Adjusting the Color on a Dell Studio 1747 Laptop

Out of necessity for working out of the office and on the road I decided to buy a Dell Studio laptop with some extra bells and whistles. My upgrades included an ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4650 1GB video card to go along with the upgraded 17.3 inch Full HD (1080p) B+RG LED Display with TrueLife. All in all the computer is fantastic even if it doesn’t compare to quality of my MacBook Pro.

Having a large screen with a high resolution is important to me since I use many programs that have palettes that take up a lot of real estate; upgrading to the HD screen was a must. I’d never had a laptop with an LED monitor so I didn’t know what to expect, but the reviews that I’d read were excellent so I was looking forward to seeing what I was paying for.

I fired up the machine for the first time and was surprised at how incredibly bright the image was. I mean this thing was super bright with extremely vivid colors. Too vivid, really. All the colors seemed to be blown out with the reds being the most saturated. I lived with it for a couple of days before I could investigate how to tone down the colors using methods other than the brightness controls on the keyboard. Unfortunately I found that I had no idea how to adjust the saturation levels of the individual colors. There was an obvious control panel in the Catalyst Control Center for gamma, brightness and contrast but I didn’t see anything for saturation.

A lengthy search gave me an answer. In the Catalyst Control Center for ATI there is a drop down menu in the upper left portion of the control panel. Select “Desktop & Displays”.

Then right-click on the screen that you want to configure, selecting “Configure”.

Here you will find the hue, saturation, brightness and contrast controls for the monitor. You can find what works best for you, but after comparing calibrated desktop LCDs and my MacBook Pro I found that the settings that work best for me are as follows:

Hue: -1
Saturation: 82 (I currently have mine at 80, but 70-85 works)
Brightness: 1
Contrast: 101

In the “Options” pull down I suggest you make a new profile using the profile manager for each of the settings that you mess with so you can always go back to one that works for you.

Now lets go mess with the gamma, brightness and contrast of the individual red, green and blue colors. Go back to the “Graphics” menu pull down and select “Desktop Properties”.

I found that it was best to adjust the colors individually rather than the “All Channels” method. Remember though that I was calibrating it using other monitors as a guide and I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted by adjusting the colors as a group. Here are the adjustments that worked best for me.

Red gamma: 1.10
Red Brightness: -20
Contrast: 97

Green gamma: 0.90
Green brightness: -5
Green contrast: 96

Blue gamma: 0.90
Blue brightness: -7
Blue contrast: 95

If you made the adjustments as I have then you should see skin tones less pink and oranges and yellows that are truer to life than they were before. Photo editing should be a little easier and video games or movies will have truer color.

I hope this was helpful to somebody. Personally I feel that a monitor and video card should work well immediately out of the box with little to no adjustments. I definitely think that there shouldn’t be a need to make such extreme and particular adjustments to a computer that is to be used primarily for video and photo editing. Color accuracy is extremely important, especially for photo editing. So whether it be the default settings of the video card or the inherent properties of an LED screen that are the problem I feel that one of the vendors needs to make adjustments to the default settings to the hardware or software.

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Seattle Business Trip Turns Working Vacation

Sign pointing to the rotary grocery at Pike Place Market.

As someone who hasn’t traveled much or seen many cities through vacation or business, it never ceases to amaze me how attractive and entertaining so many cities are. Having lived in San Diego for almost 8 years I thought that I resided in “America’s finest city”. But I think that I’ve been wrong in my thinking.

Lately I’ve traveled to Chicago, Philadelphia, and most recently Seattle, and in each one of those cities I’ve found a charm that simply doesn’t exist in San Diego. Yeah, yeah, San Diego is beautiful with La Jolla, Balboa Park, the Gaslamp District, and all of it’s other wonderful attractions that are activity-related. But there’s no real charm to any of it like what I have found in other cities.

After visiting Seattle these last few days I felt an enthusiasm about visiting different places that I’d never felt before. Even when I moved to the West Coast from D.C. I didn’t feel this much excitement. A few factors added to this excitement so I wasn’t influenced entirely by the city. My friend Cecile was there and she invited me out with her Phamily to celebrate her birthday early, and we had a great time eating and drinking and then eating again. And if you know me you’ll know that I love to eat even if I can’t eat a whole lot.

The original Starbucks brandishing their original logo of a twin-tailed siren.

