have to be orange or blue or pink? Even my friend's Macintosh Powerbook is black, for heaven's sake.

  • What he's talking about is the necessity to spend ANY money or trouble to facilitate something as simple as the exchange of files when the lowly floppy has been doing the job swimmingly for a number of years.

    Yes, $400 is great for wireless LAN connectivity. Yes, it's also overkill for the 800KB background or 1MB screensaver or 40KB term paper or 5K HTML page you wanna take over to ... what?

    Your G4? Nope! Try again.
  • I've lived in WV my whole life. I love it here. You're right, there's not much money for computer geeks, but that's changing. At least according to what the governor's office says. WV steelworkers? What, in Weirton? I don't think there are any steelworkers elsewhere in the state. But I have a friend who lives in Morgantown and makes over $250k a year doing computer stuff. Maybe you've heard of the internet? It's really opening doors for some of us who want to live in the beauteous mountains of Backwater, USA but still do high-tech work. Besides, my point was more that I would be isolating myself from human interaction, not that I wanted to get rich in WV.

  • Oh I didn't mean at all to intimate that college kids are idiots. Heck, I was one myself until a couple years ago.

    But....college kids that could care less about computeres (think English/Biology/Chemistry/PolySci/History/etc.) will buy something that looks cool before they bother with something that looks boring.

  • Touche. But still, since I've spent the better part of the last three years doing PC tech support for "business professionals" who couldn't find their way out of an open field if they had to do it with a mouse, I'm not in favor of anything that makes computers more attractive to the computer illiterate.

  • A better analogy might be the 4 door compact sport utility vehicle. (AMC, mid-80s.) It's been ripped off by just about everyone, but Jeep still has a pretty big market share.
  • A few years ago, when Apple still allowed clones, there was a Canadian company making Mac clone portables with leather and chrome exteriors. I can't remember the name of the company. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
  • I was once asked to give a list of criteria that I thought was important, for out University computer store to make decisions on what to keep in stock, etc. (not that I was special, all of us in academic computing were asked)

    Anyway, I seemed to have two considerations that no one else listed:

    1. Aesthetics: Does the thing look like total shit?
    2. Size: Does it fit on/under my desk (very important in dorms)

    There's a much longer list of things we all look for, but I'm surprised that so many people forget those two.

    The iMac packs plenty of power for its size/cost, and so will the iBook. The colors aren't for everyone, but most of Apple's target audience falls pretty much into three categories--
    • Graphics professionals (who'd probably think the colors were cool)
    • Beginning users (who need something to catch their eye, so they can differentiate between machines)
    • Students (where cost, space & ease of use are major concerns, and having something that looks cool doesn't hurt either)
  • Yes, this "hits Apple where it hurts."

    Apple has popularized the notion of "computers as Art/Industrial Design," where the computer is designed to look attractive, as opposed to being more purely functional.

    It may represent a movement towards "computer as appliance," although the complexity of running a computer still largely prevents it being truly treated as such.

  • I don't know about anyone else, but I want a thinkpad for 3 reasons:
    1. IBM makes good machines (IMHO)
    2. ThinkPad Black
    3. The ThinkPad look.

    To me the thinkpad has always been the ideal model of what a laptop should be. (In particular the 570 series is my favorite, powerful, yet ultralight...)

    Then again, maybe there's just something wrong with me.

  • hey!
    don't forget the inimitable Douglas Adams' colors:

    infra dead
    ultra violent
    gang green

  • Nonono.. i was referring to the fact that the entire main page after this story was underlined.. no end-underline tag.
  • This can get out of hand. Soon kids start competing over who has the coolest laptop, then parents end up spending too much money on customization panels, then some kid gets killed when somebody jacks his Timberland® panel, then the school orders uniform laptops in a smart blue tartan plaid.

    I can see it now . . .
  • by dustpuppy ( 5260 ) on Friday October 01, 1999 @07:45AM (#1645140)
    This is a story about three companies.

    The first is Apple which was smart in realising that you could take a normal computer, put it in a new case, add a splash of color, and voila - rampant sales.

    But Apple only had a limited vision. After all, one does not always see red, or feel green with jealousy, or feel grape colored.

