Design Classics

These days I find myself, as a consumer, overwhelmed by choice more than ever. While choice can be a good thing, there actually is the popular notion, that too much of it can also be bad and make you miserable. Who knew. But come to think of it, too often a good idea or design gets buried so far deep under a pile of cheap rubbish, that it becomes harder and harder to find what you actually need.

I always knew from an early age, that there was such a thing as good or bad design. I probably learned that from my parents early on, who appreciate lasting things made from finer materials. Especially my Dad put great value in handcrafted items that showed that the person that designed and build it knew what they were doing, and did so with great pride.

When I was a kid, I rather wore a pair of more expensive leather shoes that were comfortable and made to last. Through my Dad, who took apart and repaired watches by teaching himself, I learned that a Swiss made watch is the ONLY watch you should ever buy. Forget cheap fashion bling bling.

“If you buy cheap, you buy twice”.

As a young student with hardly any money left at the end of the month, I forgot about these ideals and bought cheap shoes for work that I hated and that made my feet hurt. I thought I was saving money, when in fact I was wasting it on rubbish goods. Of course, I like an inexpensive bargain just as the next person, but if the purchase makes me miserable in the long run, I’ve achieved nothing.

So these days, when I think about buying something, the first thing I do is research. Online. Forget the folks in shops, they know nothing about the products they are selling. But most of all, they nothing about you. But you do. Wanting quality and style isn’t impossible. There is that well-designed option, that won’t break the bank (not looking at you, you elusive Hermès Kelly Bag) and is somewhat future proof.

“Energy is never lost.”

I guess, I really love researching things, but my other pet peeve is waste, or wasting things. Resources have always been and always will be humanity’s most valuable goods, which is why I up-cycle what I can. Even Bonne Mamam jam jars, because they are so well made, they last a life time. To me they are already a design classic.


But what is a Design Classic?
Design Classics A-Z © 2015 – 67 Inc Limited

Wikipedia explains it as follows:

A design classic is an industrially manufactured object with timeless aesthetic value. It serves as a standard of its kind and remains up to date regardless of the year of its design. Whether a particular object is a design classic might often be debatable and the term is sometimes abused, but there exists a body of acknowledged classics of product designs from the 19th and 20th century. For an object to become a design classic requires time, and whatever lasting impact the design has had on society…

Designer Patrick Taylor compiled his own list of acknowledged classic designs that only lists 25 things, I wonder why not more.

  • Fender Stratocaster
  • Parker Duofold Pen – While I own several fountain/pens from Parker, Sheaffer and Mont Blanc, my favorite remains the rather inexpensive Parker Jotter ballpoint pen with its Parker ink cartridge. The best wiring tool I have ever used.
  • Staunton Chess Pieces
  • 1933 London Underground Map
  • Swiss Army Knife – I was given a black one as a present and it truly is the best pocket tool.
  • Duralex Picardie Glass – When I was still in school I bought two tall Duralex glasses not knowing anything about them, but somehow felt they were great and made to last. Some 20 odd years later they still exist and still look as good as new. Reason enough to get a set of smaller ones for my mother this Xmas. They are stylish, but also tough enough for those clumsy elderly folks ;)
  • Levi 501 Denim Jeans – Meh.
  • Hasselblad 500 Camera- I collect all sorts of vintage cameras, so I’d want one too.
  • Star Class Racing Yacht – On my list. But I’d be happy with just any decent boat or yacht.
  • Supermarine Spitfire – As a kid I had these styrofoam toy planes, one was a spitfire.
  • Vespa Scooter – rather have that Triumph below.
  • Game Monopoly – My best friend and I as kids designed our own version of Monopoly. That game can easily last days. Fun that never ends.
  • Aga Cooker – If I had the room for a range cooker I would have one.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300SL
  • Thonet Bentwood Chair – Personally, I find them quite ugly, as I don’t like the Vienna coffee house look.
  • Telephone Type 300 – I have an old bakelite telephone in beige in the basement. Back when the landlines were analogue we did actually use it, but the bell is so painfully loud it is only useful when you maybe have a big mansion and need to hear it in the west wing.
  • Underwood No.5 Typewriter – My Dad collected old typewriters for a bit and he will gladly tell you the story of how such an old machine nearly killed me, his only daughter, as a toddler, because I was curious and adventurous and though the machine was stored high out of a toddler’s reach I climbed and I reached and it toppled over and following gravity, fell down and landed just behind my back, apparently. Legend has it, I even wrote with that thing for a bit when I was older and my Dad got rid of it later, sadly.
  • Routemaster Bus – Scary at first, I tell you.
  • Triumph Bonneville – oh yes!
  • Rolex Oyster Perpetua – Sorry, I am an Omega kinda Gal.
  • Willys Jeep
  • Browning M1911
  • Anglepoise Lamp – Best type of desk lamps there is.
  • Linn Sondek LP12 Turntable
  • Mason Cash Mixing Bowl – I knew they existed but paid no attention to them until I searched for a pudding basin this year for making Xmas pudding (hmmmm, pudding). They aren’t awfully expensive but not cheap either and there really is no other option, they are the best bowls.

