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We recommend the latest versions of Microsoft Internet Explorer (MSIE), Netscape Navigator, or Opera for use with this site. While WebTV can be used, there is considerable degredation in the presentation and loss of multimedia (sound, video) that accompany some parts of the site. Note the particulars of your browser displayed below, and visit the browser's home site for upgrade information:
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Screen Resolution

Resolution refers to the number of pixels which will fit into a certain area — in the case, the area is the screen on your monitor. Here are some common screen resolutions (width by height):
  • 640 by 480 pixels
  • 800 by 600 pixels
  • 1024 by 768 pixels
There are other, higher, resolutions, but most home users are unlikely to need them. The default resolution for most "factory fresh" computers is 640 by 480 pixels, even though most modern computers are capable of far higher resolutions. When you increase the resolution of your display, you are able to display more on your monitor (which is good), but everything gets smaller (which is bad). Suppose that your desktop looks like this at a resolution of 640 x 480:
If you increase your display resolution to 800 x 600 pixels, the same desktop will look like this:
As you can see, increasing the resolution has revealed a few elements which were originally off the edge of the screen, but at the cost of shrinking everything in size. The best resolution for your display will depend on several factors, including the following:
  • The size of your monitor. Most PC monitors are 14 inches, measured diagonally from one corner to another. If you're using a 14" monitor, you'll probably be happiest with either 640 by 480 or 800 by 600. If you use higher resolutions, you'll probably end up squinting at everything! If you're lucky enough to be using a larger monitor (suc as a 16" or 17"), then you'll almost certainly want to use a resolution of at least 800 x 600. Large monitors are great fun to own, but tend to be very expensive!

  • Your eyesight. If your eyesight is failing, you may prefer to have your monitor display everything as large as possible. The lowest resolution (640 x 480) is best for this.

  • Personal taste. This is possibly the most important factor — some users feel quite strongly about their preferred monitor resolutions! Experiment with different resolution settings to decide which suits you best. If you're trying out an unfamiliar resolution, you should give it at least two or three days before passing judgement. Many new users never get beyond 640 x 480 because they're so familiar and comfortable with it.

  • The software you use most often. Desktop publishing and graphic design projects tend to be more manageable at higher resolutions. That's because the monitor acts as the "window on your work," and when you zoom out, for a "bird's-eye" perspective, you want to be able to fit as much onto the screen as possible.

Color Depth

To fully enjoy this site, you'll need a minimum color depth of 16 million colors. Check your configuration below (we've detected your settings).

Your screen's width (in pixels) is
Your screen's height (in pixels) is
Your screen's color depth (in millions of colors) is
Your screen's pixel depth (in bits) is
A pixel (short for "picture element") is a single point in a graphic image. Graphics monitors display pictures by dividing the display screen into thousands (or millions) of pixels, arranged in rows and columns. The pixels are so close together that they appear connected. The number of bits used to represent each pixel determines how many colors or shades of gray can be displayed. For example, in 8-bit color mode, the color monitor uses 8 bits for each pixel, making it possible to display 2 to the 8th power (256) different colors or shades of gray. On color monitors, each pixel is actually composed of three dots — a red, a blue, and a green one. Ideally, the three dots should all converge at the same point, but all monitors have some convergence error that can make color pixels appear fuzzy. Colour depth refers to the number of different colors which can be simultaneously displayed on your monitor. Here are some common color depths:
  • 16 colors
  • 256 colors (also called 8-bit color)
  • 65,536 colors (also called 16-bit color, or high color)
  • 16.7 million colors (also called 24-bit color, or true color)
Generally speaking, the higher the color depth, the better the quality of the image. You'll find that some images — such as scanned photographs " look a lot better when displayed at a high color depth. Here's a photograph displayed at two different color depths — few colors on the left and many colors on the right (the difference has been exaggerated slightly, for emphasis):


If your Display Properties settings (in Windows95 and later) look like
then you should have no problems viewing our pages.

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