Tuesday, May 17, 2005
It’s Size That Counts
I recently purchased a Dell Inspiron XPS Gen 2 for work. This computer is incredibly powerful and feature rich, right down to the multicolored, controllable LED lights in the speakers, fans, and back of the screen. Keep in mind that Dell categorizes this as a desktop replacement, not a laptop or notebook. It is large, weighing in at 8.6 lbs. with the battery and optical drive, and measuring 15.5”W x 11.3”D x 1.67”H. The 17” widescreen is nothing short of breathtaking, impressing even those who have had 17” widescreens on their portables for some time.
The problem I am having is the size of the text on the screen. The smaller icons on the toolbar and task tray don’t bother me, and most fonts are adjustable. But most applications don’t use the windows font sizes when using their own fonts, and even Windows itself is not perfect in allowing settable sizes. I don’t want to reduce my resolution because it makes the screen less sharp. Luckily, the nVidia graphics card has software that allows me to use hot-keys to zoom in and out when necessary. My primary function is computer programming and all of my compilers allow me to set my font size, so this won’t bother me most of the time.
I’ve heard rumors that Microsoft wants to change the font mechanism in the next version of Windows so that it is vector based instead of pixel based. This would solve the resolution vs. text size issue. It may just be the one thing to make it worth upgrading for me.
Update: Being that my computer is new, I’m still exploring some of the software that came with it. It turns out that nVidia has a cool utility that changes font and icon sizes that I haven’t been able to change myself. I’m encouraged that there are probably registry tweaks I could make if I want, but for now, I’m pretty happy with the changes the nVidia utility made.
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