The Voltage in the Dell

A mysterious current led me to the perfect multipurpose monitor

3 min read

I just can’t squeeze two screens into my living-room home office, sharing it as I do with two small boys, their train sets and games, and a tank full of aquatic frogs. So last year I sought out one display that would do everything. My seemingly simple search turned into an engineering detective story that would ultimately involve three companies, four monitors, a helpful executive, and a tutorial on the nature of electric current.

It wasn’t much of a quest at first: I quickly settled on a US $999 27â''inch Dell 2707WFP with decent resolution, which I could plug my digital cable box directly into. Then I noticed horizontal pink bands that moved slowly through the television picture. The problem stumped customer service at both Dell and Time Warner Cable. Still, Dell swapped the monitor three times. Time Warner changed my set-top box and then my cables. Nothing worked. It was time for Google.

Keep Reading ↓Show less

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions

Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
Vertical
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar
DarkBlue1

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

Keep Reading ↓Show less
{"imageShortcodeIds":["31996907"]}