Widescreen monitor day 2


Not quite worth it.

Yesterday I listed various good things about the widescreen monitor I bought then.  Today I will talk about what didn’t work so well.  Initially, Sims 2.

That is not really a big deal if you have two fairly good computers, as I have. In fact, I usually play Sims 2 on the other computer. It is slightly slower, but it is out to the side so I can keep half an eye on it but still do my writing on the primary computer.  The only reason I played it on the quad-core computer this time was that I wanted to see how it looked in high-resolution widescreen, and then it looked so good I wanted to continue to see it that way.  That was not to be, however.  After a while, it crashed.

The first crash came unexpected, and with a tiny cryptic error message saying something about 3D.  I’ve gotten used to playing for half an hour or more between saving, so I lost some progress.  And a few minutes later it crashed again.

After a few crashes, I gave in and installed the specific drivers for this monitor, from the CD that was hidden at the bottom of the box. Until then, the monitor had shown up as generic plug-and-play monitor. I hoped the problem would be solved now. Also, occasionally when changing screen resolution (including going into Sims 2) it would crash iexplore.exe, which includes the start menu and the task bar, as well as any folders that happened to be open at the time.  I would then have to close it using task manager.  (This is on Windows XP, I am not sure you can close Vista with the task manager. Then again I am not sure you need to.)  I expected all these problems to be fixed by installing the driver.

As you can guess, I was wrong.  But more than that, the next or second crash took Windows with it.  It showed a Blue Screen of Death blaming a driver named NV4_disp.dll.  So I went online and looked for a solution to this.  There were many different solutions, none of which worked.  The most common was to delete all graphics drivers and remove all traces of them and then install the newest driver for the video card.  I already did this a few days ago to get Age of Conan to work.  Doing it again had of course no effect on the Bluescreen.

(Incidentally, I have not tried AoC in widescreen. I am sure the game supports it, but one day of AoC was enough for me for now. If I enjoyed heart-pounding danger, senseless murderous violence and barely censored adult content in a disturbingly lifelike world, I would go to bed earlier so I could remember my dreams.)

Unfortunately I have not found any solution to the NV4_disp problem. What I have found out is that it takes too much time to play Sims 2 on my main machine so I can’t do anything else while the game runs.  So I have moved it back to the computer where it belongs. Although I do miss the big pretty highly detailed screen while playing it.  There is a tiny little temptation to replace the old LCD monitor for that machine with a large new widescreen too. It was an early model, and there are no Vista drivers to it at all.  And isn’t the picture getting a bit dark?…

Widescreen monitor


With the onset of summer heat, what could be cooler than to replace my last CRT monitor with a new energy-saving LCD monitor?  Especially if it has twice the screen area despite taking up less space on my desk.

So after a LiveJournal friend assured me that City of Heroes runs great on widescreen monitors, and knowing that Sims 2 does the same, I went to my favorite electronics shop. They had a HPw2228 at a rather affordable price (by Norwegian standards), certainly much less than I used to pay for smaller monitors in the past.  And I have very good experiences with HP products in general.

Despite my reference to summer heat, it was actually raining today. No great loss, since it did not rain hard and I would have been drenched in sweat even if I was not drenched in rain.  The monitor is not THAT heavy, at least compared to the old CRT, but when you carry them for some minutes it starts becoming quite good exercise.  So much more since my arms are less exercised than most of my body.

I came home unharmed and switched the monitors. I did not even turn off the computer or log out, although I did save stuff.  That was probably a wise decision, since iexplore.exe died on the spot, taking with it the startup menu and the task bar.  Luckily I could still log off in a dignified manner using ctrl-alt-del and choosing the appropriate menu choice, in this case restart.  The machine recognized the monitor without me running the CD that came with it.  Well, perhaps not perfectly.  I have had one more iexplore crash since, and several Sims 2 crashes.  I may eventually install the driver, perhaps. Actually I don’t plan to use this machine much for Sims 2, but I do it now because I wanted to look at it.  It is awesome. These things are seriously habit-forming.

They are also known to increase productivity more than an increase in processor speed or hard disk space, according to a study a decade or two ago.  Being able to see more stuff on the screen at the same time is quite useful, sight being by far our most information-dense sense. It certainly helps when playing City of Heroes, but the study was about office work. Having reference works open while you write seems another obvious use.

Hopefully this will be enough justification for now. It is midnight again!