    Along came IBM, and swiping an idea from Nokia, decided that swappable colors would be even better. Now instead of deciding what to wear in the morning, you also had to decide if it would coordinate with the colour panels you had for your laptop.

    So what is the third company? The third company is mine. I'm going out and manufacturing swappable color panels for everything under the sun. There is no way I cannot make a couple of billion based on peoples past purchasing habits.

    Don't like the color of your car? Let me introduce to you the strawberry Ford - oh! you're wearing a navy suit, well just give me a couple of seconds ... there we go, please step into your blueberry car.


  • Granted, ThinkPads have not had flashy colors, but I think the flat black, with the red button looks pretty cool. I got a ThinkPad, for reasons other than the looks, but I'm quite impressed with the looks. I guess, though, they were trying to make them look cool and be palatible to buisness users in black suits and red ties. Well, at least the ThinkPads look better than suits!
  • IIRC, the reason that you don't see transparent laptops (or very many transparent computers) is that the FCC mandates that all the components be shielded. In the iMac this accomplish this with a piece of metal going around the circuit boards and the neck of the CRT. In a notebook, however, there's not really enough room to do this.

    This is also why you see many knock-off iMac PC cases, but none of them are translucent. The components have to be shielded.
  • Okay. You want a cheaper file sharing solution without floppies?


    What? No home network? No worries, your iBook and your G3 or G4 have built in ethernet. Get an ethernet crossover cable for $5 (or whatever).

    Problem solved (with no 1.4mb size restriction to boot.) Maybe it's not FREE, but you'd still have to buy diskettes if you wanted to use floppies. (Since you don't get them in the mail anymore from AOL. Well, I don't anyhow... they send CDs now.)

  • IBM's got the right idea. Apple's projecting within a few years, they'll be regularly shipping 2GhZ Macs - and I can only assume that Intel/AMD will have some barn burners of their own.

    The point is that pretty soon, chip speed will be an arbitrary number in most cases, with only the most insanely demanding consumer applications actually showing any performance differences from a 3.5 GhZ chip to a 4.2 GhZ chip. At that point, the only real reason to buy a computer will be to augment your home network or replace that crappy 800 MhZ computer you've had for the last few years :)

  • I guess some people can't tell satire when they read it...
  • The Only cover that anyone from slashdot would need for their laptop:

    In large, friendly letters, it says "Don't Panic!"

  • In the '50s, cars were very large, clunky, relatively expensive, and unreliable

    Actually, the analogy holds a lot better for operating systems than PCs (esp from you know who). And the competition for them is here...

    Even the most bland and grey PCs are built for functionality (I can't see any fins on my Celeron).

    /. is like a steer's horns, a point here, a point there and a lot of bull in between.
  • Graphics professionals generally don't get iMacs. We need big ass monitors, more expandability, and faster processors.

    We get the G3s and now, the G4s. In fact, I've got a G4 on order right now.

    Yeah, the colors are cool, but the silver G4s are also cool. (nb there's a silver iMac coming out rsn) For my personal case preferences though I'd want one of the following: A nice cherry or mahognony wood case (with lots of brass hardware, ornamentation, etc.) or a something reminisicent of a CM5. Gotta have blinkenlights. Lots of blinkenlights. Hook 'em up to MACAST's vu meter, or something.
  • you must be lucky to be able to run with out the case on.... I just built a machine that gave off so much RF noise I couldn't watch tv or listen to the radio with the case off...

    maybe that is a good thing after all.
  • I'm thinking a nice, bright Biohazard symbol on the front would do quite nicely.

    Speaking of tehcnology to print and dye, you've seen the buses that are completely encased in billboards? Simplified, those are simply really large decals. All we need is a pattern for those labels that we could apply onto the notebooks, and then anyone with a color inkjet and Gimp could have their own custom laptop.

    Somehow I can see Avery Laptop decal kits on the shelves already...

  • Funny, Henry Ford's line is almost exactly what came to my mind... I was wandering the Dell site, though (they offer colours two [dell.com]), and it had a bit more frightening twist. Any colour you want so long as it runs Winduhs, aka any choice you want as long as it's not an important one.

