Category Archives: Hardware

LG IPS224V-PN monitor overview

LCD Monitor

I decided to get a new monitor the LG IPS224V-PN and I like it quite a bit.

First impressions

My first thought :) was that the stand could be a more rigid. It is OK, but on a desk that moves a bit, a wobble is noticeable. After I got it plugged in, the second thing I noticed, was that the color was real yellow, or rather the light was. Older LEDs can emit this din and I was a bit worried at first. Fortunately I was able to adjust it satisfactorily. A few of its specifications:

Details Value
Contrast ratio 5,000,000:1
Resolution 1920×1080
Response time 14ms
Input D-Sub, DVI, HDMI
Output Headphone


Setup was easy and monitor calibration was real straightforward and quick too. I adjusted the hardware settings as thus:

Setting Default New
Brightness 100
Contrast 50 76
Color Temp Custom Cool

I use the color temperature of cool to help balance the yellow din of the LED bulb. I did try it the normal temperature that did good with pictures if not too much white was in them:

Setting Default Alt.
Brightness 100
Contrast 50 67
Color Temp Custom
Red 50 46
Green 50 46
Blue 50 59

Ultimately I choose the cool temperature.

Other impressions

The power buttons is a large half-circle with a bright, refracting light. It is very noticeable and flashes when the monitor is in power-saving mode. It is real nice but if it is in the bedroom, like mine is, I ended up having to cover it up.

The monitor has IPS and it really does help improve the viewing angle and accurate color reproduction. I got this display for reading and it is good with that. It also is good with pictures at least as far as my mostly-professional eye is able to see. The 14ms response time, I think, is a bit on the high end for video watching. Videos will show a bit of “ghosting” but is good enough for me.

Monitor Hardware Calibration


A calibrated monitor will help images feel more natural and will help ease eye strain with tasks like reading. It may be preferable to some that when a new monitor is acquired to have it calibrated. This is a guide to show how to do such.

My Experience

I read documents on my computer all the time and occasionally do graphic design work. I appreciate having a calibrated monitor. I have a background in developing color photography which has helped my eye to recognize correct image reproduction. I have also worked for computer laboratories that has allowed me to calibrate a good number of varying monitors. Others will know more than me, however, this should be a good layman’s approach.

Monitor Setup Knowledge

  • the monitor should be left on ten+ minutes to let the bulb warm up to its standard operating color
  • the monitor’s angle at which it is viewed is important, for older or less expensive monitors a non-direct view of a few degrees can effect the display image… angle the monitor so that it is perpendicular to the eyes
  • hardware calibration should come before any software calibration, and software calibration only when necessary… hardware calibration would be helped if software calibration were disable beforehand
  • some monitor controls are extracurricular, eg better flesh tone or crushing black levels… for initial setup these controls should be turned off
  • some images are scalable so they can be view accurately at full screen, I would recommend doing so to help with one’s attention

Gamma Correction

Gamma Correction is an adjustment of the mid-luminosity level of the bulb to correct for a light source that is unique (ie not the sun) that the natural eye adjusts to non-linearly. A monitor that needs Gamma Correction the display will look light and glowy; excessive Gamma Correction will look dark and over-saturated. Most monitors today use the 2.2 sRGB Gamma Correction standard.

The test image displays four channels for setting Gamma Correction: a composite, red, green, and black. This image will need to be viewed in its original size, ie 100%, for it to work correctly.

Some monitors have Gamma Correction controls; for others it may be tied to the RGB controls… and some monitors will require to have it set with a software program. Adjust the controls up and down and match the circle luminosity to the surrounding area.


If changing the RGB controls do not effect gamma, I would recommend a software calibrator; proper gamma correction is essential to proper monitor output. For Linux xgamma can be used, and Windows has its own calibration tool. (As a side note: this test works because the brain averages the black and light lines of the background to an aggregate luminosity; the circle is a 73% luminosity.


Contrast, sometimes called Picture or White Level, defines the luminance range of a monitor. A contrast that is high would have lightness-values extended to black or white; a contrast that is low would lightness-values toward middle grays.

The test image displays columns of circles with increasing lightness toward the center of the image. The center circle has a lightness of 254/255; the background is a pure white of 255.

