June 26th, 2006

kernel panic, geeky

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", 1440x1050 display. The old monitor had a 20", 1600x1200 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 800x600 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 1280x1024. 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.
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