What gives?

Why is it so hard to get a new monitor in this town? Since shortly after Heather and I bought this handy-dandy laptop, the monitor on our desktop PC has been broken. It worked, and then it stopped working. As it gets closer to my next prelim exam, we decided it was probably time to replace the monitor so that we could both work at home without arm-wrestling for the laptop.

Monitor 1: Circuit City. NEC 97F. I should have known we were in for trouble with this one, because I couldn’t find information about it anywhere online. Sure, people are selling it in a few places, but noboby seems to have ever turned it on. While it looked fine on the display in the store, we found it to be fuzzy and generally poor quality. NEC, what is this thing? Status: returned.

Monitor 2: Ultramedia Computers, Inc. *. KDS XF9C. Kept this one for a week, before the fuzziness got to me. Status: swapped, for:

Monitor 3: Ultramedia Computers: ViewSonic E90f. I really want to like this retailer. They sell good hardware at good prices, and they’re local, which is a really big plus because I just don’t like to buy most things via mail—shipping adds up quickly, especially when you’re returning heavy, expensive things like computer monitors. But two strikes is disappointing: the ViewSonic is sharper, for sure, than the KDS, and it seems to be more solidly constructed than either the NEC or the KDS (the KDS wobbled on its tilt-swivel base when nudged gently on the side), but it has one significant problem: Flicker. I don’t know whether to believe the specs on the box, on the web site, or in the user manual, none of which seem to agree on the refresh rate of this monitor. In any case, at 1280×1024, the flicker made me sea-sick after about half an hour, and that just isn’t okay. Status: Boxed up, waiting for return.

Anybody have any suggestions? Anybody?

[See the resolution to monitor quest (including an unfortunate experience at Ultramedia).]

* Updated 12/17/2002: Tucson’s retailer Ultramedia Computers, Inc. (referred to prior as simply “Ultramedia”) is not the same as Phoenix multi-media/education outfit Ultramedia. I received a cordial note from Ultramedia’s owner asking me to clarify this point.