ThimphuTech was the first technology blog in Bhutan. We started writing it in 2009, just as broadband and mobile internet started to take off. (Although internet in Bhutan was launched in 1999, it was either super-slow or super-expensive, and was only used by a selected few).

In the blog, we wrote about technology and food, but also about plenty of other stuff. The blog became popular and influential in Bhutan. A companion bi-weekly column -- Ask Boaz -- was published for many years in the Kuensel, Bhutan's national newspaper. (The complete Kuensel columns are available as an ebook, Blogging with Dragons).

We stopped updating the blog when we left Bhutan in 2014, but the information within the posts can still prove useful, and thus we decided to keep it online.

We thank all our readers.
Tashi Delek,
Boaz & Galit.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Distorted Display? (K2 #29)

Question of the Week
My friend and I have identical laptops but for some reason my laptop screen doesn't look as sharp as my friend's. Images are shown stretched and a bit blurred. Why is that?
-- Ms. Prem, Jaigaon

Dear Ms. Prem,

I've seen this on a lot of laptops in Bhutan (and elsewhere). Distorted display is usually the result of a missing or incorrectly configured display driver. A display driver is the piece of software that is responsible for managing the display. Each laptop model requires a specific display driver to control the screen.
Here are the Indian support websites for the most popular laptop models. On the website, you will often be able to download and install the display driver after entering the exact model name. Some websites (e.g., Lenovo) can auto-detect the laptop's model.
If the correct driver is not installed, or is not set up properly - as is often the case with pirated versions of Windows - you will often not get the full benefits of your screen. Distorted display is not only a cosmetic issue but can strain your eyes and cause headaches.

Each screen is made out of pixels - tiny dots set up in a rectangular grid (you can often see these dots if you look at the screen really closely). The higher the screen's resolution, the more pixels the screen contains. If your screen's resolution is specified, for example, as 1280 by 800, then your screen has 800 rows of pixels and each of these rows has 1280 pixels. However,if the appropriate display driver is not installed, Windows will not be able to take advantage of the full resolution and a distorted or blurred image will appear.

The best place to find out information and drivers for your laptop is the manufacturer's website.
To check and fix the current resolution on a Windows XP machine, right-click on an empty area of the desktop, then select properties. In the Settings tab, check the "screen resolution". On Windows 7 machines, right-click on an empty area of the desktop, then select screen resolution.
Go to the manufacturer's home page, select the country (I usually select India or Thailand - depending on where the laptop was purchased), then look for a link called "support", "downloads and drivers", or something similar. Once you enter the laptop's exact model number (which is usually printed on the laptop's bottom cover), a link to the latest drivers - including the display driver - will be presented. Follow the instructions, which will typically involve downloading and installing the driver. Note that this is also the place to get drivers for your laptop's other hardware, such as sound card and wireless adapter.