December birthdays are funny things. When I was a kid, I would always get the "Well, this is your birthday present and your Christmas present combined," but the present was the same as my cousins would get simply for Christmas. I wasn't sure that was fair then, and in retrospect I am darn sure of it, but as an adult it's different. Magi's dad has always been very generous to me for my birthday, and Magi and I have a simple agreement about Christmas. We usually keep our gifts for each other down to $100 or so, and then do something together for our house or family. So this year when I wanted something a little larger, I was able to combine resources to manage that. I have to say it feels better as an adult to combine birthday and Christmas gifts!
This year I wanted a new monitor for my computer. I've been using Magi's 10-year old hand me down Trinitron monitor since she got a laptop, and it's just not big enough to effectively view the comic book DVD-ROMs she bought me for my birthday. I can see the full pages, but I can't read the printing at that size. If I enlarge the images enough to read it, I have to pan and scan over both pages, which is kind of a pain, especially when it's a double-page spread. So I bought this monitor.
It's a Samsung 22-inch widescreen LCD monitor and quite simply, it rocks! I bought it Wednesday, and in minutes I had the drivers installed and was playing City of Heroes on it. The resolution is just amazing at 1280 x 1050. The brightness is great, and City of Heroes just got a whole lot more fun. The buttons and trays that normally took up too much of the screen to keep track of what was going on in the game now take up less than 10% of the entire screen and it's easier to see details that I have been missing all this time.
Using Photoshop just got a whole lot easier, too. There have been times when an image I produced with the Trinitron didn't look the same when I got to work and used an LCD monitor, and now I can even see details that the one at work didn't show. DVDs look better in full widescreen too. I'm also seeing differences in websites that have been designed to adjust to a widescreen resolution. Some of them go to the center of the monitor, and some of them anchor firmly on the left side.
The only problem with the whole thing is that the scans of the DVD-ROM comics look like crap because the resolution of the monitor is better than that of the scans! Ironic, since that's what I wanted it for in the first place! I'm still really enjoying it, though.