I'd like to see that

From Nick Jenkins
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"I'd like to see that!" - or "things I would like to see":

Wanted: Software to detect the maximum refresh rate that a CRT monitor can do[edit]

There is software to set the exact refresh rate for an operating system, down the individual hertz (e.g. nvrefreshtool in windows). However, there does not seem to be any software to detect the maximum refresh rate that a monitor can do (down the 1 hertz level).

Ideally such a thing would run from a bootable CD, and it would do various tests (either automated, or requiring the user to indicate whether they can properly see the displayed image).

After running, I would want a listing of at the end like this:

  • 1024x768x32 - max refresh rate: 88Hz
  • 800x600x32 - max refresh rate: 79Hz
  • ... and so forth ...

I could then back it off about 5 or 10 Hertz, so as to not overload the monitor, and use that as the refresh rate.

Wanted: An Australian lemon law that covers manufactured articles still under warranty[edit]

Specifically, I want a lemon law that covers IBM's deskstar (a.k.a "deathstar") drives. These drives are so unreliable it's scary.

Most lemon laws are targeted at cars, but why should other manufactured articles be treated any different? If a manufactured item is under warranty and it fails, the manufacturer must repair or replace it (i.e. the standard warranty). However, if the repaired or replacement item fails, and then its repair or replacement fails, then you are entitled to a refund.

That seems eminently fair to me. Three strikes, and you're out. If a company can't get it right after three times, they deserve to be punished for wasting so much of a consumer's time. And this only covers the warranty period, so we're only talking about newer items, not old items that are simply beyond repair. It only covers manufactured items, so it's easier to define as working or not working, unlike a service which can be much more ambiguous.

With my deskstar drive, IBM has flatly refused to issue a refund, despite the fact that I am now onto my third drive. I guess the expectation is that if they make things hard enough, that people will just give up and go away - but that approach irks me so much that I refuse to accept it, and am determined to keep getting replacements until IBM works out that it'd be cheaper for them to give in.

Wanted: A comprehensive annual suite of disease tests that are fully automated and cheap[edit]

Imagine you went to your doctor once a year, and they took a blood, hair/skin, and urine sample, packaged those samples up, and sent them away. Those samples were then tested, in a completely automated way, for say the most common 3000 diseases in the world. I'm thinking AIDS, TB, malaria, multiple sclerosis, hepatitis, you name it. This testing has to be automated, to keep it cheap. It absolutely has to be cheap, in order to ensure that it's economically viable. Suppose the test costs $30. Would you get it done? I certainly would.

What would the benefit of such a system be? Early prevention for one - many diseases cost far less to treat and have much higher rates of survival if detected early. Curtailing the spread of a transmissible disease is another benefit - when you know you have a disease you can get it treated, rather than being a unwitting carrier.

Such a system would definitely reduce the level of human suffering in those parts of the world that could afford the test. It would probably save more money (in terms of preventing lost tax on income) than it costs - thus being revenue neutral or possibly revenue positive, if the government picked up the tab.

The hope is that it would become cheap enough that it could be used in the poorest parts of the world - although the problem here is not so much detecting disease, as it is treating the diseases that are clearly already present - which is largely a question of economics, whereby the patient cannot afford the cost of treatment.