    I found the "We're thinking university logos" line kind of ironic - possibly even Freudian. I can guess the alleged university of Acadia [acadiau.ca] will be one of the first to jump on that. "Any colour you want, so long as it's blue and red and Mess$oft all over." Blech... Something wrong with the Tremclad Technique?

    How is it all this "today's technology" (ya right) has to rely on the tactics from the previous fin-de-siecle?

  • Now if they'd let you custom design them, that would be cool. You send them your image, and they paint it on, that would make me buy one for sure...

  • How long ago did Nokia start doing this?
    IBM's PC-110 palmtops had these color panels years ago.
  • lots of people do that with thier desk top cases,
    why not notebook?
  • You have no idea what you're talking about.

    It's as ridiculous as saying that Apple invented the windowing GUI (which, of course, they did not, therefore nobody else should ever come out with a windowing GUI.

    If Apple did it "years ago" and isn't doing it now, what the #$#*(& do they care if IBM does it with Thinkpads today? This isn't art class. This is business. There are no extra points for originality.

    The Apple Baking Soda Company comes out with a baking soda box that has a shaker built into the top. International Baking Soda (IBS) sees that this sells well and designs their own shaker for their own box. Does Apple BS Co. then have the right to say that IBS cannnot have a box with a shaker? or do they only have the right to say that IBS's box can't look so much like the Apple box that there is no "consumer confusion"?

    The answer, at least the LEGAL answer, is the latter.

    And in a couple of years everybody's going to forget that the Apple BS Co. was the "innovator" behind the built-in shaker. The consumer is simply going to expect that any baking soda they buy, except maybe the store brand, is going to have that built-in shaker.

    Apple may have done the very first laptop with translucent panels, but legally, big whoop. They didn't invent translucent panels. They didn't even invent translucent computers for Jesux's sake, they just came out with the first brand computer using the concept.
  • Though this article is old enough that no-one will see this post, I found the URL:

    http://www.pc.ibm.com/us/think pad/iseries/cover.html [ibm.com]

    its not as cool looking as one would think

  • Forgot a tag? Second brain-fart of the morning. Wake up, have some coffee or something. :)
  • Why not clear snap on covers, so we can either find some of our artsy friends to paint them, or so we can just print out stuff to put in under them (like um...some Apple PowerBook model from 2-3 years ago, which could conveniently hold 2 CDs in its snap-on cover)

  • by Suydam ( 881 ) on Friday October 01, 1999 @06:36AM (#1645162) Homepage
    These will be wildly successful. IBM has already re-established itself as a leader in laptops (from a mind-share standpoint). There is no way college kids won't flock to these things. Many colleges now make owning a laptop that you can bring to class a requirement (at least one large university in Michigan has already).

    I know that people who use computers as tools for word processing and email will think this is a great idea.

    Finally, isn't this hitting Apple where it hurts a little? I mean, some peole still buy Macs for the OS and the name....but an increasing number of people are buying IMacs (and probably IBOoks) because they look cool. This could be an interesting saga in the evolution of computers.

  • Oops, I must reply to myself.. that said " tag", i chose the wrong option "Plain Old Text".. my own brainfart.
  • OK.. I have to reply to myself AGAIN.. how the heck can i get this to print an html tag without interpreting it?
    Let's try this &lt/U&gt ...
  • Has anybody ever seen a vendor offer transparent cases? Lots of folks make their own, but I've never heard of one off-the-shelf like that.

    Dunno if I'd paint over it... having what appears to be a random collection of electronics under your arm or sitting on your desk can occasionally look neat. (I want internal parts that look like they're steam-powered, dammit. :-)

  • He didn't forget a tag.. #006666 is "the Slashdot color". And the story is about IBM's Colorful Notebooks. (:


  • by Anonymous Coward
    I thought that Apple had a patent on this, from the 1400 "bookcovers".
  • Found the model--

    The Powerbook 1400 had something that Apple refered to as the 'BookCover'. See the Apple TIL for more detail:

    PowerBook 1400 Series: Description [apple.com]
  • There's no doubt about it, folks. Someone at IBM knows what it takes to deliver a successful product.

