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Halloween Animations October 99
Introducing Firewire November 99
DV video cameras December 99
The new computer user Jan - April 2000 
Laptop May - July 2000
UPS Power August- Sept 2000
Storage Junky October 2000
Find the Finder November 2000
1PC 2 OS systems December 2000
Building a Basic Office Feb/March 2001
Big Enough April - May 2001
Digital Age June - July 2001
CD - R / CD - RW August - Sept 2001
We Stand Stronger Together September 2001
Reflections  October 2001
Seeing Is Believing  May 2002
Why is my Modem Slow?  June 2002
Status Code Definitions  November 2002
A Year in Review  December 2002
 No I Know Monitors  June 2003
 Monitors   April 2003

   Welcome to
Stevens' Page


updated for April 12, 2003

with a 56k modem this page will download within 15 seconds.

If  you have any questions or are looking for some help with your computer send me an email from the contact us page

 What to look for  go here

Now I Know

It all started with someone saying,"What is that smell?" Just minding my own business, and doing my usual thing at work. Normally I'm sitting in front of a computer monitor between eight to fifteen hours a day. Today would be different and here is why.

Every time the furnace would force air threw a vents over top of my computer station a burnt smell was noticed around the office. We asked around and the comment that mostly came back was the furnace does that sometimes. Will have to have it serviced than we thought. Well it was getting close to dinner and you do have to eat so we shut down part of our network and went for a bite. Lucky for us we ate at the shop and were close at hand.

Returned after a fast bite , we carried on with any new material that would be used on this web site ending the month of March.. That burning smell was very noticeable by now and we were starting to rule out electrical appliance around the room that could smell like that. It was not the toaster or coffee maker. The battery chargers were are okay too. We even by now had ruled out the furnace because the office was warm and the furnace was shut off. There was a mystery here and I was going to figure it out before the night would end.

I was sitting in front of my monitor when I heard a noise, I stopped typing and got out of my chair so that I could look around . I looked under the computer desk and in the cubbyhole where the computer tower was. I did not hear a sound, or smell anything, so while I was up I went and refilled my cup of French Vanilla coffee.

I'm typing away when I here that noise again but this time it was staring me right in the face. The monitor could it really be, I did not see anything unusual. I love my monitor, it can not be that I thought to myself. Normally when we go to buy a new computer we think that it is the most important part but actually it is the monitor. The monitor is what your eyes uses and if the type or image are blurred and out of focus, your not going to have a very enjoyable computer experience. (more on this later)

My first thought was to shut the monitor off with the on off switch. A few minutes had passed and I switched it back on, but only for a second or less. In that time I heard a crackle coming from the back and that was enough for me to leave it off permentally. I got out of my chair and the rest of the night was spent on dismantling the monitor from the computer. However, I had another problem and that was how do you turn off your computer with out a monitor to see what you are doing. This one of those moments when your glad that the computer manufacture still wrote a manual rather than give you a manual on a cd.

First you press the power button on the key board or the button normally used to start your computer. You will here a sound after that you hit return on your key board. After that sound is heard the computer sets up the next command to be "turn off computer" The other most used command is to hold down "shift, option control (command) key with your left hand and the delete key with your right hand. Now press all four keys together and your computer will restart. However don't use reset with out a monitor attached to your computer

What To Look For In A Monitor

If you read this article you won't have any difficulty replacing or buying your first time monitor. Do not let the salesman talk you in to his or her opinion as to what they think is the right one for you. First of all where ever you buy the monitor make sure that you can return it within a period of time in case you do not liked it.Also make sure that there is a good warranty, most are from one to three years

The right monitor for you will offer good image and clear type. The size of screen normally depends on how much stuff you want to be looking at all at one time. If your working with Photoshop there are many palettes that my be limited if your monitor is too small. Todays average CRT monitor start at a seventeen inches. This will give you a viewing area of sixteen inches. If you have the space and table depth you might want a nineteen inch monitor which will give you a viewing area of eighteen inches. CRTs are about three times cheaper than LCDs which are presently the new kid on the block. LCDs will offer you a flicker less picture, and it takes up less space, uses less energy and gives off less radiation. (I will talk more on them later)

If you want a monitor that you will be comfortable looking at for eight or more hours than look for a high end or professional series monitor. Most manufactures will offer different lines of monitor quality. From line to line the CRT cost average may vary within thirty dollars . So from their baseline to their professional line may cost you an extra hundred dollars. For sure your eyes will love you for it and you will enjoy your computer experience too. If you buy a LCD it is because of limited space and you have a lot of extra money to spend- that the general consensus.

The technology in a CRT monitor will give you a sharper image. Like most anything you get what you pay for. Also knowledge will be your key to getting the best monitor for the money that you want to spend

Go here if you want to buy a CRT Monitor (Part One continued here)

Go here if you want to buy a LCD Screen (Part Two continued here)

Buying a CRT Monitor

Your first concern should be size of viewing area. The more area there is the easier it is to read text and see graphics. However monitors are measured diagonally across the screen and even that can give you a false viewing area. There is a certain amount of plastic around a monitor which hides part of the screen. A few years ago a fifteen inch monitor would be sold in a computer package. Those monitor on average presented a viewing area of under  ten inches. Most computer packages sell with a 17 inch monitor that will give you a viewing area of no more than 16 inches. A nineteen inch, or twenty inch monitor will give you a one inch less viewing area, so this is usually a good guide to follow.

