Alex Rowe


My Portable Computing Setup is Strangely Monochrome

Do you remember colors?

So I’m sitting here, doing some writing at the coffee shop like I do every day. I’ve got my Macbook. My portable headphone amp. My headphones.

And I look down and realize they’re all silver, black, and white.

Like, that photo would look nearly the same if I drained all of the color information out of it. Let’s try it.

The warm hue of the nearby sunlight is gone, and the colors on the youtube page I was looking at are gone, of course.

But my technology stuff looks exactly the same.

In a world full of RGB lights, D-brand skins, and style headphones available in every color you can think of…how did I get here? Why have I personally rebelled against colors? And why have so many other people?

HyperX Cloud Headphones: Black, white, and silver edition. (Actually the CloudX, but these colors were once again unchanged by the removal of the color info from the photo)

Caring about the appearance of your gear is a weird slippery slope. Once you buy one thing you like the look of, it’s easier to continue to get stuff that then matches that thing.

I really like the way the 12-inch Macbook looks. It’s probably my favorite-looking computer of all time. Because I’m not cool enough to pull off the Rose Gold or Gold colors, I got the Silver one.

Plus, that way, more accessories from non-Apple companies would actually match my computer.

It seems like Black has become the default base color for everything tech. While that’s better than the classic computer-beige of the nineties, it’s a little bit weird in a world where anything can easily be one of 16.8 million different colors.

I should probably have a whole rainbow of computer products, but I almost always gravitate towards the black or silver option. I’m already too far down this road to escape it, I guess?

The one recent exception was the blue camo version of the Logitech G433…but only because it came with an extra free accessory bag. How crazy is that? I only bought something with a fun color because it came with a free bag.

And I’m not even using those headphones to write right now.

I can see three other people with laptops here at the cafe. Two of them have black Windows laptops, and one has a silver Macbook air inside a matching grey portable folio case thing.

Wouldn’t it be so much cooler if we all had vibrant, neon-colored laptops instead? Or laptops with slick glossy car paint finishes? Or something?

In this technological world that centers more and more every day around self-expression and online creativity, most of the devices we use to do all that creating are clad in relatively lifeless tones.

I’m not saying it’s bad to like these colors. I’m actually way into how my monochrome setup looks. It has a film noir quality to it.

So I acknowledge that steely coolness is a factor.

It’s just interesting that, even in the mainstream tech market, these shades became the norm. People got so excited about the Jet Black iPhone, and black is consistently the best-selling color of numerous different tech products.

Heck, I excitedly bought the limited edition triple-black Bose QC25 headphones when those came out. My home computer case is gray and black.

Do we not actually want to stand out? Are we all too far down the road for this to ever change? Or is the general allure of the perceived coolness of these metallic tones just too powerful to overcome?

I don’t have the answers to any of this. But I know that it’s worked for me, over and over again, for whatever reason.

Please click the heart if you liked this rambling thing! Thanks for spending a little of your time with my thoughts.

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