A Long, Cool Monitor in a Black Frame, or Game Tech Wins Again #amwriting

I was already convinced by gaming headsets. Who cares if they have LED decorations that pulsate in poisonous green? They are comparatively inexpensive, have excellent noise attenuation, great microphones, and decent sound, for far less than, say, a Bose noise-cancelling headset.

Well, I have been converted by LG’s UltraWide gaming monitors, specifically the LG 25UM58-P.

The LG 25UM58-P UltraWide monitor

When I first encountered one of these petite (25 inches diagonal) monsters I thought it looked so strange that I couldn’t imagine why anyone would want it. But it was part of the shared monitor pool at my co-working venue (Kleverdog), and I decided to borrow it one day. Then I started borrowing it every time I went to Kleverdog and someone else hadn’t checked it out first. Finally, I asked for one for a wedding anniversary present. (Yes, ok, other women ask for diamonds. I ask for computer hardware. Hubby is used to this by now. Every once in a while he asks if I’d like a nice diamond instead, but this time he simply, charmingly delivered.)

It is nothing short of amazing to work with a nominally standard HD resolution (1080p) monitor that is so crisp. Not only is it crisp, it’s crisp in CinemaScope. Seriously. This beast has an aspect ratio of 21:9. CinemaScope’s narrowest aspect ratio was 2.35:1—or 21.15:9, less than one percent wider.

Crisp is wonderful, and as for wide, it’s like this:

Evernote and Wikipedia share the screen. Each has all the horizontal space it can easily use.

Scrivener has a full-width editor pane, a full-width outliner pane, and still has room to display both the Binder and the Inspector wider than I ever displayed them on my old monitor.

All my communications apps share the screen. Again, each has all the horizontal space it can easily use.

Technical difficulties:

The older model 25-inch LG UltraWide I used at Kleverdog had a DisplayPort input, which worked perfectly with my MacBook Air 11’s Thunderbolt 2 port. But newer LG models only have HDMI input. With a proper cable, HDMI 4K to Thunderbolt 2 (rare, but they can be had), this would not be a problem. But I have only a 1k HDMI cable, which connects to my Mac via a Mini DisplayPort (not Thunderbolt) to DVI adapter, connected to a DVI to HDMI adapter, all of ancient enough vintage that 2560 x 1080 support at 60 Hz refresh rate is out of the question.

The solution: A little utility called SwitchResX. This tool is not for the faint of heart, because it asks permission to modify your MacOS system files, even if only the resolution store. Fortunately, I found a complete set of instructions, Running 2560×1080 on LG 29UM57-P on an old MacBook Pro OSX El Capitan. I had to follow each step exactly, but the happy result was a set of 53 Hz (down from 60 Hz, but really I can’t tell the difference) resolutions that I can use with my old cables. So now my desk at home is graced with a monitor that is physically smaller than my old 1920 x 1080 ViewSonic, but which is so much easier on the eyes and more versatile at displaying apps that every day I marvel. “Wow! I can read that! And that! And that! I can make my text smaller!”

OK, I’m easily amused. But still. A long, cool, monitor.

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