    With computers becoming ever more a consumer product, and laptops often the choice platform, IBM has taken a page from other successful companies, such as Apple and Nokia--give the customer something that looks COOL!

    These machines are bound to be a success, given the quality of IBM's machines in addition to a nice-looking exterior.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    What will be interesting is to see if Apple will sue IBM over patent infringement. I am certain that I read a few articles about a year ago covering a patent Apple had registered for a portable computer that had removable color panels.

    Anyone know where that article is?

    sjohnsonAT@smart.net (remove AT to reply).
  • College kids are not idiots, believe me! I mean, of course, some of them are, but a vast majority will prefer a slightly cheaper black Dell to a neon-orange IBM. On the other hand, maybe 5% will be ready to spend several hundred bucks more - well, good for IBM...
    -- The word "woman" is not politically correct any longer.
  • Of course, Windows green is people.
  • Don't forget "John Deere" green as well... *snicker*

    What would be cool is if they(or someone) came out with the "Slashdot" commemorative laptop. One that had the slashdot green cover, emblazoned with the "/." on it. Only make 5-10k of these and have them all hand signed by CmdrTaco and Hemos!
    Ooo, collectible laptops...the next "beanie baby."

    I bet even Nitrozac would buy one of these.

    Is it Fawn with the "/. Me" T-shirt? She'd probably even be toting around on one of these.
    Of course, they'd only be REALLY valuable if they came with the Nitrozac@home screensaver. >;)

  • what are you talking about????
    usb is usb, a hundred bucks gets you a zip drive, which has for the most part replaced floppies in a lot of situations, included schools and colleges. and the ibook has built in dual mode ethernet....
    you by the way have no idea what is up w/ air port as well.... why would you need another usb mac? the air port hub has 10/100 ethernet and a 56k modem, usb has othing to do with it.... all you need is a cross over cable. geez, read the specs before you go flaming a product....
    and your really silly if you think 400 bucks is a lot of money for 11mbit wireless lans.....
  • Let's hope the trend continue so I could someday own a Sandbender[1].

    [1] Read Idoru by William Gibson. (Portable machine with sea-shell cover and other designs.)

  • There was a ThinkPad with a removable cover some years ago too. You could pop it off and then 'invert' the transparent screen for use with an overhead projector. Kinda cool, but probably not that practical in real life because of all the rigging necessary to hang the thing off the overhead.

    (Model number was 755AV or something.)
  • There is a company over in Japan [yu-plan.co.jp] that will paint your PowerBook to look like it is made out of wood. Just shows you that you don't have to wait around, for the portable manufacturer, to have a good looking portable.
  • I actually got bored with the basic black of my old Thinkpad 701CS (which I pretty much only use for checking my email while traveling) so I taped up all the orifaces, and took a can of rustoleum hammered metal finish spray paint - and now I have the only metallic 486 with a butterfly KB that I've ever seen. ;)
  • When will people inovate their own ideas. Apple did this years ago with the powerbook 1400.

    I guess if Apple has a good idea, nobody else is supposed to try it, ever?

    So GM comes out with a sports car and nobody else is ever, ever, supposed to make a sports car because GM did it first?
  • Couldn't you do that by having a "clear" cover which had a painting on the underside of the cover. And this painting (or film, actually, which would work better) would be of pistons, gears, and springs.

    Not sure how you'd simulate motion - maybe a "holographic" effect with different sight angles showing the pistons and gears at different positions.

    Could be kind of cool. If you do this, call it Industrial Seattle for me, ok?

  • You mean like the repaint of the VW Beetle that was portrayed in Vanity Fair? That was cool.

    I'd do it in the clan tartan, but it's got a lot of purple in it, and I'm not a fan of that.

    but love the day-glo option - would buy that.
  • That's a horrible metaphor.

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
  • Ummm... the G3/G4 have the logicboard (motherboard) on the door, so that when you fold it out, everthing is laid out before you. This is not the same thing as just making the case easy to open.

