Windows 8, A Broken Monitor, and Other Things That are Strange

By Shamus Posted Friday Mar 27, 2015

Filed under: Rants 73 comments

This isn’t really a rant, although I’ve filed it under “rants” just so it fits in the continuity with the related events. This probably doesn’t mean much to you, but people exploring the archives years from now will likely appreciate it. You’re welcome, people of the future. If you figure out how to reply, we’d love to know how things turned out with Half-Life 3. Thanks!

You may remember a few weeks ago I installed Windows 8. In fact, it looks like today is the three-week anniversary of using it. How would I rate the Windows 8 experience? Meh. I am indifferent. It’s not nearly as infuriating as I expected.

About once every three days I accidentally shove my mouse into the corner of the screen and open some useless bullshit I don’t want, but that problem hasn’t annoyed me hard enough to convince me to go looking for how to turn it off. I haven’t seen the Metro interface in days. This basically feels like Windows 7 with a way faster search. (I could never figure out why prior versions had such glacially slow file search. Windows 8 is basically in the same ballpark as Linux now, when it comes to looking for stuff on your hard drives.)

The big mystery was the failed monitor. You might remember that right in the middle of installing Windows 8, my monitor failed and a single vertical line of pixels turned on and never turned off again:

The red line of sad-making.

It was an AOC monitor. I’ve thought of AOC as an “off-brand” monitor. Maybe some kind of dark horse newcomer? I dunno. I’d never owned one before and the name wasn’t familiar. But as I write this post I discover the company has been around since 1967.

I got the monitor because it was a little cheaper than the alternatives and I figured at this point monitors are all basically interchangeableMy aging eyes aren’t good enough to appreciate super-precise colors or refresh rates above 60Hz., so why pay extra? Obviously I’m really regretting that now.

The monitor was just a little past the Amazon return date, but still under manufacturer warranty. So I RMA‘ed it, which I’ve never had to do before. I got a replacement a little over a week later, which I understand is lightning fast by the standards of this sort of thing. On the downside, my replacement monitor was even more broken than the one I sent them. It does this:

This is a simulation of the defect, not a real capture of it.

Ouch. (This is a simulation of the defect, not a real capture of it. It’s pretty close, though.)

I’ve never seen a monitor do this beforeI guess technically CRTs did this all the time, only much faster.. It happens at random intervals and for a random duration. Sometimes I’ll go hours without it happening. Sometimes the defect will manifest every couple of minutes. Sometimes it lasts three seconds. Sometimes it goes on for almost a minute. To my eyes, this is actually quite a bit worse than having a single red line down the screen.

The really terrible thing is that the AOC warranty only covers the LCD screen itself, and not the whole unit. When you RMA it, you have to choose what visual defect your monitor is manifesting. And this wibbly-wobbly problem isn’t listed. You can’t send the monitor back without an RMA number, and you can’t get a number without specifying the problem, and this problem – while horrible – isn’t listed.

Can’t you just fix it with that sonic screwdriver thing?

Yes, I could lie and list some other defect and send back the stupid monitor. But even if I was willing to do that, there’s no guarantee that would help. Likely as not, the technicians at the service center will plug it in, see no problem, and send the stupid thing right back to me. Which is probably how this broken monitor wound up back in circulation in the first place. The pixels all work, so that means the monitor must be fine, right?

I’m really regretting going with AOC now. I think I got the monitor because it was something like $20 cheaper than the brands I usually go with. But I spent that much shipping the red-stripe monitor back to them. I don’t want to risk another $20 (not to mention the time and hassle) trying to get them to make this right.

So I got a ViewSonic.

The thing that bugs me – and the reason I’m bothering writing about this – is that this particular defect is so strange, bordering on haunted. It manifests when the unit experiences vibrations. I could make it happen by setting my mug down on the desk too hard, or when I sat down. Sometimes it would wibble-wobble a tiny bit with each key I typed. But then later it would be stable and wouldn’t manifest unless I grabbed the unit and shook it a little.

