Today in technology

A week or so ago, I bought an Auria EQ276W 27″ IPS Monitor – this is one of those very high resolution IPS monitors you read about, but instead of having to buy them from dodgy unknown companies on eBay like the “Catleap” monitor that everybody is raving about, it actually comes from a brick and mortar store with branches all over the country. It is the brightest, sharpest, most beautiful monitor I’ve ever owned in my life. I haven’t been this excited about a monitor since I bought a then top-of-the-line Iiyama 17″ semi-flat CRT monitor.

The monitor needs either a dual-link DVI or DisplayPort to drive it at the full 2560×1440 resolution. The nVidia GeForce GT430 video card I bought when I bought this motherboard has dual-link DVI and HDMI output, and the on-motherboard video has DVI, DisplayPort and HDMI outputs and I was sort of hoping that I could hook up both of my existing 21″ monitors to that, and maybe buy another one of these monitors in the new year and drive it off the DisplayPort, but it appears that when you have a video card, the onboard video is disabled and can’t be turned back on. However, I was pleasantly surprised that the HDMI port on the GeForce card still works, so I can still have one of my two 21″ monitors working. There is a second PCI-X slot on the motherboard, so there is still a possibility of having a second one of these lovely 27″ monitors some day.

There are still a few flies in the ointment. Every time I have to reboot the computer or just log off and log on again, I have to re-tell Kubuntu that I want the left monitor to display its own stuff, not a rehash of the first 1920×1080 pixels of the big monitor. The weird things is that when I check deep in the bowels of the .kde directory, I can see that it has saved that xrandr setting, but then when I log in it doesn’t seem to get applied. Also, every so often when the screens go to sleep, only the small screen will wake up again. Which is inconvenient, because the menu bar with the log out button is on the big screen. So far, every time it’s happened I’ve managed to wake it up again by hitting shift-control-F1 to switch to one of the virtual terminal logins, and then hitting control-F7 to switch back to the graphical screen, although last time I had to do this several times before it woke up. Oh, and I should mention that the monitor’s own on-screen menu won’t show up if it doesn’t think there is any input signal, which is stupid because one of the functions of the on-screen menu is to switch which input signal it should be looking for if it doesn’t manage to auto-detect it.

Another tech thing comes with living in an old plaster and lath house. My wifi base station puts out two signals, the conventional “Tomblin-Robinson” (TR) on the normal frequency band (2.4GHz?) that 802.11b, g and n all share, and the higher speed “Tomblin-Robinson-5G” (5G) which uses the 5GHz(?) band that only 802.11n uses. I prefer to use “5G” one because it’s noticeably faster, but down in the dining room, both bands show one or two bars of signal strength, but they’re actually unusably slow. And Vicki uses her laptop mostly in the dining room. So I installed a “wireless repeater”, which picks up the signal in the library, and repeats it. It creates a new network called “Tomblin-Robinson-EXT” (EXT). I’d prefer not to use it, because every packet it sends out has to be picked up by the repeater, and sent out again on the TR network, and then the base station sends it out to the internet, and then the response comes in, and gets sent out on TR, then picked up and repeated on EXT. So the presence of EXT slows down RT and EXT, and using it slows them both down even further. If there was only a way to run a wire from the base station to the repeater, the slowdown would be less, but there isn’t any way to do that in this house. But seriously none of this would be a problem if in the dining room, the TR and 5G networks would just show 0 bars instead of 2 bars, because then my laptop and iPad would automatically switch to EXT when they needed to. But instead, I have to manually switch between them, and I usually only remember to switch when I’m sitting at the dining room table wondering why my Weight Watchers app is stuck in “Updating Points Tracker”.

My work project, which is currently being done in Perl, looks like it’s transitioning to Python and Django. That’s great, because I’ve been looking for an excuse to learn Python. A few weeks ago O’Reilly Books was having an ebook sale and I bought a couple of Python books. I was amazed that O’Reilly has an option now where for delivery they’ll just drop it in your Dropbox, because that means that they can update it when they want. Unfortunately, it turns out that the Python books I bought are all for Python 3, and Django only supports Python 2. So it’s off to find older versions of those books or other books that still cover Python 2. (And I wonder how long it will be before somebody writes a book about the Django framework with the word “Unchained” somewhere on the cover?)