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
  • I did that with the Sony VAIO I have. All the panels on the damn thing annoyed me but without them it looked wrong, so I replaced the panels with blue tinted plastic and it looks damn cool now. I'm working on making a mold out of the plastic on the CPD-120 monitor so I can make that translucent too.
  • And while they do have ethernet cards, they aren't networked

    That's just odd. What's the point of having the cards? Furthermore, what's the point of having HTML classes without internet connectivity? You could bring your iBook to school and use the crossover cable to get files off it. Or get a USB floppy drive. Unnetworked machines are a dying breed.

    Somehow, the damn floppy has got to die. They're slow, unreliable (I've had dozens fail on me), and hold practically nothing. Anything that's small enough to fit on a floppy can be emailed or posted on a web/ftp site.

    We've been using floppies for, what, 15 years? The industry just gets stagnant on stuff like this. How did we evolve from 5 1/4" floppies anyway? The process needs to be repeated.

    - Scott
    Scott Stevenson
  • for way too many years your computer was a beige-turned-yellow flat sided box that looked really bulky and just not something you wanted to show anyone. They were bland because that was the style of the tyme, both socially (in the tech workplace at least) and functionally, the big boxes helped the chips not overheat. Now the social trend is to have an office that works for you but also has a sense of fashion, it impresses people. It's also possible now to stick processors in small boxes because they don't run quite as hot. Once you get to the point where the technology to build something isn't hindering you it's natural to explore with it. We saw computers turn black (I think Acer started with black PCs) so fit in with your living room decor, then IBM made their desktop look like some techno-art piece. Apple came along and changed everyone's view of the desktop with the iMac. The iMac was a complete reversal of desktop design, while you may scoff it's a natural cycle. When a technology is hard to produce and maintain it's designed to be extra serviceable and accessible but when you reach the point where it's maintenance is negligible and it's easy to produce you work on the visual design of it. Look for example at cars in this century. At first they were designed for ease of manufacture because they were difficult to manufacture but then the technology to manufacture them was improved and you begin to see a more artistic approach to them. Computers are now entering the artistic design phase, don't get pissed off at computer companies cuz you don't have to buy a coloured computer. The technology is getting to the point where speed is beginning to become irrelevant to all but power users since everything is so fast now, how much a difference do you notice in Applix or StarOffice running on a 600mhz Athlon and a 200mhz Pentium? In another couple years you'll start seeing super slim computers stuck everywhere in your house purring along with a 1Ghz processor, it'll run Quake 5 fine at 14400x10800 resolution on your 30" screen.
  • It would be nice if these kid-friendly laptops could also be wallet friendly, and Linux Compatibility is nice too. Meanwhile, I know, that when i go to Uni, i'll prolly be packing something from Linux Laptops Ltd. [linuxlaptops.com] and even they are a tad above my league, but they have the best prices for laptops that are guaranteed to run linux.

    BTW, what ever happened to VA Linux's Laptops, I swear they used to make them.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.patents.ibm.com/details?pn=US05870282__ Reconfigurable enclosure panel for a mobile computer
  • One of my main reasons for purchasing a ThinkPad was its sleek black finish. I remember drooling the first time I saw one - being taken in by the aura of power and respect that eminated from its cold, austere casing. I need a laptop that would be suitable for Darth Vader, not a roll of Life Savers. Sure, configurability and freedom of expression is important, but there's something to be said for tradition...
  • Will they still use those stupid WinModems? An important point for those of us who remain OS-agnostic.

    Right now I have a Thinkpad 600 (PII 266) and I'm very impressed. Great screen, good keyboard, easy to swap the HD, good battery life, decent built-in speakers, regular updates of BIOS & drivers, no problems with any OS I have tried, even response from tech support when it was needed - the only bad part is that modem.
  • I can just see it now. Kids smuggling in their parents' brightly colored ThinkPads into school.

    "What's that?" the teacher asks.
    "It's my new lunchbox."
    "Okay, put it away for now."
    Later, he's typing, getting answers for his math pop-quiz.
    "What are you doing?" asks the irritated teacher.
    "Just getting a snack."
    "You're not supposed to eat in class. Put it away... why does it sound like you are typing?"
    "Uh, that's the wrapper on my twinkie."

