[Mma] Re: computer room complement to UMK grant: 3466 PLN

Boud Roukema boud at astro.uni.torun.pl
Tue May 11 14:00:25 CEST 2004

Hi Roman,

On Mon, 10 May 2004, Roman Feiler wrote:

> I just thought that connecting new monitor to a new Athlon XP computer is much
> better idea than connecting it to a diskless 486/586 machine...

In the request, we already have a 19" monitor requested for the Athlon XP.
i agree with this.

The two extra monitors are to replace the two screens which i consider
to be of unacceptable quality.

> "Fuzzy" 17-inch monitors you talk about are relatively high-standard - they were
> the best class in TCfA just 1-3 years ago ;)
> Even considering that their parameters degraded they are still sufficient for
> a few hours of work in 1024x768 resolution. What can help is to put a kind of
> curtains/verticals on windows in the lab.
> Of course the students who work in high resolutions for extended periods
> of time would need a new (larger) monitors, such as one which will
> be bought with the server. But such a use requires also computer and video
> adapter capable to use 80-85Hz refresh rate at >= 1280x1024 resolution - probably
> none of the machines from the lab can support this now. That's why I think it is
> a good idea to spend money assembling another modern computer.

Many of the younger students are uncomfortable with having to make the
transition from "pen and paper computers" to "digital computers" - but
they will not really be able to do modern astronomy and learn to think
physics for themselves and select and analyse observational data if they
do not learn how to use digital computers. i am not interested in teaching
astronomy like a priest - people in the Faculty of Theology can teach that
way, that's their business.

> Besides, some (most?) of the problems with 'bad quality display' are not related with quality
> of the monitor, but arise from incompatibilities between Solaris & Linux, such as different
> fonts, font names etc. This will end when students get their own Linux server.

IMHO the two screens which are fuzzy have intrinsic hardware problems,
similar to what i have seen in other laboratories (at the Sussex Uni
Astronomy Centre, one member of faculty made the comment that fuzzy
screens were OK for students - in this case it was Solaris on Sun hardware,
so there was no question of font incompatibility).

In any case, i think Andrzej Kus has accepted our request for another
modern computer (instead of a UPS) - this means we *will* still lack one
acceptable quality monitor, at least in the short term,
(we are asking for one server + 19" monitor under the UMK grant,
one computer + two 17" monitors from CA-UMK sources, and presently have
two fuzzy monitors: that means at least one computer - old or new - will
have a fuzzy screen).

So if we really can get Debian to make an acceptable quality display
on one of the fuzzy monitors, of course that would be great.


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