Begin the test by turning down the contrast to zero, then turn it up until circles begin disappearing; turn down the contrast again until the most inner-most circle that is capable of being displayed is displayed. This defines the maximum contrast. The monitor might only be able to display some of these upper contrasts, an acceptable amount I am told is the 245 of 255 range (the third outer-most circle). For certain monitors high contrasts values may alter the temperature of the bulb.



Brightness refers to the power level of the bulb, its physical brightness. Black level refers to black reproduction, or more elaborately the accuracy of displaying the lowest shades of black. The brightness setting may have an effect on both.

The test image displays columns of circles with decreasing lightness toward the center of the image. The center circle has a lightness of 1/255; the background lacks lightness of 0/255.

Begin the test by turn up the brightness to 100, then turn it down until circles begin disappearing; turn up the brightness again until the inner-most circle that is capable of being displayed is displayed. This defines the minimum brightness.

For brightness, I like to recommend reading light level. A good light to read a book with is a good light to read from the screen. What feels comfortable to the eye is usually better.


Black should be black and the shades near it are nice if visible too. A lower value acceptable for this is probably 10/255 again. If turning the brightness down has no effect on the black level visibility, leave it at the top or what is comfortable to the eye.

Color Balance


Fine tuning color balance can take years of practice to develop a trained eye–reds can look purple, cyan can look green…

The test image displays a variety of grays. If the images lacks the feel of being gray, adjust the RGB controls from 100 down to fix. Play with the controls up and down and get a feel for the color. Our eyes naturally adjust to the conditions they are in so this test can take time to learn how to do well. Periodic breaks can help reset the eyes. To fine tune the color, more can done later with the overall image, also the Gamma Correction test image can be of help adjusting color.


Fine Tuning

neutral chroma-free gray scale. This is the most critical component of monitoring and is accomplished through a White Balance Adjustment–Bennet Cain

After all the controls have been set I recommend going back and fine tuning them if necessary. I have been told that flat-panel monitors controls function independently. This means that one controls adjustments effect only that control—for CRT monitors control settings were dependent meaning that other controls could be effected by another control. To be sure of one’s settings though it is good to go back and check that all the control settings feel right.

Below is the skin tone test which works well for an additionally test to determine color balance. Skin tone is a good test for image reproduction.


Software Calibration

Fine-tooth calibration of a monitor through software calibration can help a monitor display more accurately. Otherwise, software calibration should be avoided–it is a second level adjustment and inaccurate at that. Software calibration, for example, can look like it is bringing in those blacks that the monitor originally could not display, but what it is doing making a two black in to a ten black. Software calibration also is a dependent control; for example, adjusting brightness with a software calibrator will effect contrast. The only acceptable software calibration to me is Gamma Correction and EDID.

EDID information is supplied in the monitor’s ROM. It contains information representing how accurately the monitor is able to produce color and lightness. EDID information is meant to be grabbed by the Operating System and used as an ICC profile to better render the display and share color information with other devices.

Software Video Players and the Plunging PLUGE Line

CRT monitors, generally for television, if setup deliberately for video production, used PLUGE controls to “black-crush” the bottom 7.5 IRE (7.5% visible luminance spectrum). This could have been done originally because early CRT monitors had difficulty displaying this value or possibly it was done for dramatic effect; I have yet to learn why. Some DVD players are able to produce an IRE below 7.5. It may be necessary to calibrate a “black-crush” on the software video player to render videos correctly.

To Do

  • Use an ffmpeg Command to Create Video from Images

See Also

Acer Aspire 5560G-7809 Laptop: A Gamble Worth Taking

Typically it hasn’t been recommended to buy an Acer, at least in my circles. From the surveys I’ve seen generally Acer rankings are last of the major computer manufacturers. Astonishingly they rank close to the top of units sold. When I saw this, I deduced that Acer likely made possibly shabby computers sold at basement-prices to a portion of the population that was virgin. So I’m not sure what I was thinking when I bought my Aspire laptop except, “If that’s true, thats a really good price; I have to have it.” I had been using a ten-year-old laptop up to now so this was by best shot to the moon orbit.

