Technical Difficulties from on Top of the Mountain
2006-03-29
  Passionate about pixels.
Over at Creating Passionate Users they're currently fishing for book content, looking for users that are passionate. Out of the four things they are looking for, I've got two covered pretty well:

> 2) Anyone who is passionate about any tech product

I have always been a resolution nut. Screen space is king when setting up a computer. It probably came from having access to HP workstations back in college (circa 1986) where the screens did 1024x768, vs the sad state of "hi-res" on computers like the apple 2, ibm pc, etc. A few years later there was a bump to 1280x1024, then at Xerox I got the monster Sparc 2 with a 1170x900 color screen next to a 1600x1200 monochrome monitor. Ah the wonderful debugging sessions done with that real-estate.

About the mid nineties we had enough money to do some upgrades so I got myself the 24" super wide hidef Sony monitor: GDM-W900 which supported 1920x1200 resolution. This became my main screen, and outlasted several computer upgrades.

This was a great monitor, but it was a CRT--the last vacuum tube left in the computer from the 1950s. It weighed 130 pounds, used several hundred watts of power, was about two and a half feet deep (requiring a custom table with extra depth and re-enforcement), and its rounded screen created an interesting effect when sitting about 14 inches away, looking from the center to the edges was like looking out across the horizon of a planet from space. After many years, the CRT was dimming and losing focus; LCD panels were finally catching up, and my wallet was getting ready for another big purchase.

Finally, as I pondered new ways of spending thousands of dollars, I settled on the Apple Cinema 30 display for my new computer setup. More resolution than before, and a bigger physical size than the old 24" monitor. (The IBM T221 actually has more pixels, but is only a 22" display, so its just a lot of very tiny dots.) With a second smaller 20" LCD monitor beside it, turned on its side (so that it matches the apple monitor in height and pixels), I now have a workspace 3760x1600 (6MP). This is about as close as I'm going to get to my ultimate dream station with the technology available. Helping someone else out on their tiny 17" CRT running at 1024x768 is physically painful these days.

Besides allowing me to work with a multitude of programming windows, read tabloid size trade rag PDFs in 2 page mode with full resolution, or tracking four different web pages at the same time; the cinema display makes movies look great, and makes hidef content look even better.

I couldn't find anything interesting that exactly fit the resolution of the display, but I did find a fairly high resolution background image Earth at Night from the NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

more about my bigger screen.

 
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