A Quiet Weekend at my Getaway Home

Tagged as Displays, Hardware, Personal
Written on 2007-11-03 03:14:02
First off, I'd just like to thank everybody who commented on my last post. There was some lively discussion and I feel like I benefitted from all that. Thanks.

So, Mom and Dad have me house sitting. That's cool with me though because they have a cozy little place and it'll give me an excuse to cook and eat real food which is always fun. I don't get to try cooking much.

In other news, this week had more going on than I would've liked but I've persevered and all told I'm doing pretty well at School, Work, etc. Now, with that out of the way...

I've been thinking about hardware and software lately, as usual. Some of this is related to the recent PS3 purchase and some of this is just...unrelated...to anything really.

On the hardware end I've been thinking a lot about display technology. See, I have this nice idea that I'll buy a monitor that I can use for my video game console(s) and my PC and I can never need to own a TV. The problem with that is that display technology is completely ridiculous. 10 years ago it was easy. With CRTs things were pretty fixed. There were a few good manufacturers and you got one of those models in the price range (size) you could afford and that was it.

Ever since the invention of the flat screen that possibility has gone out the window. Which isn't to say it's unbelievably hard to find reasonably priced (and very lightweight/sexy) flatscreens, more that there are tradeoff costs involved that I don't remember being present 10 years ago. Specifically, you pretty much have a scale with speed (response times) on one end and picture quality (color reproduction, etc) on the other end.

Regardless of what you are told on the box, you are trading some of one for the other on some level. Now some of the nicer picture quality leaning displays have pretty good response times and some of the nicer speed leaning displays have decent color reproduction but you still have that trade off.

But then there's this one other problem...you have to remember I want to use this as a TV for my game console. So it needs some form of video-in besides VGA and DVI cables. S-Video or HDMI would be preferable though Composite(RCA) or Component would probably be fine too. This pretty much narrows my choices to two displays, the BenQ FP222WH (which has HDMI) or the Dell 2007WFP (which has S-Video and Composite).

Now, my personal leaning is to the Dell 2007WFP regardless of the fact that the video quality isn't as good as the almighty HDMI. The thing is though then you have to figure out how to get that pesky audio out into your desktop speakers...and then what? A switcher appliance? Or manually unplugging and replugging every time you switch between systems? Elegance is such a tricky thing. I just can't help but feel like better solutions should exist in this space. Maybe Apple will finally make a games console and make it easy on all of us.

That said, the PS3 I do find to be pretty amazing because for all their stupid mistakes, and there are plenty, Sony has made it a pretty good and VERY open system. The only remotely closed thing they've tried to do is lock out access to the RSX (the video card) via a hypervisor.

I've never quite understood the rational behind that decision but I read this week over on dave airlie's blog that some progress is being made at getting access to it and working 3D in spite of that. He's a hacker working at Red Hat by the way for those of you who may not know. Anyway, I found a wealth of programming resources for the PS3 and look forward to playing around with those when I get a chance.

That's it for now. I'm taking the weekend off. But I'm prepping two very exciting articles for next week, one is about my generation's value judgments and the other is about shifts in the hardware market (mostly GPUs and CPUs) and upcoming architectures. Which one would you guys prefer first?

PS: Bria Rose, every time you send me a mix CD God unkills several thousand kittens and Prince makes Doves Cry. You are awesome. Now, like I've said, come home.
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Unless otherwise credited all material Creative Commons License by Brit Butler