Friday, January 28, 2005

Monitor Replacement

I had to buy a new computer monitor. My three and a half year old ViewSonic flat screen CRT died suddenly,  deciding to display only a three inch high section of the screen. I had warranty work done a year ago for another problem, so it didn't seem worth the trouble to pay to have it fixed now that it is out of warranty. My first monitor lasted six years. I'm bummed that the ViewSonic didn't make four.

Shopping for a new one was a frustrating experience. It seems standard Cathode Ray Tubes are no longer in vogue. They lack the "cool factor" of the new flat screen LCDs, even though the newer technology costs three times as much.

Besides costing more, LCDs are overrated in many ways. They are still a youthful technology, while the good old CRT has been finely perfected over the course of 60 some years. LCDs don't display as many colors as a CRT, which is important for photo editing. Moreover, LCDs still look like you're viewing through a fine mesh screen door. A tiny grid pattern is always visible. They're not ready for me.

Unfortunately, cool sells and older technology doesn't. The available CRT selection this time around was severely limited. Making matters worse, the only stores that stocked more than one brand, Office Depot and Circuit City, have become less than helpful in their customer service. Circuit City is especially horrific in the customer service department. The place is now run by kids who don't know the first thing about service. Office Depot is a little better, but not much. When I inquired why one monitor looked better than another I was given some song and dance about how the refresh rate had to be dumbed down because too many monitors were being run off of one computer. Hell, if they're not going to make the effort to display the product properly, why do it at all?

I finally bought one at Monterey Computer Works in Seaside, the only place where I could get someone to talk to me with respect in sensible English. They only had one brand of CRT, made by another acronym, CTX. It wasn't a flat screen, but the brand seems to be highly rated. It is a nice monitor, giving a good half inch more display area (16.5"") than my old ViewSonic (16").

So I'm back in business.

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