For quite a while now, I have had a 24 inch monitor. I have it connected to a junction box that lets me switch my mouse, keyboard and computer between the three machines I have. The only downside to all of this is that my junction box is pretty old. It only supports PS/2 mouse and keyboards and VGA monitor cables.

On the plus side, it works. But on the down side, the monitor supports a 1920x1200 resolution and try as I might, I could never get my screen size that large. I installed the drivers, uninstalled, reinstalled, etc… and it never would let me go past 1600x1200. While Windows would show everything, text was not sharp, colors seemed a bit different and light gray lines that separated objects (think table borders) simply would not draw.

Then last Friday I got a DVI cable and connected it in. Windows then let me change the monitor to 1920x1200 and WOW - what a difference. Colors are bright, fonts are sharp, I can see 100% of the UI. It really is like having a whole new machine.

Here's a quick sample of what I had before:

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And after:

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This is just the "Rename" command off of the OneNote section tab. Worlds of difference.

The only caveat to all of this is that I have to manually switch the monitor input when I connect it to the older machines I have which do not have DVI outputs. They still use the VGA connector and I need to find a way to cable this all together so that I only have one place to switch machines I am using.

The other lesson learned here is that hardware differences can make an impact on testing. If I report UI bugs to our developers, I will be sure to follow up on how their machines are connected if they see different screen elements than I see.

And this new monitor cable now wins the contest of cheapest upgrade that has the highest impact for my computer!

Questions, comments, concerns and criticisms always welcome,

John