Wednesday, July 23, 2008

PCs are ugly.

Of course everybody knows this. But, after spending an hour or so working with the IBM Thinkpad laptop my employer has graciously provided for my telecommuting, I'm so happy to be back on my Mac. From an aesthetic perspective, everything about the IBM, and every other PC laptop or desktop I've used over the years, falls between mediocre and offensive.

It starts with the dinky little stickers they slap on the machines (crooked). Then you notice the cheap construction and flimsy components. Then it's the trackpad. The trackpads on my Mac laptops have a nice-sized touch area a single clickbar unobtrusively incorporated into the design. The PC's trackpad is much smaller due their decision to surround it with not 1, not 2, not 3, not 4, but 5 buttons of various sizes and unknown functionality. Then you notice the red dot between the G and H keys. This is, or should be, a vestigial organ from the PC's pre-trackpad days, but it remains in adherence to the PC designer's policy (first codified by Microsoft) that many poorly designed and implemented options are better than a single well-designed and implemented one.

I could go on. But why dwell on the negatives? It works. And it's free. And I'm glad to have it. And every time I use it, it serves as a reminder of what Plato wrote: Χαλεπὰ τὰ καλά, beauty is difficult. And that life for a PC industrial designer must be easy.

And that Macs are insanely great.

No comments: