What tech objects do you find aesthetically pleasing?

Circuit boards are lovely. Tiny cities of silver and gold and green.

And cassette tapes are a favorite of mine. They come in so many colors, they’re just the right size to hold, and transparent ones are especially beautiful because you can see how everything is arranged inside. Pretty little pockets of geometry. Shapes within shapes, working together to make music.

4 Likes

Another vote for circuit boards!

I loved old school Japanese flip phones. :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
Sleek designs with no awkward antennas or weird asymmetrical bumps. Custom kaomoji and emoji out the gate. :meow_heart1:


My last flip phone had half of the outside cover as a mirror, which I found really useful lol. The screen swiveled and you could watch TV on it.

2 Likes

iMac G5 is the cutest machine to ever exist, and I’d buy it for that alone.

SGI Indigo, on the other hand, is really badass. I’m not sure if I’d buy it, though, considering they’re still ridiculously expensive 30 years later.

1 Like

For me, there’s something about the 'clear electronics" fad of the 90s and early 2000s that I love. For example, I have a Ice Blue Nintendo 64 like the one below:

Besides that, I also love the clear iMacs and iBooks of that era, and I’d love to have one of each one day!


s-l500

2 Likes

This fad rules! I absolutely loved my green, clear Tamagotchi when I was younger. My Dad got it for me late one night after weeks of begging and somehow he nailed it. Looked like this:

I ended up getting a new one about a year ago, a recreation of the original ones I guess, but in a different shell (and it isn’t clear), since my OG one is somewhere in a box at my parents’ place overseas. Although the incessant beeping during the baby and toddler phases was immediately familiar and nostalgic (certainly not annoying :raised_eyebrow:), it didn’t hit quite like it did 25 years ago. something something real life responsibilities blah blah blah

1 Like

This era of Macs is really excellent. I love the iMac G4 lamp design and the PowerMac Cube

2 Likes

Ahh but what about this guy? Totally cursed to use but definitely gives me a Tide-Pod-like desire to put it in my mouth.
puckmouse-3804521045

4 Likes

It’s kinda weird but I really like early computers that were made in the early 80s like the first IBM personal computer and even the IBM jr that was released 2 years later.

I know they’re considered “ugly” and bulky by most consumer standards, but there’s an odd charm to them that I can’t really explain. They somehow look timeless and retro at the same time yet alien. The way they’re designed looks like it could be used for a sci-fi spacecraft.

2 Likes

I’m a big fan of Braun and Dieter Rams. One of many, I’m sure.

I love the thoughtfulness and philosophy that went into their designs. There’s just something very satisfying about beauty through function.

image source

4 Likes

Ohhh great thread - A second vote for clear electronics! I’m a sucker for them even today. I got gifted that blue iMac in the above post!

Current Macs have the best resolution and displays. I love a crisp font and images native to my desktop. I had a 5K iMac at work and home many years ago and loved it to death. Currently love my Macbook Pro because of the screen and keys.

Mechanical keyboards are a joy. Good smooth PBT caps are a delight. Good buttons on my fight stick are great. I don’t want anything with seams.

The last few years I’ve been playing with older electro-mechanical devices. That started because we’ve had a jukebox knocking around the family for years, I eventually got hold of it and managed to learn enough to get it working for the first time in over 30 years.

Then I learned of some strange contraption called a PhonoVue that plays a selection of short 8mm film loops, and that led to an interest in loop projectors.

Watching this stuff do their thing is fascinating. It’s nearly all micro-switches and relays pushing pins to open or close other circuits.

Of course I put it all on the web - https://brisray.com/house/jukebox.htm

3 Likes

One aesthetic that I’ve found written about (at least 3 times!) around the Personal Web is the love for the “Naked Smartphone”.

Example: Naked iPhone.

I too clean my smartphone, and so take it out of its case, and admire it. But I’ve seen many go so far as to go case-less. And, with all due respect Mr(s). Money Bags, that’s just blasphemy! But, yea, I DO think they look (and feel!) nice.

Personally, I think tech peaked when it was nice and chunky. Chunky TVs, chunky telephones, and especially chunky computers. I understand that they made 'em thinner in order for more tech to fit and function in it and to make it less of a workout to carry around, but you gotta admit there’s somethin just so comfy about 80s and 90s tech.
image

1 Like

They’re like big solid dependable friends.

There is a very specific generation of Apple Powerbook that I quite like. The Powerbook G3 model “Pismo”

Apple really nailed the professional business laptop look in the late 90s and managed to keep nice curves and lines at the same time, something PC counterparts really lacked. What is really interesting for this laptop is that unlike Apple’s next generation of laptops, and most of their computers afterwords, this system is quite serviceable. Lifting the keyboard gives you access to the HDD, CPU, and RAM, as well as adding an optional Wireless card. In addition. There are two hotswap bays, one on each side of the laptop. The computer was capable of using two batteries for extra battery life for road warriors. This design would go away with the introduction of the PowerBook G4, but that wouldn’t stop clever companies from figuring out how to make a G4 CPU for this model of PowerBook!

To sum it up, I am drawn to this laptop because I feel that neither form nor function were sacrificed with it. Something that I enjoy seeing in a product.

1 Like

Realistic is/was a brand of home audio and video products from Radio Shack. I think it’s discontinued now. The product lines from the late '70s and early '80s are the most interesting to me. The design is a bit boring and utilitarian, mostly black boxes with silver accents. It’s probably nostalgia more than anything else, but I do find that aesthetically pleasing. :)

Here’s my cassette player from that time:

waugh this is suuuuuuuuch a good thread. i LOVE all these old chunky computers and machines…

Not quite the same genre of technology as you’ve all posted but I’m a sucker for arcade machines, even the really ‘ugly’ and obnoxious ones lol.

the neon… the big chunky cabinet designs… the bright colors… the over the top branding… its beautiful

1 Like

I love physical controls:

The steel battalion controller is my happy place.

The custom controllers you can make for Objects in Space are radical too:

And going off book and not talking about games for once I love synthesizers:

Modular:

Standalone:

image

They’re sooooo goooooood I just wanna touch 'em.

4 Likes

I have a G4 iMac, but without the cute little speakers. I had replaced the hard drive with a SSD, maxed out the RAM, and installed NetBSD on it. My wife and I use it as a shared UNIX system, sending each other little notes.

2 Likes

image
These Colecovision controllers. Look at those bright colored buttons for my fingers on the grip… plus a number pad AND a joystick AND a scroller. I think I love it because the handfeel on it was soooooo good and the colors really pop.