The desktop on your computer is based on the perfect workstation: everything you need within hand reach. What happens if you translate this desktop and it's tools back into a materialized world? The american trashcan was the model for the wellknown Macintosh-icon that was sitiuated in the downright corner of the desktop. 17 years after this icon was designed by Susan Care, it was put back in the 'real world' by us. The trashcan-icon changes it's shape as you put an item in it. With only 1 Kb trown in, it looks as it is going to explode. In the later versions of the graphic user interface the 'exploding' trashcan is replaced by a trashcan with it top removed, so you can see it is full. I always thought this was a mistake since an open trashcan is inviting to put more in it, not to empty it.
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Trashcan Evolution
(according to Macintosh)

The trashcan-icon developed in twenty years from a rough pixelated icon to a highresolution colour image with flashy sounds and even special effects. One of the first generation icons was developed by Susan Kare. She designed with very limited technical posibilities the icons which basicly founded an interface that still holdes. Because of the technique, she had to make them very rough and black and white. Later on, when techique evolved, greytones were added, and colour, and after that, even sounds. When the designers reached the point that the original trashcan (based on an 'outdoor' trashbin) was not usable for further details, they simply changed the model. It became a new 'indoor' model which visualy looked more spectacular, but icon-wise is much weaker than the original trashcan. 
By changing this icon the designers are no longer guiding the user in his actions, but they are convincing the user that the computer is a great and smooth tool, that was worth to buy.