    Or something like that.
  • Actually you could just buy the snap on covers and repaint them in whatever way you want. This would avoid the problems of trying to repaint a laptop without messing it up and when you get bored with a paticular design you could make another.
  • Since Apple and IBM are togeather on the PowerPCs, I'll bet that IBM will slide some money under the table to Apple before Apple with sue a business partner.

    Although Paul Allen's company Ticketmaster did sue Paul Allen's company Microsoft over linking and banner ads and the like a few years ago.

    If these are plastic panels like the Nokia phones have (just got my 5170 yesterday and my Orange panel is getting here today) as opposed to sliding a panel in a sleave like the PB 1400s, does Nokia have the patent on that (I didn't read the Apple patent that was linked to above.)
  • Logic dictates that any computer made by IBM, no matterfor what market segment, must be big and blue. After all, they didn't get the name "Big Blue" for nothing, right?

    Making their computers small and in any number of different colors risks further undermining the "Big Blue" monicker, already in serious doubt since the introduction of the PC, a relatively small, black and beige (IIRC, but certainly not blue) computer.

    There is exactly one benefit in killing off the "Big Blue" name: its similarity to "Big Brother" may have scared off IBM's potential smaller clients.

    However, I think the risks to IBM's reputation far outweigh this nearly insignificant benefit. It therefore beehoves IBM to abandon this short-sighted strategy and focus on making what made it famous: big blue computers.
  • Although no one yet has pictures to show what the model actually looks like, as I understood it, it's much like the Apple PowerBook 1400, where it's not an entirely different colored case, but it's one removable part, which can add color to the case.

    I'm not sure why no one makes transparent computer cases right now, but I can make a few guesses --
    1. Going through airport security would be a bitch the first few months 'till they got a clue
    2. All plastics had different points of brittle failure, and they may not have a transparent/transluscent plastic that's strong enough for 'reasonable' portable abuse
    3. Assuming the above's not true, it may be be too expensive for them to mass produce them in the age of dirt-cheap computing

    And, as for the bit about painting your computer,
    the problem with painting over plastic is that you then have problems with the paint rubbing against things, and flaking off.

    With clear covers, you'd be able to paint the inside (which well, takes some practice, as you have to paint everything as a mirror image, and it has to be done detail-first, so it's at what will then the top-most layer)

    Some things, that don't take as much wear, can be painted without too much difficulty (I have a number of friends who have painted leather jackets, etc.), but I know I stack stuff on my portable, it gets bounced about, etc.

    The only real reason that I can see for not introducing clear covers is that if you can't specifically design your cover, you'd be forced to buy designs from other people, helping to pad someone else's wallet.
  • many people are more interested in how the machine looks that what it has inside. hahaha .. totally the opposite of me.. My case is almost always opened and the whole thing hold up together with duck tape.
  • Those of us with "Mc" in our last names might appreciate a custom cover with an authentic tartan pattern. (And how about authentic African tribal patterns while we're at it?) The technology to generate and print or dye this will have to evolve quite a bit, however. But hey, if you can dream it, you can do it, as they say...

    For the nonce, fluorescent (Day-Glo) colors would be nice -- maybe screamingly bright International Distress orange or hot pink, for example.

  • I'd assume a lot of you folks have easy-to-access cases for your 'puters, eh? Mine is a basic ATC unit with removable side panels. The rest of the case remains, if I so choose.
    So take those removable sides down to your fav hardware store (Hechingers going outta bidness even a better idea) and have them cut plexiglass to the same dimensions. Run home, drill out the holes, maybe a little sanding..slap,bang, wigwam...a see through case. It looks even cooler if you run a short string of blinkin/flashin Christmas lights through it!
    Course, I haven't motivated on this yet. HEY! I'm just the idea man...
    Or so my boss keeps tellin me.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Did you know how your car worked inside and out before purchasing it? Did you then compare that to the other available vehicles (in your price range) insides and such? Did the look of the vehicle have no effect on your consideration of which vehicle to purchase?

    Same for your TV, refrigerator, VCR, washing maching and dryer, etc.

    What the hell is wrong with trying to make something that people use often, see, takes up space where they work and/or live, etc. look visually pleasing to them? Perhaps you'd like a computer covered in poop, razor blades, and vomit...to show to others or prove to yourself how "hardcore" you are.
  • You suck. IBM can do whatever it feels, and it didn't get the name "Big Blue" because the computers are big and blue.