I tried three different power cords. Tried wiggling the cord. Tried different outlets. No effect. Swapped out the HDMI cable. No effect. I thought maybe it was a temp issue, because the unit was cold (near freezing) when it arrived. But after a few days it's still doing it.

So, something is… loose? Inside an LCD monitor? What? It’s not like this is a toaster with moving parts. I don’t know. I’ve been staring at computer monitors for about three decades now, and I’ve never seen or heard of a problem like this.

The wobbly monitor is being used by my daughter nowNot the one with seizure disorder, in case you’re worried about that., and apparently she doesn’t mind. But it still bugs me.



[1] My aging eyes aren’t good enough to appreciate super-precise colors or refresh rates above 60Hz.

[2] I guess technically CRTs did this all the time, only much faster.

[3] Not the one with seizure disorder, in case you’re worried about that.

From The Archives:

73 thoughts on “Windows 8, A Broken Monitor, and Other Things That are Strange

  1. Da Mage says:


    Though it looks similar to how the old CRTs would ‘refresh’, my understanding is that LCDs do not refresh like that at all, so I don’t think its actually be a refreshing error.

    You say it seems a bit random and caused by vibrations….that does sound like a loose connection…but I have some other questions. Could it be caused by power fluxuations? Does it happen more when first turned on, or after being on all day? Does it happen more when it’s hot, or when it’s cold (could be tied in with how long it’s been on).

    Glad to see you’ve got over the Windows 8 move so quickly, I was annoyed at it much too long, but I was forced onto it before 8.1 so they might have improved things a bit with updates.

    1. Ingvar M says:

      Could even be as simple as “the power cable is a smidgen loose and wobbles, introducing all sorts of hilarity throughout the electronics”. Yes, “hilarity” is a technical term. Or maybe not.

      The cheapo solution to that is to see if you can shim the power connector in place, a thin plastic wedge of some sort, maybe sourced from a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream “spoon”. You want something that’s non-conductive, so I’d recommend that other classic engineering shim, a strip of Al from a drink can.

      1. Shamus says:

        This was my first thought as well. I should have mentioned in the article.

        Tried 3 different power cords. Tried wiggling the cord. Tried different outlets. No effect.

        Swapped out the HDMI cable. No effect.

        I thought maybe it was a temp issue, because the unit was cold (near freezing) when it arrived. But after a few days it’s still doing it.

        1. Da Mage says:

          Yep, then I agree with what you say, it’s either a loose connection within the monitor (between the ports and the screen part) or a fault on the LCD screen itself.

          I hate non-consistent issue like this though, cause you send it in, it works fine, they says its ‘fixed’ and send it back without doing anything. Had that happen before.

          1. 4th Dimension says:

            Agreed. These are the worst, because it sticks a piece of equipment into a gray area where it sort of works so you are unlikelly to simply write it off buy a new one.

        2. boz says:

          I suspect a faulty inverter. Check for stuff like “screen flicker” or “flashing” as error description, or just go with faulty inverter.

        3. Abnaxis says:

          I’m willing to be the problem is the power system inducing noise somewhere where it ought not to (like, say, a faulty inverter as boz described above). I bet that’s why physical vibrations mess with it–when you’re talking about EMF-induced noise, the geometry of the circuit plays a factor.

          What cable are you using to connect the monitor? If it’s VGA (do they even sell VGA monitors any more?), you might be helped by switching to a non-analog signal if the monitor has the inputs for it. At least, that’s a suggestion Google provided

          1. Eruanno says:

            Do monitors have VGA these days? What is this, 2004?

            EDIT: Wait, I just looked. My monitor actually has a VGA input. Huh!

            1. Ayegill says:

              You guys joke, but I’m using VGA right now(my GPU only has one DVI output, and I’m using two monitors)

            2. 4th Dimension says:

              All monitors I ever used used VGA inputs. Some even lacked DVI.
              Is there really any noticable difference?

