Spacecrab's Journal
LB in SF
For tru-geeks only: shadow walking the Worlds of the ICC 
5th-Jul-2010 08:48 pm
lenny
Presented with a three-day weekend in which I didn't have to grade student papers, compose lesson plans, or work on IT course design for my night-job, it would seem I've managed to discover another timesink way to geek out, instead of partying with friends and eating hot dogs.

But, in my own twisted mind, there was something fannish and noteworthy in the experience. So I've decided to record it.

To appreciate the story you need to know that I love working with my Dell Inspiron E1705 laptop, the possible scorn of Charlie Stross notwithstanding. Every time I use the machine, I feel a sense of well being that I am working with a good tool. In particular, the LCD display is (or has been) perfect to my subjective aesthetic senses. I appreciate, on a daily basis, the pleasant experience the LCD provides to do my work, scroll through blogs, and browse scanned comic books.

Two weeks ago, my perfect (or near-Perfect) LCD developed some stuck pixels near the edge of the screen. Giving in to an obsessive-compulsive impulse, I called Dell and complained, so they arranged to ship out a replacement LCD.

On the day that Dell replaced the LCD, I was teleported from my world of RGB-CYMK perfection into a hell-dimension of generally decreased luminosity, over-blue blues, and distorted gamma correction. The green headings and yellow-green background of my LJ were replaced by shoe-polish greenish black foreground and yellow-white background. The familiar maroon/dark brown banner and luminous light blue/ink blue colors of Making Light were distorted into some unknown parallel-world color scheme. And let's not even talk about the new RGB colors of scanned images.

So what was wrong? The old LCD was fine in booting from the same OS settings.

Google is my friend, and I learned. This particular Dell model ships with LCDs produced by three manufacturers: Philips, Samsung, and Sharp. The LCD that I used and loved until last week was a Sharp model. The replacement was a Philips. Google yielded up numerous complaints about the Philips model - its "sparkle effect," "light leakage," and instability.

Dell was willing to replace the LCD again, and my technician recognized my request to send either a Samsung or Sharp model. But when replacement #2 arrived, it was another Philips with the same miscalibrated display colors.

Necessity is the mother of invention. The foregoing tale of woe is the prequel to my weekend experience, wherein I learn to shadow-walk the Worlds of the ICC.

First principle: If one has determined that one's LCD is living in a Shadow Dimension, one must fix one's mind on the location of the true color homeworld. (See http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/)

Second principle: One must obtain the necessary shamanic talismans to walk between worlds (or more prosaically, to create an International Color Consortium color matching profile for one's monitor).

Then, one begins the journey: "Arsenic, Ash, Bistre; Cadet, Sable, Silver;" "Army, Electric, Emerald, India;" (narrow the channel) Office, Olive, Pear. Single Channel Gamma: 2.2, 1.8, 1.0! Oof! Looks like the Spacecrab homeworld! And over at the Nielsen-Haydens, dark blue foreground text on light Ciel/light Carolina background -- with Maroon banner. That looks like a recognizable version of ML, too.

*Sigh.* Coffee house closing. Time to go home and get ready to go back to work. And maybe order a Sharp LCD from EBay, if I can't convince Dell to stop sending me Philips units.
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