We started my first night there at Maneki in Chinatown/International District for sushi and the initial celebration. Afterwards we went to Zig Zag Café, which is the home of the Best Bartender in America. I had a single drink and a sip of everyone else’s, but the best drink was one that was served last: they called it a Bison Grass Sour. I looked this thing up online and the recipes I read didn’t look anything like what we were drinking, but this is a drink that I have to have again. Bison Grass vodka, lemon, sugar, and egg white to create a kind of meringue which made this possibly the greatest drink I’ve ever had. It was a liquid dessert. Yum.

Our last stop at Toulouse Petit turned in to a food orgy. I’m not lying. There were 10 of us crammed in to a booth waiting to order our [late] Happy Hour smorgasbord and I wasn’t positive that I was ready to eat again. Turned out that I was. We ordered a ton of food that I thought was going to be too much for us, yet we attacked that food like we were sharks and it was Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Well, it was Shark Week and it was on the flat screen behind the bar, and we were doing our best to keep up with those eating machines. The plates of food came and went in about 20 minutes. It was awesome.

My first night in Seattle was nothing short of a foodfest and I ate the rest of my time there. The next day I met up with everyone for lunch at Pho Bac and we ate their family’s Vietnamese cuisine. Asian goodness like that can’t be passed up so I didn’t. From there I said my goodbyes to my friend Cecile who would soon be leaving for Sweden and God knows when I would see her again.

Entrance to the fish market where they are famously known for throwing fish.

Heading down to Pike Place Market was a must from what I was told. What I was told was 100% accurate. I’ve been to farmer’s markets before but they don’t hold a candle to Pike Place. If I was any less smart than I am I might have been convinced that I needed to stay in Seattle for the rest of my life to enjoy the sights and smells there, but I knew that the sunshine and great weather that I was experiencing wouldn’t last in Seattle; eventually it would be replaced by overcast skies and rain that would last the majority of the year. Instead I just enjoyed it for what it was and planned to make my way down there again on my last day.

Today was my last day there and after I fulfilled my duties assigned by my employer I ventured downtown again, only this time I went south on 1st instead of heading to the market. This is where I fully realized that San Diego was one boring city compared to the likes of Seattle. So many shops. So many bars and restaurants. So many galleries and places of interest! I didn’t think that I had time to take the Seattle Underground tour, and once I got to the airport I realized that I was mistaken and had plenty of time after all. So I’ll save that for next time.

Lesson learned: I need to get out more. Seattle will definitely be on my list of vacation spots (July through September for the great weather) for next year. Until then I’ll be looking in to other places of interest that I’ve blown off for one reason or another.

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Detachable Friends

For the most part this has been a decent year. As long as you don’t count the fact that I have a newfound ability to easily to detach myself from friendships that have lasted for several years. Starting in February up until now I’ve ended two, and I’m well on my way to a third. If you consider that then it’s been a pretty shitty year. So let’s not consider that.

My friends are detachable. They don’t know this, but they are. For me to see people like this is quite a breakthrough since I used to be that guy who wanted to hold on to relationships so tightly that they would slip through my fingers from the pressure. But recently I’ve discovered that letting go during repeated incidents of betrayal, distrust, and/or seriously poor judgement can save me a whole Hell of a lot of heartache and pain. He said she said? No, thanks. Choosing sides of an argument before hearing both sides? Nah, I’ll pass. Yeah, it’s best to just let go.

Wouldn’t that be great if we could just break off friends like a train can detach the cars that it’s dragging behind it? Think about it. When a train is dragging a lot of cars behind it it becomes a slow-moving vehicle that requires a lot of energy to build up speed. And when it finally gets up to speed it takes a lot of energy to slow down or change directions as well. This all requires a coordinated effort from the lead locomotive, possibly requiring more than just one, resulting in a giant thing that is slow to move and hard to slow down. It’s inefficient really.

Now imagine a locomotive on its own. That sucker should be able to get around pretty quickly by itself, and if need be has the ability to pick up extra cars in various new and interesting places. Not only that, but it has the ability to drop off said cars should it find that it’s being slowed down too much. Just break those suckers off and so that it can continue on its merry way. And if it wants to change direction it doesn’t have to slow down much at all when it doesn’t have the needs of the dead weight that it’s carrying behind it. The ability to move around freely (with the exception that it’s on a track) becomes very easy.

Yep, I want my life to be like a train. Pick up people throughout my life and drop them when I’m bored with them or they get bored with me. Don’t create any long-lasting relationships, just simple and uncomplicated connections that can be broken off whenever you feel necessary. How wonderful would that be? Think of all the drama that could be avoided.