              1. lethal_guitar says:

                Personally, I think it’s a huge difference. Analog video like VGA looks very blurry and sort of washed out, whereas digital connections like DVI or HDMI are sharp and crystal clear.

                I think it’s one of those things you don’t notice so much when switching away from it, but then when you suddenly have to go back to analog temporarily, it really sticks out.

                1. swenson says:

                  Yeah, at work we have plugs in the conference rooms to hook up our laptops to screens in the rooms, and it’s VERY noticeable on a high-resolution screen when you switch between VGA and HDMI. I never noticed it when everything was VGA, but once you get used to HDMI, VGA just looks obscenely fuzzy.

                2. 4th Dimension says:

                  The only time anything is fuzzy on VGA is if you are running the monitor in non native mode. I’m not certain how could the image be sharper. I might try it some day, and that difference might be less noticable on cheapo 21” monitors.

                  1. Bryan says:

                    …And if you’re running the monitor in non-native mode, then it’ll be just as fuzzy with DVI(-D or -I).

                    There’s only one crystal for each of the three colors for each pixel. The signal *has* to get converted to digital — in terms of which pixels get which signals — before it hits the crystals in an LCD. There’s no possible way VGA could be different from DVI in the fuzziness area.

                    Where it *can* be different is in color reproduction, as the analog intensity on the wire as the screen refreshes across the pixel clock intervals may not exactly match what input colors were in the framebuffer. It’s also a lot more susceptible to noise. But that noise won’t make anything blurrier, it will make pixels shift color or shift intensity…

            3. MadTinkerer says:

              Although VGA is rarely used as the main video format by the Glorious PC Master Race, maintaining compatibility is relatively easy and cheap. The demand for the feature simply outweighs the hassle of including it. For example, VGA is still super important if you want to hook up old consoles to your nice new monitor because the CRT finally died. Or maybe a system vital to your organization is still running on 80s/90s technology and you need to be able to maintain compatibility with it.

              Real example: one of the machines I use every day runs on OS/2 Warp but has a nice flatscreen.

              1. krellen says:

                Most on-board graphics drivers will display VGA, but not DVI – and the vast, vast, vast majority of PCs in circulation do not have video cards.

                1. Richard says:

                  This is becoming increasing untrue these days.

                  DVI-D or HDMI is cheaper to put on the board as there’s no DACs involved.
                  The digital line drivers are dirt cheap silicon.

                  1. krellen says:

                    Display Port is something like those, but isn’t strictly speaking either of those. I see Display Port sometimes.

            4. modus0 says:

              I bought an Asus monitor about a month ago that has VGA, HDMI, and DVI ports, as well as an audio jack.

              All so I could hook my computer (DVI), old non-HDMI Xbox 360 (VGA) and Xbox One (HDMI) into the same monitor. Got the idea from the post about the update to Josh’s Spoiler Warning setup.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            I'm willing to be the problem

            I knew it!You evil gremlin,leave Shamoose’s computer alone!

        4. Chuk says:

          That is all actually in the article.

          1. HiEv says:

            Now it is. He most likely updated it.

    2. DrMcCoy says:

      Caused by vibrations… could be a cracked solder joint, maybe?

      1. Zak McKracken says:

        Given the other obvious solutions (cables and stuff) are out of the race, that’s what I would suppose, too.

        Have a monitor that will emit a high-pitched noise, sometimes quite loud, but only if brightness is not at maximum setting, and it goes away if I grip the case firmly at the right spot — must be a loose capacitor or coil which vibrates under AC load, somewhere in the circuit which dims the backlight.

        I read somewhere you could open the case and spray some glue or something on to keep components from vibrating but I can’t find that advice again and I’m quite sure you can ruin electronics this way if you don’t know what you’re doing.

        1. DrMcCoy says:

          Yeah, it’s generally best to have a bit of a clue about what you’re doing if you’re opening it up. :)

          Personally, I’d rather inspect the solder joints and resolder if necessary, instead of using some kind of spray glue. But I wouldn’t recommend that to everyone.

      2. Richard says:

        Probably. It’s classic dry joint symptoms.

