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:
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:
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.
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.
 My aging eyes aren’t good enough to appreciate super-precise colors or refresh rates above 60Hz.
 I guess technically CRTs did this all the time, only much faster.
 Not the one with seizure disorder, in case you’re worried about that.
The Brilliance of Mass Effect
What is "Domino Worldbuilding" and how did it help to make Mass Effect one of the most interesting settings in modern RPGs?
The Mistakes DOOM Didn't Make
How did this game avoid all the usual stupidity that ruins remakes of classic titles?
Good Robot Dev Blog
An ongoing series where I work on making a 2D action game from scratch.
A horrible, railroading, stupid, contrived, and painfully ill-conceived roleplaying campaign. All in good fun.
Grand Theft Auto Retrospective
This series began as a cheap little 2D overhead game and grew into the most profitable entertainment product ever made. I have a love / hate relationship with the series.