I've just received a new work laptop and what a monstrosity it is! There was a time when ThinkPads were actually quite sexy as far as laptops go but this model (a T400 if you're interested) is a complete abomination of a thing. It's not only square and clunky feeling but for some mysterious reason the designers have made the battery stick out of the back like some large cancerous growth. Why, if Apple can design a laptop with a supposed 6 hour battery life where the battery is hidden completely inside the case do Lenovo designers have to create something that has the battery hanging out the back and appear to offer no more life?
What's all this got do do with the zen of architecture you might ask? I've been reading the latest book by Garr Reynolds, Presentationzen Design where Garr suggests we should take inspiration for good design from the products we see around us all day. The ThinkPad would seem to be a good design antipattern to me. Of course, as Hugh MacLeod says "there's no correlation between creativity and equipment ownership" and "a fancy tool just gives a second-rater one more pillar to hide behind." That said, I feel sure that using a tool that is both good to look and is well designed makes for an all round better experience that must aid in the flow of the creative juices. If you don't have the ideas in the first place then the best tool in the world won't help you create them but if you do have something to say what would you rather write with, the free pen from the hotel room or the Mont Blanc you got for Christmas?