  2. Viktor says:

    My first reaction is that it’s not a cable, it’s that the screen itself is loose and shaking. Though IDK if you can even have something like that happen to an LCD.

  3. Galad says:

    That looks a lot like the issue with the picture my work monitor used to give me until the admin replaced the cable connecting it to the computer.

  4. Chris says:

    Aren’t LCDs a series of wafer-thin layers, some of which are pixels and some of which are electronics to drive/power them? And all of which are notionally transparent?
    So of one of those layers was…loose-ish or warped, maybe you’d get that weird flicker then the unit vibrates?

  5. Abnaxis says:

    Google suggested another possible cause, that sounds reasonable to me–the backlight might be in poor shape. Apparently, the backlight that illuminates the LCD screen is often a flourescent bulb, which might be prone to flickering. I know I’ve seen flourescent lighting fixtures that get wavy when you jostle them…

    1. Markus says:

      Besides this, which sounds more likely than my two suggestions, did you check if there are magnets around, and did you check if it also happens when running Linux, or at your daughter’s computer?

    2. Geebs says:

      The simulated image looks a lot like beats between two fluorescent tubes, i.e. the one in the monitor and the room lighting. Not that I’ve ever seen that happen with a monitor. Does the problem ever happen in daylight?

  6. Darren Matthews says:

    If you take the monitor apart, you will find cables in there and and they might well be loose. This is probable a refurbished monitor and they didn’t seat all the cables in securely. It might also be a bad solder somewhere. Those would be my guess if it reacts to vibrations.

  7. guvnorium says:

    It could be so many things- one of the relatively simple ones is a bad capacitor. Bad caps happen all the time, and can definitely cause backlight issues (if that is what this is, as opposed to an issue with the LCD.)

    1. rabs says:

      Yeah, capacitors seems to be an usual point of failure in many devices… I also fixed 2 monitors by changing those.
      While looking for references, I found this article:
      I didn’t know there was such a manufacturing scandal… It should be better now, hopefully.
      Though I have read a recent (offline) article about computer parts failure reasons, and crappy or overheating capacitors are still the main one.

      Anyway, the hardest task is to open/close cleanly a monitor…

      1. Guvnorium says:

        I was lucky enough to not have to deal with it directly, but my dad did. His motherboard, circa… geeze, probably 2004 or so, had something like three quarters of its caps go bad over its lifetime. I could be misremembering, but I do remember he had to replace one more than once. I do remember him talking to me about this being a thing.

  8. Zagzag says:

    My LCD monitor does this from time to time, though either it’s not as bad as in your case or it just doesn’t bother me enough to do anything about it (it doesn’t happen terribly often, mind you).

    In my case it’s the light that illuminates the screen from behind flickering, as far as I’ve been able to determine, since sometimes one corner of the monitor also goes a little darker, which pretty much has to be a lighting issue. I’d guess that’s what it is for you too, mine also seems to trigger either when the table it’s resting on vibrates or when the power cable is touched.

  9. Future Ben(no for Real) says:

    Greetings from the future. I know it seems like a long wait now, but when it does arrive Half Life 3 is unanimously declared the best game ever in past present and future (we have the ability to know these things in the time I’m from).

    It somehow redefines first person shooting while seamlessly blending in elements of real time strategies, role playing games, and cooking mama, and is so elegantly simple that even a baby could play it easily while still maintaining enough complexity and nuance to enable endless play with no true mastery.

    Granted, following the release of this game Gabe Newell announced his plan to name himself king of the world and swiftly succeeded via a combination of in game subliminal messages, advanced weaponry, and the best steam sales you’ve ever seen.

    However most of us consider the new dictatorship worth it as we are all now paid in time to play Half Life 3 and new in game hats. However I still haven’t figured out why our new masters have seen fit to suppress our reproductive cycles….
    I’ll just write a letter to Lord High King Newell. He’s so nice and always answers public questions on Seam T.V. I’m sure he’ll explain.

