Spectacular Failure of a Computer Display [at work]

So something interesting happened at work yesterday (which, in my 20 years using computers, had never happened to me before). The 17″ CRT monitor on my work computer (an XP machine; I forget the monitor brand) tried spectacularly to catch fire.

I was just doing regular work stuff—Outlook and Dreamweaver were open—when all of a sudden there was a pop-buzz noise, the screen went dark, and smoke literally started billowing from the display. I pulled out the monitor’s power cable quickly of course, and the smoke subsided in a minute (but not before the stench of melted plastic and silicon had filled the office and begun to spread far into the hall). It was bad enough that, while I yanked the power cord, my coworker Mike ran out into the hall to find a fire extinguisher (which, luckily, we did not need).

Needless to say, our internal IT folks took the monitor away and gave me a spare (a 15″ CRT with severe color calibration problems) until a new one comes in for me, and my monitor was the talk of the office for most of the afternoon.

And, in typical Windows form, the machine couldn’t tell that the resolution was set too high for the new screen (Macs actually test for this when you plug in a monitor), so I had to do a hard shut-down and reboot in VGA mode to override the errant settings. Guh!

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.