Looking past the display, she could see a lot of old hardware side by side on shelves, most of it in that grubby beige plastic. Why had people, for the first twenty years of computing, cased everything in that? Anything digital, from that century, it was pretty much guaranteed to be that sad-ass institutional beige, unless they'd wanted it to look more dramatic, more cutting edge, in which case they'd opted for black. But mostly this old stuff was folded in nameless shades of next-to-nothing, nondescript sort-of-tan. [...] She pointed at the beige hardware. 'How come this old shit is always that same color? His forehead creased. 'There are two theories. One is that it was to help people in the workplace be more comfortable with radically new technologies that would eventually result in the mutation or extinction of the workplace. Hence the almost universal choice, by the manufacturers, of a shade of plastic most often encountered in downscale condoms. He smirked at Chevette. 'Yeah? What's two? 'That the people who were designing the stuff were unconsciously terrified of their own product, and in order not to scare themselves, kept it looking as unexciting as possible. Literally 'plain vanilla, you follow me?