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in a web of glass, pinned to the edges of vision

I blame your ass, William Gibson.

I'd forgotten how often we saw Magritte

mucha mosaic

I blame your ass, William Gibson.

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i love this show... (by punkr0ck3er)
So some years back, William Gibson brought an idea for a personal computer into my consciousness. I think it was in Idoru, though it may have been Virtual Light field narrowed by blindlyinnocent: it was Idoru.
The idea was manufactured by a fictive commune in Oregon called the Sandbenders. They produced, basically, laptop chassis and keyboards out of aesthetically-pleasing materials. brushed-steel keys. Wood cases. The thought that they had was that while the hardware in the box is likely to change over and over and over again in your lifespan, the way you talk to it- the I/O hardware- isn't going to change terribly much. So why not buy a laptop case that's made out of burlwood with a silicate overcoat to keep it from scuffing? Why not spend a few grand on the damn thing? You'll only buy one in your whole life. Make it a pleasing piece of hardware to deal with just by dint of how it's manufactured and what it's made of and so on and so forth.
What I like about this idea is- you have a computer that is personal, for the rest of your life. It's always obviously Your Computer. It's never someone else's. I also like the idea that one could (for instance) have the keys made of turquoise if one liked the color, and have the body of it made of a sandstone veneer. You could have it made out of maple with hammered bronze keys in a very arts-and-crafts style, if that appealed more. One could make it look exactly like one wanted his/her computer to look.

I'd blow a few grand on a handcrafted computer case if I could rest assured that it'd be ventable appropriately to whatever heat the chipsets to come will put out- if I could be certain motherboards weren't going to stop fitting into it. I even know roughly what I'd want it to look like- I'd want to make it in a 30s cathedral-style tabletop wireless box.

If the Sandbenders were around today, they'd probably have come up with an iPod mod, and it would probably look something like this.

I so fucking covet this thing.

link gaffled from boingboing.net
  • http://www.exoticwoodcrafts.com/

    They rock.

    • very tempting; given that the desk is this gorgeous faux maple laminate (good enough faux that my mother refused to believe it was a laminate rather than actual wood), I've been feeling guilty about putting the ugly-ass case I have on it.
      Hmmmn indeed.
  • idoru
  • Oh yes. I would love to have a handcrafted computer case. It would be all pink and silver and black and no-one else in the world would ever claim it, but *I*? would be happy.
    • I think I might like a keyboard that was carved from a big slab of malachite, myself.
      • A malachite keyboard would be a thing of beauty.

        I'd vote for onyx keys inlaid with mother-of-pearl, but maybe that's my inner goth speaking. ;)
  • http://holzkontor.us/index.php

    When somebody makes an ergonomic keyboard like this... hmm.
  • I'm totally, utterly there. I want the Sandbenders style case.

    After reading Idoru</i> I debated making a case for my computer, but didn't. I figured form factors would shift and I'd cry myself to sleep at night with all that wasted effort.
    • And that is exactly why I'd never spend that kind of money on a case that would be "the last one I ever had to buy." Imagine someone spending a grand in 1980 on a beautifully cutomized case for their satellite phone. In 10 years, popular portable devices could make our laptops seem just as clunky.
      • it's possible- I'm banking on there being a smallest-desireable-size, though- just as a celphone hasn't gotten any smaller than a packet of smokes in the last 7 years, despite the fact that they can, in fact, make them smaller than your index and middle finger put together. Personally, I frigging hate hiptop keyboards, and would pay good money to avoid using them.
  • On a same-only-different note, this guy hacks ancient videogames down to portable format and installs them in retro woodgrain cases. Here's his first effort on an Atari 2600
  • Hi; I've wandered over via feyandstrange's friends' page.

    Have you seen what people are doing with the mini itx form factor? Designs from the sublime to the ridiculous, each a very personal computer. I very much like this and would greatly enjoy an Edwardian-era inspired (English or Stickley Arts & Crafts / Art Nouveau)laptop. A sucker for the steampunkish, I am.

    My 6-year old machine is about to die and is not upgradable (I knew that at the time of purchase; it was an incredibly cheap factory refurb I purchased through my sister, who worked for a big box office supply store). This site is informing my future builds. A US supplier I'm considering purchasing components from is damnsmalllinux.org -- if my geekery is strong enough and/or I can get a little to a lot of help from my friendsnrelations, I hope to make what I want at a price comparable to what I'd spend on a 'conventional' barebones system.
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