Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mounting Flat Panel Monitors

After getting rid of my CRT monitors in favor of flat panel monitors, I couldn't believe how much space I freed up on my desk. I'm still a big fan of CRT monitors because they simply have a better picture, much in the same way that a vinyl record gives a deeper and richer musical experience as compared to a compact disc recording. However, the differences between CRTs and flat panels are becoming smaller and smaller and, for my needs, the space saving attributes exceed any complaint I may have about quality differences.

I recently decided to take it one step further by mounting the flat panels to the wall in front of my desk. Not knowing the first thing about how to do this, I googled for the manufacturer of the monitor thinking they had some sort of "wall mount kit". Well... they did have a nice kit, that enabled the monitors to swivel on a ball joint, but it was about  $100 before shipping, which comes to a little less than 50% of the cost of one of my monitors. I could buy a third monitor for what the mounts cost. In addition, I don't want my monitors to swivel on a ball mount. I wanted something that would mount my monitors nice and flush to the wall to free up as much space as possible.

I couldn't find anything else simply because I'd never dealt with flat panels before. On a whim I went to my friendly neighborhood Video Only. I figured they get questions like that all the time. I wasn't optimistic though, as I assumed that each manufacturer had a different mounting scheme for their monitors. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the sales guy informed me that, with the exception of Phillips, every flat panel monitor and TV used a standardized mounting scheme! Yay for standards :-)

About ten minutes later I walked out of the store, the proud owner of two new "Sanus Systems Vision Mount Flat Panel TV Wall Mount" kits. Model number was VMFL1b-01. These babies were exactly what I needed. Total cost: about $25.00 each. I got out of there for about $55.00 including tax. The wall mount went from about 50% of the cost of the monitor to about 12.5%.

(Actually Video Only had one in stock and had to order in the other one. They called me the next morning and said it had arrived about 5 hours earlier than they'd promised. We managed to get over to pick it up that night about a minute after they closed. The sales guy doing after hours inventory saw me run up to the door, and was nice enough to run back and grab it for me, rather than force me to come back the next day. I have nothing but praise for Video Only. These guys really work hard for their business. The deals are fair, the sales people are knowledgeable and they don't annoy you with junk you don't want.)

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Big Pharmaceutical

Surprise surprise, the pharmaceutical industry spends twice as much on marketing as it does on research and development. The details can be found in this article. I really wish this got more press than it did. At least I don't remember hearing a lot about it from the mainstream press.