China made me do it!
22 Oct 2004
A few months ago I was chatting with Aaron on AIM and he mentioned that he has two monitors hooked up to his computer, running at the same time, independently. I had thought a dual monitor setup like that was pretty complicated, but he explained that with Windows XP it’s actually really simple; all you need is a second (PCI) video card and a second monitor. It’s a snap to tell windows where the monitors are relative to each other so that you can stretch your desktop over both monitors’ screens, the cursor gliding effortlessly from one screen to the other with a twitch of the mouse.
As something of a technophile I was intrigued by the idea, but I quickly concluded that I’d never have a dual monitor setup because it’s pretty expensive for being nothing more than a frill.
Then last week my monitor suddenly went bad. Some diagonal static coursed across the screen, and then it went black. The light next to the power button indicated that the monitor was on, but nothing appeared on the screen. What’s more, it couldn’t be turned off. Unplugging from both the wall and the computer and replugging didn’t fix it. Looked like my monitor was dead, and the warranty had expired a few months prior.
The next night I found myself lugging a 19″ Samsung monitor home. It barely fit in the taxi. As I stumbled through the front door, I saw light coming from my room. Strange, I thought, I was pretty sure I didn’t leave any lights on. I walked into the room, and there was my old 17″, glowing angelically as if it had never malfunctioned.
So then I had two monitors. In China when you buy something, you can’t return it just because you don’t want it. Any time you hand over money, you’re going to be very hard pressed to get it back. If the merchandise is actually defective, they’ll usually swap it for you (if you can find them again), but you won’t see that money again. So when you buy something, you need to be sure you want it.
So what was I to do? I had just spent about $200 on a new monitor that I didn’t need after all. My old monitor seemed to work fine, but who knows when it would crap out on me again.
The solution? Sell one? No…. I spent another $40 on a PCI video card so I could use both monitors at once.
I’m really enjoying having two monitors, but I honestly didn’t intend to do this. China made me do it.