Design Perspectives

Today would have been the 126th birthday of the seminal modernist architect, Mies van der Rohe. Although Mies is my favorite architect, celebrating his birth was not on my radar until I saw this morning's Google logo. Thanks for the reminder Google. I really like how they transformed their logo into an abstraction of 1956's Crown Hall at IIT. If you click on this link you can watch an interesting Google Doodle animation and learn more about Mies. Mies did not like the railings that were added to the porch and stairs As a designer, I really admire the work of Mies and how he took simplicity and ordered perfection to the highest level possible. He broke new ground with buildings that celebrated structure rather than hid it. The Wikipedia claims he called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He used rationale ideals to guide the creative process of architectural design. One of his most famous quotes is quite simply "God is in the details". I've never seen a building he designed that looks dated or out of step with my own design thinking. He was a true pioneer in the field of architecture. One of my design professors, Len Singer, was actually the last person to have graduated with a degree from IIT under the direction of Mies. Maybe that's where I discovered a passion for Mies and his work? The

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The ThinkPad X1 keyboard uses LED backlighting for illumination

The ThinkPad X1 keyboard uses LED backlighting for illumination

ThinkPad pioneered keyboard illumination when we introduced the iSeries way back in the year 2000.  It seems like it was just yesterday that I was showing the prototype to the ThinkPad general manger in our photo studio. Incidentally, it was about the size of a small coat closet. I wrote a blog once that described in detail the origin of the feature. For some reason, there are a lot of inaccurate stories floating around the internet about this innovation. The ThinkLight projects light on the keyboard from above. Who's that guy sleeping? With the introduction of the ThinkPad X1 also comes our first backlit keyboard. Using LED technology, the nomenclature eerily glows at two different brightness settings that are controlled by the user. Pressing the Fn key and space bar together makes it work. The space bar gives you a really nice dark-friendly target that can be executed with one hand if required. Light also spills out around the key edges to help define target boundaries. On-screen display icons for the three levels of keyboard backlighting The backlit illumination effect, however, is very different from our more traditional ThinkLight implementation. The ThinkLight creates an overall...

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A crown befitting the king of pointing

A crown befitting the king of pointing

I read an interesting  article written by Avran Piltch on the LAPTOP website called "Looking for the Nub: "Best and Worst Notebook Pointing Sticks".  The author compares ThinkPad, Toshiba, HP and Dell "nubs" and rank orders them based on pointing superiority. I love the question posed by Avran. " So whose stick sticks it to the others?"  No surprise, the ThinkPad TrackPoint was crowned the winner. They refered to it as the gold standard. Long live the king. David Hill

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Now that's a tablet !!!

Now that's a tablet !!!

Everyone is talking about tablets. Lately it seems everyone wants to talk about big ones, or at least rumors of one. I can't even begin to count the number of times I've read articles that Lenovo is, or is not, building a 23" version. At least it would never get lost between the sofa cushions. Rumors aside, I think this poses an interesting question about tablets. When is big, too big? This is one of my favorite quotes from a recent online article on this subject from InventorSpot.com. Hilarious. "It looks like Lenovo's out to develop a tablet that can figuratively and will literally be able to crush its competition." For the most part, people have considered tablets to be highly portable objects roughly the size of a small magazine. They are handled, carried and stowed in a way very similar to them. I almost always have a magazine or two in my backpack. What if they were far bigger? What would you use such a tablet for ? A drafting table substitute would certainly make me happy. How big would the AC adapter be for powering such a beast? It boggles the mind.  From a rather practicle perspective, where would you put it? Would it need to comply with the guidlines for carry on airline baggage? Currently the basic rule is that carry on...

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Lightest ThinkPad ever? The space shuttle launched today on what may be its final mission. It's hard to believe that the maiden flight took place way back in 1981. Coincidentally, it was the same year the first IBM personal computer was launched. A lot has certainly happened in the world since then not only in space exploration, but also computer technology.  The space program was, and continues to be, a source of pride for many people throughout the world. I for one, am very proud that our ThinkPad has been aboard for the Space Shuttle ride since 1993. The first ThinkPad in space was a rugged 750 that flew on the Endeavour during a mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. Mission accomplished. Qualifying for space travel is a very difficult task for people, but also the equipment they bring on board. NASA has an extensive battery of durability, g-force, and weightless environment tests that ThinkPad met with flying colors. I'm not surprised.  I wish my title was as cool as this Looks like the brand name of a fine Russian vodka Connected to our long relationship with NASA, I had the good fortune of meeting ...

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