For many, many years, I have enjoyed my screen resolution the way it is, which is 800 by 600. I’m one of those people who can get by without reading glasses, but if I change the settings to the next highest level (1024 x 768), reading text (I’m using a Dell 17 19″ LCD monitor) becomes uncomfortable. I can still read it, but I have to hold back my head and squint.

So what’s the big deal? No one is forcing me to change anything, right?

Wrong. Not only do a growing number of software programs (especially video editing) refuse to work at all in 800 x 600, but a growing number of blogs (more and more all the time, it seems) force me to scroll from left to right in order to view the entire page. It makes for uncomfortable reading, and often makes it impossible to see a paragraph in its entirety. Worse, some blogs have advertising and sidebars which are in conflict with the lower resolution, causing untold amounts of garbage to be overlaid on what I want to read.

As if that’s not enough, the latest phenomenon consists of annoying popup advertisements which cannot be closed, no matter what I do, because there is no little “X” box for me to click. Even if I scroll it will not appear, because it is rendered beyond the resolution. Which means that if I really, really wanted to read that bloody blog post (trust me, that sometimes happens), I have to close the browser, go to my screen settings, change it to 1024 x 768, then reopen the post, read it, then go back and reset the damned settings!

I realize this is a very petty annoyance, but I find myself wondering not only whether I am alone, but whether there is a growing, um, “conspiracy” to force people like me to change their screen resolution. I don’t mean to be facetious, as am quite serious. Web designers seem condescending at best, and intolerant at worst. But even if they grudgingly “allow” 800 by 600, what about those ghastly individuals who design deliberately sadistic popups that cannot be closed?

(I try to be reasonable and I’m willing to scroll left and right to read a post, but sorry, there is something about having to change my resolution simply to close a popup that is so beneath my dignity as to be degrading.) 

If you think I am exaggerating about the condescending attitude, think again. An older geek discussion titled “What about the 800 x 600 resolution people?” sounds almost Culture Warrish… A more recent discussion noted that  “more than a handful of developers at GAWDS feel that 800×600 support is a bit out-dated and no longer needed as it once was“, yet advocated keeping 800 x 600 support for the stubbornly backward handful. Another geek post titled “Is it time to ignore 800 by 600 resolution yet? seems to gloat with anticipation of the final demise of 800 by 600. Ditto this WordPress geek forum: “Do we really care about 800×600 people?” Another site notes sourly that “the 800×600 screen resolution just refuses to die.” You’d almost think that these avaricious web developers think people who like 800×600 are some kind of assholes who are holding back progress. 

Why might that be? Who benefits? It’s like, I really don’t think I am doing anything wrong here; I only want to be allowed to continue to do what I have done for at least as long as I have been blogging, which is to enjoy my computer’s screen resolution in the privacy of my own home. I only want to be able to easily read text that other people have written. Is that really so bad? Am I asking too much of the damned world?  

Or is it time for me to consider a New Year’s resolution to end my favorite resolution?

The problem is, I’d like to be able to have my resolution and keep it too…

AFTERTHOUGHT: As an experiment in self torture, I just now changed my resolution to 1024 x 768, and it is so annoying I can’t wait to change it back.

So much for that resolution.