Other sources, i.e. design museums or books list products as well as brands or logos. Most German compilations seem to mainly/only concentrate on furniture design classics, like there is no other type of product design, while the red dot award winners’ catalog might list some future classics.

So, as I already appreciate some of the aforementioned items, it had me thinking. What would my own personally acknowledged list of design classics contain?


Design Classics acknowledged by

I guess, some items are rather iconic or just smart, but who knows, maybe over time they do also become true classics.

So here goes (by no means a complete list):

  • Parker Ballpoint Pen “Jotter”
  • Caran d’Ache #849
  • Lamy Fountain Pen
  • Bose SoundLink Mini
  • Kikkerland Tea Holder Fishermen
  • Filofax Personal Size Planner
  • Ball Mason Jar
  • Bonne Mamam Jar
  • Vornado “Zippi”
  • Smythson Letterpress Personalized Stationary
  • Moo Business Cards
  • Hermes “Kelly Bag”
  • Vans Sk8-Hi
  • Chukka Boots
  • The Millennium Falcon
  • Cherry Keyboard
  • Warpad Mousepad
  • Gigaset A400
  • Bialetti French Press
  • Bosch MoveOn Vaccum
  • Bosch AeroTwin Wiper Blades
  • Renuwell Furniture Wax
  • WMF Nutella Knife
  • Japanese Tree Saw
  • Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
  • Kärcher Window Cleaner WV2
  • Geschäftszeit Toilet Seat “Chillout”
  • Roller Ball Shower Curtain Hooks
  • Wacom Tablets
  • Sony Waterproof Walkman
  • Samsung Galaxy S4
  • Manomama Carrier Bag “DM”

…to be updated.



Windows 10 runs just fine on HP Mini Netbook with Atom N455 and Intel Media Accelerator 3150

It felt like it took forever to finally get here.



As I am not ready to upgrade my main machine to Windows 10 just yet (quite happy with Win 7, so why fix what isn’t broken), I wanted to use my old HP Mini Netbook with its tiny 10″ screen as a guinea pig.

When I bought it new it came with Windows 7 Starter which was awful. Since then I am looking for a better, smaller, lightweight OS. Found nothing. Tried Linux. Didn’t like it that much.

So I installed Windows 8.

Yes, 8. On a tiny Atom processor with just 1GB ram. All signs posted to “NO! It won’t work! Don’t do it or the Universe will implode!”. Even HP isn’t officially supporting it, but lo and behold, I tried and it worked!

Windows 8 ran okay, but felt quite heavy and sluggish and of course apps didn’t work on the small screen because Microsoft didn’t support the resolution, but that was okay, didn’t need that. And if I did there was a hack for that.

Then came the update to Win 8.1. Still worked against all odds and when I finally reserved the upgrade to Windows 10 the pre-check for the minimum requirements came back green. You are good to go. Or so I thought…

I was ready to go.

