So we make another stab at this here monitor crisis this morning.
The first place we went to had a bunch of monitors... all of which were of a brand we had never heard of, so we decided to pass.
Office Depot had a good selection, and it was amazing how much difference it does make, when you see stuff side by side, how colour is rendered and how bright or washed out things appear on screen as compared to three or four right next door. We discussed for a while the merits of going "Wide", but then agreed that for our purposes that was probably not an essential. Pity, because I got rather attached to a Gateway 21" wide - I might well have just bought that one, for myself, and hubby could have my current 19" LCD... but that would be an extra couple of hundred bucks which were not necessary to spend. So we decided to do a bit of comparison shopping and went down the mall to BestBuy.
They had a whole wall display of these things - again, some wide, some normal square. One of our friends who is a definite tech authority and whose opitions we respect said he owned a Samsung which he was very happy with - so we looked at a couple of Samsungs.... and finally settled on one of them, which was carted home and installed, and (touch wood) things appear to be working well.
But the other monitor, the one that died, was not old - it had not come with the original computer, which was 2004 vintage, and was ordered later so it was late 2004 or even early 2005. It should NOT have died like that. So I phoned Dell tech support.
After going around in circles for a while (can you troubleshoot with me? well, no, since we disconnected the dead monitor - the operative word being DEAD - and installed a new one, and I was not about to disassemble everything and reattach the old monitor only to have teh tech support person be happier about the fact that itwas in fact DEAD - something I had to repeat twelve times before it sank in) and they kept on talking in terms of "if we troubleshoot we can see what the trouble is and we can send you a part" and my questions on my qualifications to disassemble an LCD monitor in order to install a spare part seemed to go unanswered... I THINK we finally agreed that they would be sending... something... within the next five business days. It might even be a new monitor. If so, we're ahead fo the game...
Either way. Situation normal. We can all breathe a sigh of relief.