The canonical work of calm technology is Natalie Jeremijenko’s Dangling String. She installed this at Weiser’s lab, a piece of red flex hanging from the ceiling. It was wired up to the network so that it would jiggle when the network was really busy.
It’s a lovely design (I have comments about it, of course, but that’s not important now). Out of the corner of your eye, it disappears when everything is fine, but jumps out at you when the network is suddenly really busy and you know there’s probably something to fix. Or, if you’re not the system administrator, it’s time to go to lunch.
It’s now I want to bring up another piece of work my company’s done.