March 30th, 2010

mum in xkcd

Catching up

There's been a lot happening in the last month or so, it's just that most of it is really not that interesting.

About the one thing of any real consequence is that I have finally (for the first ever time that I can recall) installed a peripheral device on my computer myself and had it working the same evening. Said device is a modern computer screen (or "monitor", they call them these days). Said monitor is a 22" HP LCD screen which is so far a very nice window on what my computer is actually doing. The 17" CRT I had been using is still a perfectly good monitor (it's eventually going to be used on the box-only computer I currently use intermittently to suck data out of a 27 year old word-processing machine) but I finally found a LCD screen that was (1) in my price range and (2) could be rotated on its own axis so that it could be viewed in portrait format. (This last is largely because of the number of web comics I read (if I ever have the time). It's so much easier not having to scroll down all the time!) I haven't actually figured out how to do that yet, but it probably involves something quite simple, like actually reading the instructions.

Speaking of instructions... The first thing I do during the evening I spend getting the monitor all figured out and plugged in and stuff, is opening the box (which is sort of logical in its way, as the monitor isn't going to be much use if there's a layer of cardboard between my eyes and the screen). So, on the inside of the box lid (i.e. not visible until the box is opened) are a set of instructions... for opening the box. Not really all that logical, Mr. Hewlett (or Mr. Packard)...

But for all the traditional annoyances of plugging anything into a computer (folding one's self in half to crawl under the computer table and hunting around with a torch until I find the right plug in the back of the machine), once it was all plugged in it only took two restarts until the computer actually was going properly with the monitor all working (even the keyboard, which is always the touchiest peripheral... considering that ten or so of its keys have had the letters completely or mostly worn off them, it's going to be the next that gets replaced). So far it's working quite happily at 1680 x 1050 pixels (and, luckily, I actually found a nice wallpaper to replace my old one... the old one was a nice wallpaper, too, but just too badly distorted at that screen shape. Last year I bought an art calendar off the Internet and one of the "freebies" that came with it was an emailed set of wallpapers, including one at about the right screen shape). And it's much better at dealing with dark grey colours than my old CRT monitor was. It's just amusing knowing that my computer monitor is the same size in inches as my TV set (even though it's actually smaller in total area as it's a bit closer to wide-screen than my old TV is...)

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