Suddenly I’m high-maintenance.

A few weeks ago at work, my monitor started to misbehave a bit — a loud click, and then a few hours of the screen flicking ever so slightly. It’s an old monitor, a big 21″ Dell CRT, so it’s starting to get a bit long in the tooth. I raised a helpdesk request because last time a monitor like this one started to do that, it was still under warranty and was replaced by a refurb in a couple days.

Nothing happened on the repair, and by the next day it had settled back down, and I never really thought anything of it until today, when someone from desktop support came by to replace it with a new 19″ flat panel.

This sounds great, right? Wrong.

My laptop has a 14.1″, 1440×1050 display. The old monitor had a 20″, 1600×1200 display. That made things on the monitor quite a bit bigger than on the laptop. My (bitmap) terminal font* is 10 pixels high; on the laptop, it’s 2mm high, and on the CRT, it’s 2.5mm high. An 800×600 browser window is 16cm x 12cm on the laptop, 20cm x 15cm on the CRT — starts to get noticeable. But it’s just enough to make it a bit easier to read, especially since I’ve got the extra 30% desktop area to play with.

The problem is that the new LCD is 19″ and 1280×1024. It’s clear, it’s crisp, it’s bright, it’s FREAKING HUGE WINDOWS. That terminal font is now 3mm high, and that browser window is now 24cm x 18cm! It’s only 89% of the desktop area of the laptop screen in pixels, but it’s 180% of the physical screen size!

So the end result is that tomorrow I am going to have to go back to the desktop support guys with a brand-new LCD and ask if I can trade it for my old, flaky monitor. That’s not going to feel dumb at all. But I’ve lost a third of my desktop and I have this weird size mismatch between everything and that’s not going to make getting real work done any easier than a monitor which flakes out for a day once a month.

Eh, it’ll just build up my “cranky unix administrator” side, I guess.

* -b&h-lucidatypewriter-medium-r-normal-*-*-120-*-*-*-*-iso8859-1.

7 responses to “Suddenly I’m high-maintenance.”

  1. Yeah; I know what you mean. I was poking IT to see what the monitor upgrade policy is, and they offered me a 19″ over my 17″. But they’re all 1280×1024! So it’d be pretty stupid.

    Half the engineers have 21″ widescreens – I want one of those, dammit. :P

  2. Holy…


    I have an NEC Multisync 6FGp, which the internets tells me can do 1280×1024, but I’ve always run it at 1600×1200. I couldn’t imagine going back to a smaller resolution.

    Hell, my laptop does 1680×1050. :p

  3. Even a desktop support person is bound to recognize that not being able to use the resolution you’re used to is a bad thing.

    I mean… most of them will.

    (Bring a meat hook, just in case.)

  4. Erf. Nothing worse than having to drop resolution without a corresponding drop in screen size. I just did something similar, 17″ 1280×1024 to 19″ 1280×1024. Luckily, a solution has presented itself: Nat’s work (the university I attend) is clearing out their leased hardware, and we’re picking up a 20″ Apple Cinema display for … $235 CDN. :)

  5. Rich, I’ve known you since our days at McGill… this isn’t sudden. j/k – like I’m one to talk. :-)
    See ya at the wedding.