beige rant (was Re: IBM 5150 with red case on ebay)

Swift Griggs swiftgriggs at
Fri May 13 16:24:20 CDT 2016

On Fri, 13 May 2016, Benjamin Huntsman wrote:>
> At first glance, it doesn't appear to be hand painted.  Anyone on here 
> know about such things?  Were other colors available?

I was so disgusted with IBM and other TLAs who I won't name for fear of 
being flame-blasted for the "beige orthodoxy". Most companies always acted 
like doing any industrial design or adding color would scare off their 
business customers. I guess soulless bean counters have to be surrounded 
by items just as boring and life-sucking as they are or they will 
spontaneously combust along with their checkbooks. The attitude is akin to 
the type of suit-wearers or HOA-lawn-preeners who want to *force* their 
thoughtless and wasteful conformity on everyone else. Hopefully, during 
the 80's punk rock and Iron Maiden nearly gave them a heart attack (at 
least there is that).

(Why yes, sir I did have a mohawk.)

In the 1980's and 1990's SGI was a bright shining exception and I love 
them for that early middle finger to the beige box priesthood. Apple/NeXT 
did a decent job, too. Once they became one and Jobs got his way, he seems 
to have set about claiming a significant space in the then-wilderness of 
PC industrial design. In the meantime, their stock went from @$30 a share 
in 98' into the stratosphere, splitting a few times along the way. Guess 
thinking about design wasn't such a bad idea.

In a way I'm glad I didn't learn much appreciation for beige box machines. 
My house is already full enough of "pretty" junk. Having ugly junk would 
just add insult to injury and possibly lead to homicide by my SO. It's all 
in the eye of the beholder, though. Also, nowadays you get machines in all 
kinds of colors, shapes, and sizes. The only trouble is that, no matter 
what color or size, they are opaque, undocumented, low-quality, and crass. 
Be careful what you wish for, I guess.

"Life is too short for beige boxes, b****y women, or bad beer." -Overheard 


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