Steam: redeems itself

Over a month ago I wrote about Steam and how they suspended my account with them over a charge that was accepted and then returned 6 weeks later. It took a lot of investigating on my part and CapitalOne’s part with very little leeway from Steam to bend their policy.

The problem was with a transaction procedure that wasn’t followed correctly on Steam’s end that somehow raised a red flag with CapitalOne 6 weeks after the DLC expansion pack for the game Borderlands was made, and was then deemed fraudulent by CapitalOne. Weeks of going back and forth with CapitalOne got me nowhere and I was going to lose hundreds of dollars worth of games over a returned online purchase of $6.69.

After sending several letters to Steam support practically begging them to let me purchase the expansion pack again I was handed off to a second member of the support personnel. He informed me that he spoke to his supervisors and that they were going to allow me to make good on my intentions and attempt the purchase again. Screw CapitalOne, I just used my bankcard so that if there were an issue they would call and let e know rather than dispute the charge and not tell me. Turns out I was blaming the wrong people for the problem.

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Who do you tolerate?

Several years ago during a heated conversation that I was having with an ex-girlfriend she told me that “no one will ever tolerate [me] the way that [she] does”. Aside from the several other things that were said in the course of the fight this one statement really stood out. I never thought of myself as somewhat that needed to be tolerated in order to be with me. For several years I believed that I was so intolerable of a person that I was a burden as well. Well, here I am years later and I realize now that what that ex said to me was the biggest “fuck you” I think I’ve ever heard. The memory of that argument was stirred the other day at a work lunch when some of us were asking some personal questions. When two people that I work with stated that the most important attribute of their partner from their last relationship was that they were tolerant I got a little worked up.

Miriam-Webster’s definition of tolerance:

1 : capacity to endure pain or hardship : endurance, fortitude, stamina
2 a : sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own b : the act of allowing something

The discussion continued with me arguing that tolerance in an intimate relationship is not something that should play a big role in that relationship. It should play a small part, like tolerating that your significant other clips his or her toenails while in bed. I argued that I tolerate my co-workers and family because I don’t choose to be around them as much as I am forced to be around them. So if I am choosing to be with someone in a loving relationship then tolerating them is going to be the last thing on my mind. I want to enjoy their company, not endure it.

The conversation just fizzled because I was up against one guy in particular that knows everything and talks over everyone. I continued to talk and called him an asshole twice quite loudly but he didn’t hear me because he’s so self-involved and can’t be wrong. He proved my point in a way because I was tolerating him as well as I possibly could.


Movie Gimmicks – Latest 3D Craze (Hopefully) Won’t Last Very Long

After spending $14.50 to go see the latest 3D movie Clash of the Titans, I’ve decided that any tickets that I buy for 3D movies will not be purchased hastily. Or enthusiastically.

The 2010 remake of Clash of the Titans is nothing more than a reminder that some movies should be left alone to the original no matter how strong the casting. The hasty and last minute inclusion of the 3D version of this movie left me with the foresight to not be inclined to see the 3D version of any of the new movies coming out this year. Half of the film could have been viewed without the use of the special glasses and it would have had little effect on my viewing pleasure. Without the glasses the images are much brighter, more colorful, and even though they weren’t as sharp (due to the 3D depth imaging) they were still very watchable.

With this recent 3D craze comes the promise of previously released movies that are getting converted to 3D and will eventually get re-released in to theaters to be seen at ridiculously high prices. New movies are way too expensive today as it is so paying to see an older one for the price of a new one is insane. I’m hoping that in a year or so people will tire of seeing all these gimmicky releases and 3D will become something special, not some over-priced cash call for the movie industry. With some luck it will fall by the wayside the same way smell-o-vision and percepto did.

Healthcare Reform and America’s Terrorist Attacks

This is gonna be a short one.  I just need to say that all the vandalism and hateful acts on America’s politicians are completely uncalled for and hypocritical of American citizens.  The same American citizens that have a hatred for the terrorist acts carried out by extremists all over the world.  We will surely tear ourselves apart if we keep up this pace.  People may not be getting hurt or killed with tactics like placing a coffin on a politician’s lawn or making death threats via phone calls and hate mail, but it’s still terrorism.

Shame on us, America.  Shame on our government for strong-arming the healthcare reform on us, and shame on our citizens for reacting violently in lack of support for it.  Republicans, Democrats, Liberals, whatever.  We’re supposed to be more civilized than this.

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