    1. Daemian Lucifer (from the future) says:

      I can confirm this.Half Life 3 is my new best game ever.I like it more than starcraft and half life 1 combined,which used to be my top 1 and 2.

      Also,dont listen to that Jeremy Bowers,he is an ea shill,and he has been dealt with proven to be just a slander artist by valve an independent team of researches.His execution firing was cheered by the whole world.

      Hail Gaben!

  10. Half-Life 3 was very… meh, unfortunately. The fact that Valve didn’t really care and was just cashing in in a desperate attempt to undo the damage to Steam that GOG’s merger with Origin had done to them was pretty obvious. Some people really liked it, but I think they just have no taste.

    But the Spoiler Warning for it was awesome. Shamus reached levels of high dudgeon that he hadn’t reached since the Mass Effect 5 season. At one point Josh just had to stop the game for five minutes while Shamus ranted. The Rutskarn/Mumbles shippers were fed yet more red meat when in episode 13 Rutskarn managed an entire paragraph that could either be read as a commentary on the game, or an extended pun about Mumble’s hair. The repeated occurrences of Chris and Shamus actually making the same criticisms, in the same words, simultaneously, was also really amazing. And Chris’ recent doctorate in Game Studies continued to pay off in raising the level of discourse… I have a T-Shirt with the phrase “The transformative geovilification of the neonarrative dissonance in the ludic substructure really… just… well… sucked.” (Well, it sounds better in context. You’ll have to have been there.)

    Far better than the game itself, as usual.

    Next season they’re doing Bioshock In Spaaaaace 2. (Seriously, that’s the title. Don’t ask.) Gonna be a great one!

    1. Dev Null says:

      I’m getting that t-shirt.

  11. Zak McKracken says:

    Is this replacement monitor a permanent one, or is it meant to bridge the time until your old one is repaired?

    Anyway, “backlight is flickering” or something similar must be somewhere on that list.

    Also, I think it pays to read not just the specs but also the warranty. I have an Eizo for photo works, which has 5 years warranty. When that got a problem (displaying random patterns on top of the picture), it was picked up and replaced, then returned in a repaired state, and the replacement collected, at no cost for me (other than having to arrange for a meeting with the delivery guys, which was way more difficult than it should have been, but still).

    I’m not sure if this is European customer protection law or just one company’s policy. Possibly some of both.

    1. Richard says:

      EU warranties are 2 years minimum[1], longer for expensive/hard-wearing items.
      It’s The Law.

      [1] Actually the legal term is “reasonable”, 2 years is just the common law precedent, along with the WEEE[2] legislation providing a backstop of ‘proof’ that 2 years is a minimum for nearly all electronics.
      So things like cheap trainers can last less.

      [2] Seriously. WEEE.

  12. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I feel your pain.My monitor has acquired an erratic behavior of its own in the last 6 months,though this one I know the cause for.The colors started bleeding(it was to be expected,its almost a decade old).But the frustrating part is:It only happens sometimes.Its fine now,but a month ago it was so bad that I practically had a double picture.And I have no idea why it happens only sometimes.It comes and goes randomly,and I dont really want to replace it unless the problem becomes constant,which only ends up pissing me off.To the point that I yelled at it “just fucking die already”.It fixed itself after that just to piss me off even more.

  13. nm says:

    Sounds like a bad solder connection somewhere. RoHS means lead-free, which means most solder is badly connected (or at least it looks that way in x-rays). Of course, you could open it up and find what’s probably a loose wire and solder it back together…but that would definitely void the warranty.

  14. What type of backlighting does the monitor have?
    If it’s got a light tube rather than LED(s) then that could explain the flickering.

    My advise is to find a local computer repair shop, see if they are willing to take a look for free and then give an estimate.

    If you are lucky it’s just the backlight that need fixing (loose solder as some said above) getting shipped and bounced around can loosen a lot of things (like solders).

    If you are daring and got a soldering iron you could take a peek back there yourself.