I heard about laptops that were “Desktop Replacements”. I was hoping to find something in that area: a powerful-ish core in a mobile unit (with a decent gaming card). I’m not sure the Aspire 5560G-7809 [1][2] would qualify as one officially but performance in Windows and Linux is good (at least as best as I can qualify from a 10-year-old laptop perspective). The basic specs:

Processor AMD A6-3420M Quad-core 1.50 GHz
Memory 4GB DDR3-1066/PC3-8500
Hard Drive 320 GB SATA 5400rpm
Optical Disk DVD-RAM/±R/±RW-Writer
Screen 15.6″ 1366 x 768 Glossy LED
Graphic Card Dual-Graphic -/AMD Radeon HD 7670M

All this for $550 dollars from TigerDirect. The closest comparable model was from HP for $750. I was really recommended to change the RAM speed so this was the first thing I did. Along with the laptop I bought a two stick pack of PC106-1333 8GB memory from PNY for $41 dollars only to have it be non-compatible (or I guess it could have been busted [but passed memory test]). After that I got it from crucial because of their Guaranteed-compatible promise and the speedup is noticeable.

I admit that I got the 5560G because of the graphic card to be able to play games, it was extremely appealing to me. The Notebookcheck tests on it seemed to me to be real good for a mobile graphic card. I was able to get into Dungeon and Dragons Online and the playability was good with the auto-detected medium-high graphic settings. Been thinking about SWTOR, hmm.

I’ll probably one day get a Solid state Drive down the road for it, the 5400 hard drive speed is definitely hard to miss at times. The one from crucial sounds pretty appealing, at $170 dollars though ughh, and I’m not sure I can live with 125GB.

The screen is nice and bright and seems to have good color replication though it does have a limited-gamut and viewing angle (a typical 1366 x 768 these days I’m told). It uses an LED which is nice; glossy, not so. Having it be so reflective worried me at first I was real surprised though when I turned it on how it made that shiny virtually indistinguishable.

Keyboard and touchpad feel good. The keyboard is full-size and key pushes offer an easy, uniform resistance. I really like the touchpad. The surface provides a nice bit of friction for feedback and the size fits really well. Wish manufacturers would get away from touchpad tapping on as default however (be nice if even there was a hardware way to turn it off).

The look and balance is nice as well (if you can’t tell the look from the photos). Doesn’t weigh too much and doesn’t feel off-kilter like other laptops I’ve experienced. The hinge is sturdy and pivots nicely.

Pluses and Minuses

  • + Price
  • + Graphic Card
  • – 5400rpm Hard Drive
  • – RAM Speed
  • – USB 2.0
  • ? USB port in front of DVD-writer


Site note first: I can’t believe I am saying it but I like Windows7. It’s well put together and has good help. Out of the box everything worked pretty well. What can I say though, I like hacking; plus I love open-source.

I’m not sure how I got so lucky buying this but after installing Linux everything just worked.

Western Digital My Book Essential External Hard Drive on Linux

I decided to sell my desktop computer and use my laptop exclusively, I had no need to keep another computer and since I was only using it for doing backups I decided it would be better to save some space.

I choose to get a Western Digital because they have been so reliable to me in the past. Of the external hard drives available at Wal-Mart it initially appeared not the be the best value. A Seagate right next to it was also a terabtye in storage capacity but also had USB 3.0 capability for only $15 dollars more. The WD Essentials has only USB 2.0 and I know that 3.0 is supposed to be considerable faster than 2.0. However, for me, my laptop is only USB 1.0 so this didn’t factor into it; also, because I am only using this for backups, time isn’t much of a factor and I prefer to have the reliability of the Western Digital name.

The My Book Essential HD has a capacity meter on the front to display how full the disk is. I learned though, unfortunately, that this only works through the Windows driver and using the NTFS file system. Because I’m going to be using this for backups on Linux with ext4 this feature isn’t available.

Since I have a Windows system installed I retrospectively learned that it is a good idea to install the driver/software for the drive there to setup the drive for only the reason so that I could disable the VCD. The Virtual CD Drive is a built-in memory chip that registers to the operating system as a regular CD drive. On it it contains the driver/software installer and manual. As far as the driver/software goes its nicer than I’ve seen of other hardware’s software, it was lightweight, easy to use, and with no frills. For Linux though the driver/software is unecessary as it is automatically recognized and working out of the box. I disabled the VCD drive with the Windows software though to keep the VCD from popping up when I loaded my Linux desktop.

I ran a S.M.A.R.T. conveyance test and extended test on it then did a thorough badblocks write test that took about 24 hours… all tests passed.

Formatting to ext4, the drive works perfectly in Linux without any additional configuration (besides noatime. I’ve been using the hard drive the last couple of months and I’m real happy with it: it’s small, quiet, and has done it’s job without a hitch.