The history we lost
There are some things that I feel are intractably good in tech history; things that when I was a younger man I considered to have a high degree of craftsmanship and intuitive “niceness” to them.. Little things that perhaps you disagree with. But this is my love letter to them, and my appreciation for the creators.
Windows 2000 background #
This lovely background colour is what greeted you, warmly, to your newly installed PC. There is something very soothing about this particular background and that was later mirrored in Windows XP (albeit a little lighter and “fresher”) and Windows 10 (darker, more “mature”).
Since this is simply a colour you can bring this back in Windows 10 by setting your background colour to the hex value
Harddisk activity lights #
The first computer I had that forwent this was my Macbook Pro from 2011, and I lamented it at the time; but it’s a trend that has been adopted by basically every laptop manufacturer at this point. My favourite one was the thinkpad harddisk activity lights!
Please forgive the dust, I had to go get this from storage..
Sure, now we live in the age of SSD’s so it’s less important, but knowing that your machine is swapping and thus acting very sluggish was good.
(to a lesser extent I miss the grinding of harddisks from the 90’s, when you tell the PC to do something and you hear that churn.. glorious nostalgia!)
the blue colour of car dashboards #
Ok, this isn’t computers, but it fits the description of “information technology”:
This is a poor representation, I think computers can’t accurately represent the colour, but damn this colour just fills me with joy. Easy on the eyes, clear to read.
Minidisc players in general. #
Ok, this is a weird one. Because I know I’m a ~lot~ little bit influenced by The Matrix here. But I did have a minidisc player for a couple of years; and it had drawbacks compared to flash. But they got a lot of stuff really “right”. The devices themselves were very sturdy, with good weight and they universally had inline controls with an LCD backlit display!
The sound quality was great too.
Hey there’s that dashboard colour again!
There’s too much for me to even put here, the [fire effects] that let you paint the screen and ‘burn’ you closing application, the magic genie effect that had some extra ‘wobbles’ that you had to patch the binary to get rid of (so that it didn’t look too much like MacOS) and the cube virtual desktops.
With wobbly windows too, this thing was glorious!
^ you can click this, though the quality is atrocious.
I mean, this thing felt amazing to use.. absolutely gorgeous at the time, with live updating VU meters and big buttons to press on.. it really whipped the llamas ass.
As long as you avoided the really grotesque “head” skin.
Skeuomorphic design in iOS #
This is reason I’m writing this post in the first place, I hold genuinely strong, fond, memories of gazing on my brand new retina-display having iPhone 4s and seeing the crispiest most vibrant representations of digital denim and leather.
Every button and toggle feels like it would have been at home inside a luxury car, and the speed at which the OS rendered this screens (with no flickering or stuttering) made the phone feel like a true premium product. I genuinely consider the “flat” design that came later to be a huge UX downgrade since now you can barely tell what is a button and what isn’t.
Do you have anything that you really felt was great the first time you set eyes on it?