  15. RTBones says:

    From the sounds of it, given that it reacts/happens due to vibration – something “loose”, a bad or broken solder joint that makes enough contact to work unless disturbed, a literal loose screw(s), or perhaps a wonky capacitor? A ribbon connector that isnt seated properly? The fact that vibration triggers it makes me think there is a ‘connection’ (solder, cable, screw, whatever) that isnt as ‘tight’ as it should be.

    If you’ve got a decent computer shop nearby, they may be able to diagnose the problem and give you a repair estimate. Might even do it FOC. A Best Buy, Fry’s Electronics, or other chain might be able to do the same, though I suspect they’d charge just to look at it.

    Problems like this are always a PITA.

  16. Syal says:

    I’m going to go with ghosts. The previous owner was probably a couch potato who spent all his time on his computer, and now his soul is bound to the monitor. So he’s mad, but also kind of lazy, and the most he’s willing to do is make things slightly harder to see.

    I suggest throwing holy water into all the cable ports.

    1. Purple Library Guy says:

      Finally a serious grappling with the issue.

  17. Kreek says:

    possible solution, if its a loose internal connection somewhere

    take monitor
    wrap in thick heavy towel, lay flat on a surface
    take blowdryer, or other heatsource
    make that sucker hot, really hot

    the idea is to slightly liquify the solder points on the circuit board, essentially letting them reset their placements

    after about an hour of heat, let it cool off and try turning it on again, see if problem persists

    this method is not without risk, but it has been known to work with things like tablets, or old red ringed xbox 360s

    1. DrMcCoy says:

      Yeah, I don’t think a blowdryer will work: solder starts melting at 180°C (360°F). The very unequal heat distribution you’ll get with just hitting it with a blowdryer is also quite a bad thing. You’re more likely to melt the plastic casing if anything.

      If you want to re-set all the solder joints, a crude but sometimes working method is putting the circuit board (and only that, not the whole assembled thing!) into a normal kitchen oven for a bit, as a substitution for a proper reflow oven.

  18. Paul Spooner says:

    As mentioned above, this is probably a soldering issue. I had a wireless drill that was acting up kind of like this. Randomly would work, worked half the time, would cut in and out occasionally.
    Opened it up and all three of the main motor winding joints had zero wetting on the pads. You would think that modern electronics manufacturing would have great quality control, especially for things as mass-produced as monitors and drills… but no. Like you say, if it works during the tests, it passes. Even if a person does visual inspection, there’s no guarantee they know what they are looking at, or looking for.

    Fortunately, soldering problems are pretty easy to fix if you can find them. It could be a learning adventure for you and your kids! Just be sure to use plenty of flux. Here’s a decent guide for what to look for:

    If only the OS was as easy to diagnose.

    1. DrMcCoy says:

      It might be a learning adventure for Shamus and family, yes, but they should still mind proper safety procedures. The LCD’s power supply will have high-voltage capacitors, and they may still hold a considerable charge if the bleeder resistors are shot. While it’s not likely, it’s still possible.

      They should best stay clear of big electrolyte capacitors inside the monitor, or safely discharge them. There’s various HOWTOs out there how to build a capacitor discharge tool yourself, or you can buy something like the Sparkpen.

  19. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

    If your daughter likes the new monitor, this problem is as solved as it can get.

    However, I’d think this a golden opportunity for a curious person to dismantle that monitor to see how it works and how it failed -either you or your kids.

    It voids the warranty, but the warranty is currently useless, anyway. The warranty only deals with the LCD screen -which apparently isn’t broken.
    It might make the monitor completely unusable? There’s no point in using it in its current state.

    And hey, maybe you fix it and get a working monitor. Now you have a working monitor and a learning experience.

  20. Based on the filename, is the title graphic for this post from Alien: Isolation?

  21. And while I don’t discount the hardware being at fault, electricity can be a bear to mess with.

    I had a dedicated circuit run for my PC long ago, then we swapped out our fuse box for a breaker box. All was well for a few days, but then my power conditioner started howling every hour or so, then my UPS would trip in an attempt to keep my PC from harm. I’d have to reboot and swear a lot (that’s required), and after a day or so, I called my electrician back.

