Design Classic Design

Sooner or later it happens to all good ThinkPads. The performance curve starts to lag, some new highly desirable feature is introduced, the newer ones are thinner/lighter, and before you know it, the "new computer bug" bites you. Typically, people like to discuss the intimate details of what new ThinkPad to buy. The purchase decision often takes months of research and in depth analysis. Oddly enough, we rarely discuss what to do with the old one. We usually become very attached to them, a bit like a trusted and time tested friend. I personally have a stack at home of nearly every ThinkPad I have ever used. The Hill archive looks like a neatly stacked cord of all black firewood. Most of them still boot up. I could tell you about each machine's unique personality, where they have been, and even their secret quirks. Following the BusinessWeek article, I received a great letter from a ThinkPad owner and fellow Oklahoman that felt compelled to share with me the story of his vintage ThinkPad 510C. This was an early example of the subnote class of ThinkPad. He wrote a touching story articulating his love for the machine he purchased in 1994 and how he could not bear to throw it away. So what did he do? He sent it to me via FedEx . It arrived neatly wrapped including all the original manuals, floppy disks, cables, and all the accessories. It looks almost new with nary a scratch...

Continue reading “End of the Trail”

Last week Richard Sapper and Tomoyuki Takahashi were in Raleigh working on the next generation ThinkPad design strategy with my team. This is exactly how Kodachi was born. We spent days reviewing highly detailed concept models carried through customs by Tom, sharing ideas, making quick study models, and debating next steps. The team never ceases to amaze me with their quantity of design models and fresh ideas. It's rare that a designer can take time to glance in the rear view mirror. The view always seems more compelling when imagining the future, but Kodachi is so significant that we had to celebrate the milestone. We took some time away from the packed agenda to create a short film with Sapper sharing his thoughts on design and the X300. I thought you would enjoy seeing it on the day of the official product announcement. Cheers!   David Hill

Continue reading “Kodachi Announces: Richard Sapper, Design, and Teddy Bears”

Ever since the introduction of our new ThinkStation line of workstations I've seen lots of commentary about handles on computer towers. Just to set the record straight we have had handles on towers from day one. The first tower ever designed by IBM (PS/2 Model 80) had a folding handle to make moving it around easier. The PS/1 tower designed by Richard Sapper in the early 90's had a clever handle that was integral to the front bezel. The new handle on the ThinkStation products is very similar in appearance and utility to the PS/1 version. For rack mounting the ThinkStation handles are easily removed. PS/1 Sapper design model circa 1992 The comments about us copying the handle created by the "fruit" company are just plain wrong. But enough about that. What I'm interested in is the true value that a handle provides. I think it is very useful, I would love to get your thoughts on this topic. David Hill

Continue reading “Get a Grip”

Okay so maybe this one doesn't qualify as a classic based on time in market but I can't help but include it in my list of favorite things. Being a motorcycle buff who likes to spin wrenches, my first exposure to this product brought a instant smile to my face. Why didn't I think of this! For years the mechanics trick has been to apply a dab of contact cement or even spit to the tip of your finger to hold small nuts in place for tightening. Unfortunately even these tricks don't always work. The use of a magnet embedded in the tip of a finger glove is pure brilliance. There are lots of creative ways to use magnets to solve design problems. This is the kind of design that intrigues me; design that solves problems in new ways. Great holiday gift for the mechanically inclined. Buy yours here. David Hill

Continue reading “Design Classics: Magnetic Finger”

Even a object as simple as a pickle fork can benefit from innovative thinking and design. I first discovered this wonder while going through a box of family heirlooms . I love this thing. Dig deep into the pickle jar ( I use mine for olives) and spear your favorite. Once over your target, gently squeeze the release mechanism and the pickle effortlessly slides off the tines. The motion is similar to that for using a hypodermic needle, a bit like a plunger. How many times have you struggled to shake loose that pesky pickle only to be embarassed when it falls to the floor? The entertainment factor alone is worth the price.  Buy yours here for the low price of $7.99 David Hill

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