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The other day I was watching a later episode of The X-Files and was struck by a scene inside the FBI building. In it was a room filled with FBI grunts sitting at their desks. On every desk was a computer, and being shot around 1999, the computers all had CRT monitors. The computer took up nearly half the real estate on each desk! It was the old classic configuration: horizontal computer with big monitor on top, keyboard (and possibly mouse) in front. Huge. Absolutely huge. And that crap was state of the art in its day.

Of course, that's only in comparison with the norms of today. I'm not sure you can evenfind a horizontal computer any more. They're all towers! Or Mac Minis. And monitors are all LCD now. One cannot overstate the aesthetic difference those developments have made in offices worldwide. Desks once dominated by huge steel, glass and plastic behemoths are now graced with skinny screens and little keyboards and mice.

I still remember my first work computer: an off-brand 386 running MS-DOS 5.2. I used it for WordPerfect. Actually layed out whole training manuals with that rig. And yes, it took up at least one third of my desk. Now I see my dad's iMac with wireless keyboard & mouse and marvel and its simplicity and elegance.