But Windows update was not.

First it did nothing. Then I tried the work around I posted previously and it started the update process. But then it kept giving me error messages because my Intel Media Accelerator 3150 is not compatible and that Intel has not yet said when or if it ever would be. What? Why?

Googled the web, forums and even asked Intel via Twitter if they’re working on a solution. Computer says no. No updates planned for old rubbish Atoms. Argh!

Someone suggested the fault lies with Microsoft and that their database isn’t listing my thing. Someones else suggested to de-install the display driver and use the generic Windows one. Good idea.

Except, that it didn’t work.

The problem is that silly Windows update. It HAS to be set to automatic or everything comes to a halt. And when you do set it to automatic updates, it re-installs the dreaded Win 8.1 Intel driver that’s giving me the error message in the first place (weird that Intel only lists drivers up to Win 7, really weird.)

At this point it all feels like a Mexican standoff and I am caught in the middle of it. Intel isn’t responsible. Microsoft has drivers that even Intel doesn’t seem to have, but doesn’t like them even though it keeps reinstalling them. Microsoft of course, also has no solution listed on its pages. It is just weird. Without really understanding this silly problem it is quite difficult to figure out a solution or know who to ask. Or what to ask for.

Give up? No, never.

So what did I do to finally get the upgrade to install on this impossible machine?

As I was wondering where to look for a solution I was thinking that there has to be some kind of ISO of Windows 10 that can be used to install the darn thing without using the update thing.

Ironically enough, Microsoft provides exactly this here. It says “Use the media creation tool to download Windows”. But no where was I made aware of this. Why did the windows upgrade pop up window not just suggest I try this if upgrading keeps stubbornly failing?

What’s even more confusing is the following paragraph on the above website:

If you will be installing the operating system for the first time, you will need your Windows product key (xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx-xxxxx). For more information about product keys and when they are required, visit the FAQ page.

No. You don’t. I ignored that and downloaded the installer just to see what would happen and eventually it asked me if I wanted to a) create an install media on a 4GB flash drive or b) install now. I chose door B. Install. NOW! Now. Now. Now.

I really clicked it. It really worked.

It downloaded all night and installed all night.

It restarted in the morning and…it works! Beautifully.

Not ONCE did it complain about the media accelerator not being good enough. It is still there by the way. And it must be compatible if it works.

So Intel, HP and Microsoft all told me that Windows 10 will not work on my old Netbook and that I should maybe consider buying a new machine.

But that is not the point. I will buy a new laptop when I need it, not because I am forced to. Why give up on a perfectly fine little computer just because someone else’s communication system is broken.

In the end it was really simple, but it felt like the whole process was made unnecessarily difficult. And I imagine that most people would have given up half way, tossing their Netbook out the window like an old Frisbee at the first sign of failure accepting the inevitable and upgrading not their soft- but their hardware.

What I don’t understand though, Microsoft wants everyone to use Win 10, and get as many old machines equipped, spread the word and conquer the world again. But on the other side doesn’t provide people with the information they really need to do so. Intel obviously doesn’t care about older products and HP also seems to have no one who takes care of these kind or after market issues upsetting their customers.

Don’t you guys know that communication is the key? Your customers like help, information and full disclosure.

As a customer I am now leaning away from Intel products in favor of AMD and will not consider my next laptop to be an HP because I do not believe they are future proof  – and I like future proof. At least 5 years of future. I keep stuff until it breaks and cannot be rescued. It is not only more environmentally friendly but it’s like it should be.

In the old days quality products had to last a lifetime and for even more generations to come. I just do not accept that computers and most electronic products these days are throw away items. Yes, technology advances fast but that is no excuse. See, I am up to date now with an “old” piece of hardware. So, just because someone (or three) says it can’t be done, I just don’t have to accept it to be true.


My specs:

HP Mini 110 (approx. from 2010)

Processor: Atom N455 /1,67GHz

Graphics: Intel Media Accelerator 3150

Ram: 1GB  2GB

OS: Windows 7 Starter, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10 Pro