22 June, 2008

What the young can teach us.

Mirrored from The Flying Brick Commentary over on Microsoft's Spaces. Hey. It's a blog.

It seems strange, but even given the length of time I've been banging around computers, I still have plenty to learn. This fact got brought home to me when my sister in law rang me with a problem her (nearly) 3 year old son had instigated. The phone conversation began with:

My delightful son has hit a couple of keys on the keyboard, and managed to turn my screen upside down. How do I get it back the right way up?

I hadn't heard of this particular little wrinkle of Windows, though it made an insane sort of sense once I thought about it for more than two seconds. Of course, her son couldn't tell her which keys he'd managed to toggle, given he's barely saying "buhss" for bottle, and "pahpah" for brother (you have to think a bit for that one). So it was up to me, the resident techmonkey, and Google Search for Microsoft problem. Thankfully, the problem came up in the first couple of hits I looked at. You see, given the key combination Ctl-Alt-Up or Ctl-Alt-Down (I'm not sure which), Windows will then go and flip the screen that way up. I vaguely wonder if Ctl-Alt-Left and Ctl-Alt-Right rotate the screen? I ought to try it, just to see if my poor old Win XP Home System with a CRT can actually do such a thing. Last time I tried it under Linux, the system locked up and I had to reboot. Yeesh.

One of the hits states

This doesn't work with all displays—only with certain drivers that have this provision for rotation.

Obviously her display supported it. To the best of my sketchy knowledge, I had thought that only certain LCD screens and laptop screens actually supported such an idea, though it turns out that it's a function of the display driver, not really of what's connected to the video output connector. Her screen is most certainly a CRT, and wouldn't have supported it unless the driver was able to do the job.

So, I learned something new today, from a three year old!

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