Author Topic: The Big Cookie Cutter  (Read 2665 times)


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The Big Cookie Cutter
« on: July 21, 2012, 09:45:48 am »
I am becoming very tired of industry associations deciding what I "need", regardless of whether or not I really do.   A case in point, and the object of my wild eyed rant today, is the literally total disappearance of monitors and laptops in the old 4:3 format.  Now,  realise that the television industry has long had a problem with wide screen movies being displayed on normal screens.  It has always meant the  editing out of content at the screen's sides.  So I would guess that the move to 16:9 screens made a lot of sense when a totally new digital TV standard replaced analogue.  It even makes sense for PC monitors and laptops for the Homer and Marge Simpsons out there who use their PCs (any one of which has more sheer computing power than the NSA could fit in an entire building in 1980) as television sets and game boxes.

BUT....  There are those of us who actually USE our computers to do REAL WORK, and for us, the shallow, wide screen ca be a royal pain.  I write fiction and I do fine art photography in my retirement from being a sys/lan/administrator and ISSO.  It is possible, on this old Cmpaq Presario 2200 laptop to see in decent size, an entire letter size page of typing.  On my HP Pavilion laptop, same width, it is difficult to read.  In the case of many programs, web browsers word processors, spreadsheets, email, etc., the upper and lower margins, toolbars, etc., use up as much as a third of the screen height.  This is particularly true of mailers like Thunderbird and Evolution.
Is it too much to ask of manufacturers that they produce at least a few reasonably priced laptops and home monitors in the old format?  Thomas A. Edison gave it a lot f thought more than a hundred yeas ago when he chose 4:3 as the format for his first movie camera ad projector and his format as persisted as the most practica for general purpose displays to this day.  Maybe, just maybe he was on the right track?  You guys in the industry; just for fun ask the engineers at Chrysler why they stopped making skyscraper talfins.  The answer is that they were ugly and impractical.  That also was the reason that Kodak gave up on 116 and 616 rollfilm cameras in the 2.5x4.25 format by 1950, and that 17:10 format is uncannily close to 16:9.

Feeling like a square peg hammered int a round hole...


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Re: The Big Cookie Cutter
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2012, 03:52:32 pm »
I agree.  I was using a IBM T42 with a 14 inch screen and wanted to upgrade to a machine which had an outdoor-readable screen, so bought my current machine (specs are below), which has a 15.9 (or some such) screen, thinking it would be taller.  But no, it was shorter and wider.   And the battery life on my new machine is so short that I really can't work outside for long anyway.  Life goes on. I think Lenovo still makes a 14" laptop.  Anyway,  I check out the 14" Lenovos on ebay every once in a while.  Perhaps I will get one. 
VL7.0 xfce4 Samsung RF511


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Re: The Big Cookie Cutter
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 11:42:21 pm »
Same opinion about monitors here - using an old ThinkPad R40 with a 4:3 screen and only CRT monitors in 4:3 and 5:4 formats on the desktop computers. I totally agree to the point about web browsers and mailing programs, the overview is just so much better. Some people argue that the 16:9 aspect ratio was closer to the aspect ratio of a human's field of view, but what does it help when it's not even looked at on the sides because the content is centered in the middle.

Same goes for my TV, an old CRT from the 80s. Older shows just look so much better on a 4:3 screen. Also because CRTs have highly superior black levels and colour quality compared to the most flat stuff out there.