A Memory Hole

I am a phlegmatic man. But once, just once, I want to wake up and invent a new design philosophy, and acronymize it so sublimely even a sixth-grader can instantly grasp its exultation of the human spirit:


I want to shout down from the rooftops — especially from the rooftop of what was once the largest computer vendor in the world — making sure every soul hears it, even the Proles:


I want to get on every telescreen to explain The Theory and Practice of MUSE Design Philosophy:


I want to show everyone how hard our team worked:


Then, right after a Two Minutes Hate, I want to take the stage, hold the fruits of our labor in my hand and let everyone soak in its glory:


Yes, there will be doubters. And there will be haters. But we will deal with them…in Room 101:


In the fullness of time, there will be learning, there will be understanding, and there will be acceptance. One unperson after another.

One bright cold day in September when the clocks strike thirteen, I will come back and reassure everyone that we do what we do for the greater good.


41 thoughts on “A Memory Hole

  1. We’re talking about an industry here that has ALWAYS marched in lockstep. They took their OS, and their marching orders, from Microsoft. Now that MS has lost its luster, it’s no surprise they’d look to the new PC leader, Apple, for direction. (They’d switch to selling Apple clones in a heartbeat if they were allowed to.) To expect anything else goes against the fact that has (almost) always been true: Beyond Apple and Microsoft, there are no leading lights in the PC business. (And Microsoft’s a dim bulb at best.) Linux is not a mover and shaker, Amiga is gone, Microsoft is sliding towards irrelevancy (more than ever, they simply look to Apple for direction). It all flows from Cupertino now.

  2. Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, HP.
    HP has lost its way.
    It is now a soulless company.

    Now, I don’t even like their printers… much less their clone PCs.

    It is so sad that it has come to this. To have so little creativity or inspiration or spirit inside that HP has to slavishly copy Apple.


  3. Re-crop the photo and it’s clear that the Apple Theft is only of the peripherals (and it’s blatant there – worse, they made them uglier).

    The machine itself looks just like the monitors HP’s been making since 2005 or so (eg the w2207).

    (The stand? It “copies Apple” in that it’s “more or less L shaped and made of aluminum”; it looks nothing like the stands the iMac’s been using for years, in any of the details.

    All straight lines [and straight sides, not tapered in towards the back] and it has ports in it?

    My iMacs never looked like that.)

  4. Wow, that video is so bad I was seriously wondering if it was a parody for the first couple minutes.

    It’s almost to the point where I’m embarrassed to pull out my old HP calculator in public. Unless someone is an engineer over 35, I don’t think they realize that HP used to be an innovative company that made class-leading products, which were elegant and lasted for decades.

  5. Nice and tasty as usual. If I remember right Stacy Wolff did defend the form as an expression of their design objectives, and mentioned “Apple does not have a monopoly on minimal” or something like that.

    Not sure if I agree with him or the design direction, but at least they are trying?

    • The problem is, it’s not minimal. They’ve still got the big plastic panels and weird air vents and extra junk around the bottom and edges. It takes the surface styling of the top of Apple’s laptops, without taking any of the substance.

      As the old quip goes, “the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good”. I wish they *were* truly trying, because something that was completely original at least has a chance of being good.

      Borrowing parts from someone else’s good design, without understanding why it’s good, always seems to lead to trouble. If you can’t understand why something is good, it’s usually best to go as far from it as possible. Imagine he wrote a symphony, and started with the first 8 notes of Beethoven’s 5th. I can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be awful. (In fact, I think Peter Schikele did just this, but he was trying to be bad!)

    • If he’s contending that he’s incredibly unimaginative since he’d be saying that Apple’s take on minimal is the only one possible. A good designer would be able to come up with their own interpretation. For starters, there are other materials than aluminum and its lookalikes.

  6. If you’re going to copy Apple, why not fix the stupid things Apple does for idiosyncratic reasons? I hate the too-small keyboard and would a full sized Bluetooth keyboard, yet they made it the same size, same trackpad etc. And I sure want to stroke my hand over that painted silver plastic (not).

  7. MuseD is the correct philosophy.

    M Manufacture
    U Ultrabooks
    S Someone
    E Else
    D Designed

    Silly HP, get it right.

  8. HP thought since mac people didn’t cry about
    Vizio all-in-one PC and Laptop.
    may be we will get a pass.
    SJ would have never sued HP for sentimental reasons
    as well as HP has some patents that are fundamental
    in smartphone and pc arena.

  9. In these difficult economic times, HP was obliged to examine every aspect of their business to evaluate what is core to their operations and what can be outsourced. They’ve made the difficult – but correct – decision to outsource design to Apple. I applaud them for their foresight and courage.

  10. From a design perspective, the use of the Snake image, especially for those who will see this ‘blog’ for the first and last time, does give one pause…

    • If you don’t understand the quote, the meaning is that a “Great artist” uses an idea, but evolves it so far forward that it stands as its own idea. Thus, the concept of “steal”, as the evolved idea is so far forward that everyone sees it as a new idea.

    • I’ll give a vivid illustration of what is meant by “great artists steal…”. It is subtle, hence widely…and sadly…misunderstood.

      Ludwig Van Beethoven composed his first two piano concerti with a Mozartian cloud hanging  over his head. How could it not !? Mozart had just passed away, leaving deep stylistic imprints upon the conversation a piano engages in with a fully instrumented orchestra. One simply could not escape the vortex created by Mozart’s winds of incorruptible music, …especially piano music.

      So…Beethoven ‘stole’ Mozart’s tempi, cadenzas, musical structures, …and made variations on piano music as it was meant to be composed, orchestrated, and played out within a ‘Classical period’ closing ceremony. It was subconsciously meant to render the un-perfectibility of a very finely attuned ending to a now bygone era.

      Beethoven’s third piano concerto, ‘The Emperor’, powered by a transcending…a noble larceny, engaged, full piano thrusters ahead, into the Romantic era… And so we, as a civilization, have merrily transitioned from God-mediated musical perfection, …to the emotional dictate of human interaction, …on a curtain-call iteration. In absentia.

      Beethoven stole the baton from the specter’s hand.

    • Georg Handel was once accused of stealing a melody from another composer, but he pointed out that his version was by far superior to the original.
      HP could not use that retort.


  11. A: Ape Apple at every turn
    P: Pretend you don’t
    P: Pay designers to say arty things
    L: Tell them to lie about A
    E: Expect that no one believes you

  12. They are so unimaginative, they can’t even use all nouns for their list. (Steve would have never put up with such non-parallelism.)

  13. He is holding something in his hand that reminds me of an Intel initiative referred to as “Ultra”-something that a little company named Intel “Mused” two years ago when the MacBook Air was handing Netbooks their shorts. It reminds me of an episode of The Partridge Family when Danny was dreaming up a new song in his sleep.

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