You next priority is dots per inch or the quality that you want your image and text to be. This is also understood as picture resolution and is measured by the size of a single dot on your monitor screen. Monitors are made up of many dots which work together to form an image or the text that you can see. When you are presented with number like these:1024 x 768 this is dot resolution. The smaller that single dot is the sharper your images and test will be on the screen, however this will add considerably to the total cost of the monitor. Monitor that present a dot pitch of .28 are not worth looking at especially if you want to play games on that monitor. A monitor of .26 to .21, where less is better. You may find that the larger the monitor the harder it will be to find a dot pitch of .21. Most professional graphic monitors are at either  a .24 or .25.. Lower is better any where from .24 to .26 will grant you hours of viewing comfort.

Just when you thought you heard it all you find out that Hertz makes a big big difference too. You do not hear sales people talking about hertz when you are buying a monitor. Hertz are also known as refresher rate or how long it takes a monitor to redraw one page. The faster it redraws the less flicker or eye strain there will be. When a monitor has a hertz of 60 Mhz or 60 cycles per second the same as the electrical out let that it is getting its power from. (this may vary if you live outside of North America) some people can have seizures. Most low end monitors will start at 66 Mhz to avoid causing seizures. However CRT monitors can have multi screen size and with each sizing there is a different hertz rating. Here is an actual example of a 17 inch monitor which offers four different screen sizes :

 1600  x  1200  @  77*   Hz
 1280  x  1024  @  89*   Hz
 1024  x  768  @  85*   Hz
 800  x  600  @  148*   Hz

* Standard/average resolutions | * Professional resolutions

The higher the hertz number is from 60 Mhz or the hertz of the electrical outlet that it is plugged into the less flicker. A screen size or resolution of 1024 x 768 is very standard and many low ended screens will have refresher rate of 66 Mhz. The higher the number the less your eyes will blink and the less eye strain, headaches and pain.

Next you may want to consider whether the surface of the screen be con curved or flat. A flat monitor will cause less glare. You get more picture, but no one really looks to the edge of a monitor at the most of times. You will find more graphic and professional monitors to be flat screens. It is nice to have and the extra expense is minimal.

Screen adjustment controls and what to look for. Most of to days monitors have on screen controls or are digital. What this means is there are four physical buttons somewhere on the front of the monitor. One button is for mode, another button is sub mode and the two buttons left are for changing value either up / high or down / low. On high end monitors you get to make more manual changes opposed to factory settings that can not be changed. So here is what you get: contrast | brightness | Horizontal size | Vertical size | Horizontal position | Vertical position | pincushion | pin balance | trapezoid | parallelogram | rotation | deguass | color temperature | and languages. Each manufacture has added a few more or a few less than what is here. In large these control allow you to adjust almost everything there is relating to the monitor that you are looking at. The deguass circuitry on most monitors today kicks in every time you turn on the monitor using the on off power button

Emissions are important to you cause radiation generally causes cancer and this is not something you want. The majority of monitors are certified as low emissions which meet or exceed standards set by the Swedish. These monitors must also have a MPRII certificate rating sticker on them or the newer certificate rating to look for is the TCO. Also when sitting in front of a monitor, the bigger the monitor the further you sit back from them. Refer to your owners manual for sitting requirements.

Power saving mode. Many monitors come with software even though they are plug and play ready to go as soon as they are attached to your computer. This software detects when little or no power is required for it. When this happens for a period normally set by the user the monitor turns off or goes into a sleep or powdered down mode. This is to conserve energy and also will help increase the life of the monitor. Did you know that the average life span of a CRT monitor is five years. After five years I would strongly recommend that you have a fire extinguisher close by and never leave it unattended - like going to get your coffee refilled or stopping for a moment to go to the washroom. You might come back to a bond fire so bring the hotdogs and marshmallows while your at it.

There will always be extras provided by the manufacture. You can buy them with built in speakers, or microphone or jacks for one. Jacks for external head phones or more speakers. Some allow for hooking extra USB. If you really needed this extra stuff than go for it, but generally I am looking just for a monitor and that is it. You can buy that extra stuff if you need it later with a greater

Something else you won't want to forget when make the final purchase is will it be used for a PC or Macintosh computer. The connectors are different on both machines and you may need an adapter. Or the power saving software may not work on your operating platform. You want to know these things before bring this thirty or fifty pound monitor home.

Summary

Bigger is better but always keep those specs in mind when your looking. Don't take some ones word that it is a great monitor. Always see the monitor before buying. Also make sure that it can be returned for a full refund if the monitor is not meeting your requirements. Remember the monitor will make or break your time of enjoyment on the computer.

Pros

  • Excellent quality for price
  • Detailed graphics such as games and high end graphics
  • Proven technology
  • Allowing of multi resolution sizes
  • Has multi refresher rates
  • Is better viewed from different angles

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of table space behind monitor
  • A seventeen inch monitor can weigh in excess of thirty pounds
  • Gives off more radiation for those who like to sit close to their monitor


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