Feeds

Shiny, shiny! The window's behind me...

Has the matte-screen lobby finally given up?

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Matte proud

To my possibly muddled brain, glass surfaces that have been fuzzed with acid or an anti-glare coating are harder to see through. I wouldn’t have this done to the windows in my house, the windscreen in my car nor the spectacles sitting on my nose. Doing so would make everything on the other side harder to see.

What shiny surfaces are best at, though, is reflectivity. Light sources or brightly lit objects situated behind you reflect readily in shiny computer displays, especially in dark areas of the screen. The image gets obscured and it becomes hard work just to see anything at all.

Sure, dickheads can go to silly extremes just to make a point, such as deliberately positioning their computers so that massive, bright windows are directly behind them and then go complaining that shiny screens and voices made them do it. Please, if you’ve done this yourself, go read Meddlesome Ratbag in Viz comic because that’s the kind of nobend you are turning into.

Viz' Meddlesome Ratbag

Source: Viz/Dennis Publishing

I work with two monitors side by side. One happens to be shiny, the other matte. Both are unusable if I sit with bright windows, kitchen spots, blinking Chistmas lights, a smelting factory or the core of the sun directly behind me... so I don’t do any of those things. When I look at my watch and I can’t read the time because of a reflection on the glass, I gently adjust the angle of my wrist so that the reflection goes away. When I work at my notebook and its angled shiny screen tends to pick up ceiling lighting, I adjust the display angle.

But all of this is irrelevant. If you want a matte display, you should damn well be able to get one. Back in 2009, all that the matte camp - and there are millions of you - was asking was to have a choice. Yet as far as I can see, the situation has worsened: every bloody computer, notebook, smartphone and TV set has gone glossy whether you like it or not. Despite apparent massive demand for matte screens, we’re all expected to be shiny happy people holding hands in this glossy new world built for us by industrial product designers.

REM's Shiny, Happy People

Shiny = happy (it says here)
Source: Warner Music

I’ve been told that shiny “is what most people want” but I’m not sure that’s true. I’ve heard reasons that involve everything from manufacting processes to stock control. “What is it you do to keep your displays all shiny?” I want to ask, Decembrist-stylee. “And tell me why you lied!”

Forget Apple: they don’t do choice, so you’re wasting your time there. Instead, I think it’s time to reload this debate and put new pressure on other manufacturers to offer matte-screen options. My matte display, by the way, is a Samsung. They know a thing or two about making screens, I hear.

What’s really starting to bother me is that perhaps people who work at matte-screen displays really do find it easier to concentrate. That might explain why their open-plan area is quiet and the shiny area isn’t: they’re getting more work done.

No chance!

Oh, and just for anyone in their 40s, this is what you’ve been humming since reading the headline:

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. The worst matte-screen device he has ever tested was the View Quest BookBox e-reader. Lovely people, admirable company, but it was like trying to read through a layer of coarsely granulated sugar.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.