    He tested, traced wires, checked the equipment, and wound up just putting my PC on a different breaker. He admitted he didn’t like the solution, but it worked, and he did have a possible explanation. Sometimes, a breaker/circuit/whatever can get “out of phase” (his words) with the nearest transformer which causes surges, kind of like how a regular series of small bumps between slabs of highway concrete can make a part of your car oscillate, or how a flaw in a suspension bridge can cause oscillation in high winds.

    Anyway, he didn’t like that explanation, because “it’s like blaming the problem and the solution on magic” (his words again), but unless I wanted to pay for someone to go investigate the neighborhood’s electrical transformer, there wasn’t much else he could do, and besides, it worked now.

    1. Richard says:

      He had no idea what was up, and knew it.
      That explanation is on a par with “Your breaker panel is haunted”.

      Most likely you’ve got a badly connected or undersized wire somewhere – my guess would be in the neutral betwixt local transformer and the breaker panel.

      If your local system is biphase (US “single phase”, or dryer socket) or 3-phase, then a partially-lost or too-small neutral in the multiphase section results in significant voltage changes as the load balance changes.
      – A fully-lost neutral here can cause huge voltage excursions and will kill equipment.

      This is something that needs checking!

      Alternatively, a bad link inside a circuit breaker – faulty breakers do happen.*

      Or your local transformer is highly unbalanced or overloaded, which may become Interesting later.

      * Faulty ACBs also happen. Rather scary when a 1000A breaker opens on you…

      1. It might also help to mention my house was built in 1917 and has all kinds of nonsense in the walls. There’s even a few stretches of knob & tube here and there. And trust me, this guy did know his stuff. He swapped out the breakers several times, tried two panels, etc.

        I’d really be curious to see my house through all the high-tech stuff the cops have to snoop our homes these days. Between the wiring, metal conduit, lead paint, and whatever combination of that and other stuff that makes most cell phone and cordless phone signals drop dead 10 feet past the front door, I’m wondering if I’m basically living in a kind of mutant Faraday Cage.

      2. Additional: ‘Round about the time we had the breaker box put in, our neighborhood had gone through a few transformers. That winter we had a massive ice storm to the point where you could stand outside of your house and watch the city’s exploding transformers light up the sky. This was followed up by several severe storms where lightning took the things out, and we required out-of-state work crews to get everyone’s power back up before a week had passed.

        1. Mike S. says:

          I take it that after that, you returned the Ark to the feds for safekeeping.

          1. We came to an agreement after they admitted it made an incredibly good-looking coffee table in my living room, and that it really did complement the drapes and accents.

  22. MichaelG says:

    So on Windows 8, did I miss a setting that gave you buttons with shadows and graded colors, and transparency on the window frames like Windows 7?

    Because I think the default Windows 8 style is just brutal. The ugliest style since Windows 3.1.

    Can you turn all that off?

  23. Steve C says:

    I thought maybe it was a temp issue, because the unit was cold (near freezing) when it arrived. But after a few days it's still doing it.

    I HAVE seen this problem before but not in 25+yrs. Did you give the wibbly monitor power while it was still cold? If so I think you were the one to cause this problem. I’ve seen it in a Commodore 64. Not the monitor of a Commodore 64 mind you, but the actual computer. Worked fine, and then it was left in the freezing cold and then immediately plugged in. After that point it would do the same wibbly stuff yours is doing now with any monitor it was hooked to.

    Not the same exact thing you are describing but there is a computer in a modern monitor. Giving a frozen computer power really can screw it up.

  24. Slothfulcobra says:

    Abstract monitor problems are the WORST. At least you can replace it. My laptop monitor has been occasionally blanking out and the best I can figure is that it’s somehow related to the climate.

    Modern hardware is so complex that it’s really hard to figure out these crazy things. Sometimes electricity just takes a day off.