    IBM has over 300,000 employees worldwide, and I don't think one Thinkpad model is going to fuck up the reputation of a company over 80 years old...


    Other shit IBM does... [ibm.com]
  • what are you talking about? can you say price point? first of a g3 w/ dual mode ethernet and usb is obiously far beyond a mac +. you have to keep in mind this is a computer for your mom or little sister not for you. the whole point is the fact that it isnt a seperate monitor, its like bying a boom box instead of a componant stereo system, which is what most poeple do, because there are less cables and less frustration. givin that 32mb of ram is not enbough, but tons of resellers run offers that include free ram upgrades as large as 128megs....
    you all just love to bash apple cuz you know there boxes kick your boxes butt.....
  • The Optiplex G1 tower is extremely easy to get into. All you have to do is press a button on the front and the side cover pops off. Good idea provided its in the right environment. They even have it set up so that you can put a padlock or 'security cable' so you can lock it down.


    Peterson Elementary School [k12.ca.us]

  • When will people inovate their own ideas. Apple did this years ago with the powerbook 1400. And not only could you get different covers you could get a solor panel that would help you when it came to battery consumption.

    Next thing I know DELL will make easy to get into towers...
  • by generic-man ( 33649 ) on Friday October 01, 1999 @07:06AM (#1645215) Homepage Journal
    The interesting thing is that PCs have reached a point where most PCs are "Good Enough" and manufacturers need to get mindshare by doing something, anything special.
    I saw a talk recently where the speaker compared the computer industry of today to the automobile industry of the 1950's. In the '50s, cars were very large, clunky, relatively expensive, and unreliable, and they became cultural status symbols. However, the Japanese cars that would come out were small, reliable, and cheap -- they helped to redefine the entire automotive industry.

    Now look at computers today. Most people are unwilling to, or don't need to, spend a couple thousand dollars on a large, clunky, and unreliable box just to surf the Internet and do some word processing. At some point in the next ten to twenty years, one force (maybe Japanese, maybe not) will make computing light and reliable enough for everyone.

    That's the future of computing -- computers haven't gotten "Good Enough," they've just gotten more colorful and powerful. I'm waiting for IBM, or any company for that matter, to release a computer which (1) you don't need to boot; (2) accepts new software and hardware upgrades without question or incident, ever; and (3) has an operating system that the user never has to interact with directly.

    Many platforms have some degree of this level of usability -- many handheld systems, for example. However, I can only wonder when we'll see this level of simplicity everywhere, in every home and business system.
  • I really don't find this suprising, especially since just about every major magazine (even Time and such) talk about the iBook as if it were the second coming or something. IBM's idea is hardly original, yet I welcome it because the iBook just isn't practical in most situations. I'm not bashing it, it's a nice little gadget, but c'mon... no disk drive? If you want to transfer your files you have to spend upwards of $400 on an AirPort system AND already have another USB Macintosh. Hopefully IBM won't make the same mistake.
  • Not sure about a patent, but I found a mention [apple.com] that 'bookcover' is definately a registered trademark for Apple. (which well, if they went that far, they probably went to the trouble of patenting it, too.)

  • Yeah, the solar panel was the coolest of the inserts--

    http://til.info.apple.com/tech info.nsf/artnum/n20948 [apple.com]

    (I still did like the clear one, though.)
  • Being of the frugal sort, I'm not really excited about the designer computer trend. They tend to be more expensive and more proprietary. Expensive because the stylish cases cost more to make and they sell less of them, and proprietary because they like to do things like include motherboards and monitors in the same case, making them often difficult to upgrade, etc.

    -- Moondog
  • Well the strength issue should change now that apple's iBook is comming out. The translucent plastic on those is actually stronger than the normal plastic used, or so i have heard. Also rummors are that the new iMac will be transparent with only a tint of which ever color you choose. Sence the original iMac plastic is what is used on the iBook i believe, it stands to reason that future iBooks will also be transparent with a tint. So maby we will get a clear cased notebook in not to long....or least there is a little hope that we will.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard