DAC, ADC, DAC.. Hmm.

In response to the "how are your eyes?" questions, I have to admit, "no better, no worse". I spend far too much time glaring at this flashing box to expect much improvement. No worse is good, but not good enough. I gotta get a flat panel.
an image

When my regular monitor blew up a couple of months ago, and I was forced onto this.. this.. thing; a 14" OEM CRT doo-dah with an impressive scratch down the front; I knew it was time to bite the bullet and get around to that upgrade I've been promising myself.

Okay, that's a lie. In truth, I was just getting on with shit, until the thing started "plinking" at me a couple of days ago. Old blog readers, or rather, readers of my old blogs, may remember the episode with the apple's and lemons, and this plinking; consisting of a faint but remarkable electrical arcing noise and a visual disturbance resembling switching the unit on and off very quickly, like someone remembering they had an email to read as they were heading off to bed; means my backup monitor is also about to give up the ghost - goodbye another fly-back transformer.

This is what I call, "The Universe Telling Me Something", and besides, I could get a pallet of crap monitors for the price of a new fly-back. Screw that.

I like to push it, see. I know staring into this thing for such long hours is bad for my eyes, especially since I've been doing it since I was eleven years old, sometimes for days at a time, but it's an experiment in healing, see, and the only way to experiment in healing, is to first need healing.

Congratulations, me! I have discovered the minimal amount of effort and technique required to prevent deterioration in ones eyes, regardless of the amount of punishment they are forced to endure - it's not just the puter - I do lots of other things to hurt them, too. But after a few yoga manoeuvers, some specific nutrition, and mindful constructs that would be misleading to call "spells" as such, but nevertheless amount to the same thing, homeostasis is achieved.

Okay, I'm being cheap, and procrastinating, perhaps lacking the discipline required to place every spare penny into the jar named "monitor fund". Mainly because I have no such jar. I'm not into saving anyway, though I know it's generally great advice, I'm more of a here-and-now kinda guy, and one way or another, I will have that flat panel within the fortnight. Not a spell, as such, but you know, mindful stuff.

But this isn't about magic, it's really a tech blog of sorts, a warning to potential flat panel buyers. That currently includes me, and as a potential anything-buyer, I do tend to Google a lot. Not just to save pennies, but also to know what I'm buying. And I've learned something rather startling (apart from the fact that the price of flat-panel displays has CRASHED in the last year or so - w00t!). And as I'm in the mood for giving advice, I thought I'd share. I'll need to rewind some, first..

Puters are digital. But up until fairly recently, we had to convert this digital image into an analogue "signal", which is fed to our analogue CRT tubes. The conversion process itself obviously reduces quality, adding noise into the mix and taking us one step away from the original pixel-perfect image our digital machine created. Not good.

A flat-panel, aka. LCD, on the other hand, isn't a big glass tube with electromagnets zipping a beam of electrons around; it's a truly digital display unit. Each pixel is an actual transistor that can be mapped and accessed directly. That perfect image can be transferred directly to the screen for, well, a perfect image. Not only that; crucially, at least for me, because the image is digital, the concept of refresh rate becomes meaningless. it's the flicker that's attacking my eyes. Even at 85KHz, I can see it, and it hurts. This old thing barely manages 75Hz.

On a digital display, there is no flicker. The image is completely still. Only areas that move get updated. it's a beautiful thing.

Of course, not everyone has DVI output on their video cards yet, and so it's fairly common to see old-school analogue inputs on flat-panels, for people with older video cards. that's cool, it's a thoughtful addition. BUT.. As I've been hunting around for a nice bargain, I've discovered a slew of cheaper flat panel displays have ONLY analogue inputs!

Get this; as I've been hunting around for a bargain, I've discovered a slew of flat panel displays have ONLY analogue inputs!!!

And worse, certain manufacturers have a nasty habit of selling all the benefits of "generic flat panel displays", when many of those benefits only apply when you connect by digital input. that's just not cricket when you're selling a display panel that has no such input.

Say NO to Analogue D-Sub!

it's nuts. The video card creates a perfectly crisp digital image, which is then converted to an analog signal, to be sent down the cable and then converted back to a digital image to be displayed on-screen. There's a word for that kind of madness, and it's not a nice word.

don't DO IT!!

it's insanity. What's even crazier, is that for around ten bucks more, you could get yourself a display with a real DVI input. While video cards are ten-a-penny, a good monitor is an investment that will last you years, so it's worth spending the extra. In fact, DVI-capable flat-panel displays are getting so cheap, you won't even have to..

I'm thinking 19" widescreen, WXGA+, perhaps this funky HannsG unit, or maybe the GNR. Whatever, the most important factor is..


for now..

;o) Cor

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