Papa’s new rig: Now with more cowbell!

I mentioned the other day about how I got a new computer. I love it, but a little part of me was disappointed that I couldn’t afford a nice new monitor to go with it. It may feel like a new computer, but without a new monitor, it didn’t look like one.

Last weekend Ger was, for some reason, flipping through the classified section of one of those local neighborhood newspapers. There, wedged between “For Sale” ads for old lawn mowers and surfboards was this:

“21-inch flat panel monitor. Great condition. $50.”

Ger showed it to me and I arched one eyebrow in suspicion. I’ve always found that if something seems too good to be true, it’s not true. But I called anyway, curious to find out what the catch was (and maybe a little hopeful that there wasn’t one).

The next day the guy called me back. He said that he lived right up the road in Eastlake, which I recognized as a nice neighborhood. This was a good sign, as I’d had images of some guy down by the docks in the “old” (read: “bad”) part of town, who would claim that the monitor had “fallen off a truck.” It turned out that he had bought a whole bunch of computer equipment, including two of the 21-inch monitors, from the city of San Diego at an auction. The monitors were flat-panel CRTs and not the nifty space-saving LCDs that I really wanted, but it was still a great deal. I told him I’d be by in a few minutes.

On my way out, Ger looked me in the eye and said, very clearly, “Only buy ONE of those monitors, Jamie. I mean it.”

“Mumerla,” I said, slipping out the door before she could retort.

I bought both of them for $80.

After a trip to Fry’s to pickup a couple of parts, I hooked the suckers up. Fortunately my new video card supports dual monitors, so it was just plug and play and then fiddle with the brightness/contrast and color settings for about an hour.

Here’s the evolution of my monitor situation:

My original 19-inch monitor. Pathetic.

With one new 21-incher. Okay, but I GOTTA HAVE MORE COWBELL!

Dual 21-inch monitors. Ahh, much better!

It’s working pretty well, but I’ll have to get used to the two monitors again. For those of you who don’t get it, my computer desktop is spread out across both screens. If I drag a window off the left-hand edge of the right-hand monitor, it appears on the right-hand edge of the left-hand monitor. See? I had this setup when I worked for GameSpy and loved it. Computer hardware was literally just lying around in piles back then, and whatever you wanted to piece together was pretty much a-ok. The only issue with my setup now is that there’s a bit of “ghosting” happening on one of the monitors, where extra lines will appear around objects. Oh, and I hard to rip off the top half of my desk.

Now, of course, the next logical step is dual 21-inch, flat-panel, LCD monitors. I figure we can afford it if we all three rotate who gets to eat dinner on any given night.

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