  25. Utopiav1 says:

    These chaps work wonders with broken tech, they don’t seem to have any guides for AOC monitors, but maybe you could get in contact with them? Or see the monitors that have been repaired on their site, get enough know-how to do exploratory surgery yourself?

  26. Had this same problem with an AOC monitor, fixed it by using DVI.

  27. Shamus if you are pondering a new monitor then you might want to take a look at the ones listed here:

    Adaptive Sync/Free Sync monitors are now appearing.
    Here is the list ( from that url)
    ACER “‹”‹XG270HU “‹”‹ 27″ “‹”‹2560×1440 “‹”‹144Hz “‹
    “‹BenQ “‹”‹XL2730Z “‹”‹ 27” “‹2560×1440 “‹”‹144Hz
    “‹”‹LG”‹ Electronics “‹29UM67 “‹ 29” “‹”‹2560×1080 “‹”‹75Hz “‹
    “‹LG Electronics “‹34UM67 “‹”‹ 34” “‹2560×1080 “‹75Hz “‹
    “‹Nixeus “‹NX-VUE24 “‹24” “‹1920×1080 “‹144Hz “‹
    “‹Samsung “‹ “‹UE590 “‹ 23.6″, 28” “‹3840×2160 “‹60Hz “‹
    “‹Samsung “‹”‹ UE850 “‹”‹ 23.6″, 28″, 31.5” “‹3840×2160 “‹60Hz “‹
    “‹Viewsonic “‹”‹ VX2701mh “‹”‹27” “‹1920×1080 “‹”‹144Hz “‹

    Of these I’d probably look at the BenQ of Viewsonic.

    Also note that only GFX cards that support DisplayPort 1.2a fully are able to send framerate independent frames to these monitors.

    As of writing this, these are those cards:
    All AMD Radeonâ„¢ graphics cards in the AMD Radeonâ„¢ HD 7000, HD 8000, R7 or R9 Series will support AMD FreeSyncâ„¢ technology for video playback and power-saving purposes. The AMD Radeonâ„¢ R9 295X2, 290X, R9 290, R9 285, R7 260X and R7 260 GPUs additionally feature updated display controllers that will support dynamic refresh rates during gaming.

    For a machine only playing video then the older AMD cards listed are fine, you “should” get rid of odd 24, 25, 29.97 frame rate stuttering issues as the monitors can now sync up to the actual framerate/individual frames.

    If you want to game though you need a GCN 1.1 (Graphics Core Next) or later card as seen listed above.
    Intel and others GPU makers will also follow suit (eventually Nvidia too I suspect).

    Oh and do note you need to update your AMD drivers to take advantage of this.

    Mouselag should be gone too, (or become an obsolete problem).

  28. Vorpal Smilodon says:

    I feel like they must be delaying Half-Life 3 to come out alongside VR at this point, Valve must have invested fairly heavily in that tech right?

  29. MalthusX says:

    Archive viewer from the future here, and appreciate the ordering so I could finish this saga! Last week, the last Half Life writer left Valve, so HL3 (or at least any original version for it) is most likely dead. It’s OK though, as they are bringing paid mods BACK (yes they already tried them and yes they were awful).

    Also, I had a horrible ViewSonic monitor when I was a teenager, and even seeing the name now gives me ghost feelings of knives being driven into my head via my eyesockets. I hope the monitor worked out though!

    1. What says:

      You realise you can’t talk to the people in the past right? Is this just a bad joke or do you genuinely think commenting here will communicate with people reading this page 3 years ago?

  30. Armstrong says:

    I’m sorry to say this, but Half-Life 3 appears to be more or less dead in the water. All the important project leads have left Valve, and Gabe Newell himself has been making “just give it up” comments for over two years now. We did get some closure in the form of a lengthy “what was planned” blog post made by the (retired) lead writer, though.

    1. What says:

      You’re kidding, there’s 2 of you clowns? You and that screwball MalthusX need to work on some new material ‘cos this stuff ain’t funny, or learn how linear time works. Either way stop it.

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