My life with my desktop workstation has been a long-term experience of tolerance and endurance. All too similar to its predecessor, it has successfully carried on the tradition - to this day - of generating endless problems of hardware stability. Following the episode of transplanting a real man's video card into the system to solve my virtual and multi-monitor desktop woes, there was something that I had been tolerating for the past half year.
The replacement GF6800GS card also featured a DVI and VGA db15 port. The video output from the db15 signal had vertical ghosting. Any vivid vertical line, like window and widget borders, and text, would appear slightly double imaged. Reading became a headache-inducing affair on that monitor. I tried hard to place unimportant windows (which did not require much reading) and watched videos on that monitor, but could not avoid the recognition that a software developer's use of multiple monitors is different from a stock market analysis.
I do not monitor graphs and charts or blinking lights. I read and write text on email clients, IDEs, browsers, SDK help pages. It is all text.
So today I finally caved in bought a dual-DVI GF8600GT card to give my eyes the break they deserve. [Side note: my main purchase today was actually an AT-SATA power plug converter because my very first DVD writer (circa 2004) died last night and the only spare drive available was a SATA-based model. But no, I am not complaining about this drive. It was a "natural" death.] On inserting the new card I realise only the right monitor displays the boot-up visual sequence; the left monitor - which was peviously using the db15 cable - simply had no signal. I brushed the worry aside and proceeded with the installation of the drivers. Fortunately, the second time Windows booted up, the left monitor could be configured to output its display. Phew.
Until I started making additional configuration.
My left monitor was the primary monitor but with this new card, the right monitor is the default primary. After assigning the left as primary, I gave the computer another restart and observed strange behaviour. Since on startup, when Windows and the nVidia display driver are still not invovled, the boot sequence is shown on the right. When the Windows driver kicked in, the left monitor was blank despite receiving a video signal. So the black curtain has been pulled over my eyes to blind me from the truth of the logon screen.
So what? I am a keyboard commando who has gotten himself out of trouble with melodic keyboard talent. I logged into Windows blind like Stevie Wonder plays the piano. Hail me. The activity of programming blind, though, is still quite a challenge, but I am working on it.
Ok, so I am logged in, but the left monitor is still blank. After playing around with the nVidia control panel a bit and unbuckling my hip holster to communicate my intent, I managed to persuade the left monitor to give up its details. What is happening? I decided to try an experiment - swap the DVI cable inputs between the monitors - so that the left monitor is the primary monitor right from the beginning. On second reboot, the left monitor still comes out blank.
On a separate aspect, the left monitor with its new DVI input appears to display with a lot more brilliance value than the right monitor, which appears dull and grey like an old monitor when juxtaposed with the left. It is almost as though the left monitor was exploding with joyous "oh thank you!" to me for feeding it with a digital signal now, but at the same time feeling awkward with having to deal with this new language and not behaving consistently like it did with the db15 signal. And then, the right monitor which used to have superior image quality all along suddenly appears jaded and bored.
Perhaps naming this computer "DIABLO" was not a wise move after all. My next desktop shall be named "GABRIEL".