Simple Logic Test and a Not So Simple One

Simple Logic Test


You need to have an IQ quotient  slightly over 1.


The light in the bathroom is too dim so you put in a new bulb with higher wattage.

Known Facts

The old bulb works. You can turn it off and on.

Your Observation

After screwing the new bulb in reasonably tight, and turning on the switch, the bathroom is dark. You then remove the new bulb and re-insert the old bulb and try again. This time the light works.

Simple Logic Test

Is there a problem with

1. The light switch?

2. The light socket?

3. The electricity?

4. The bulb?


5. the fact that it takes several idiots to screw in a lightbulb and make it work?


Ok I'll give you the benefit of the doubt here and say you selected number four right? LOL


The Not So Simple Logic Test


Unlike the first test, you need to know the difference between Computer Software and Hardware. Your IQ quotient needs to exceed that of a total idiot at least partially.


Your laptop has loose hinges. You call the company and because your warranty covers accidental damage they send everything under the sun. You get new plastics, new screws and even a brand new LCD. Currently, the laptop works perfectly EXCEPT the hinges. Because you have to dis-assemble the laptop down to the point of removing a WORKING lcd, you go ahead and replace it since you were sent one. The laptop has Windows installed on it.

During the repair process, you notice that you are missing a rubber foot and a small piece of plastic is broken. So while you are finishing up with the repair, you call into tech support and request the additonal parts. Right after, telling tech support that you needed more parts you notice nothing is displaying on the screen past the initial screen. You are seeing video when you first turn the computer on.

Since you have replaced the LCD, the next step is to see if the lcd displays anything in Windows Safe Mode. And it does. So you relay this information to the tech support guy and he suggests that there is possibly a problem with Windows and recommends doing a system restore.

Instead of doing that, you turn off the computer, and connect the old lcd up. It's just a matter of removing one connector and replacing it with the old one. You can do this without totally taking everything apart again and takes about a minute.

This time you turn on the computer, it displays the initial screen and works all the way into Windows where you can logon and actually see what you are doing with no problem. The only issue with the old lcd was a minor scratch and was the reason you changed it.  Your basic knowledge tells you that the LCD, Hinges, and screws are computer hardware, and Windows or drivers are software.

Both the old and the new lcd are identical except that the new lcd doesn't display the windows desktop and the origional lcd can. You relay this information to tech support and they insist that it is a software issue and want you to leave it installed and re-install Windows to correct the problem.

Your experience with monitors and Windows tells you that each screen that is displayed on the monitor during the boot-up process is actually displayed a lower resolutions (like safe mode does) until after you logon to your desktop where Windows uses the optimized or user-definded display settings. These resolutions are much higher than the initial screen or in safe mode. You also relay this information to tech support.

Your tech support person AND the supervisor at this point are insisting it is a software issue even though you have over 17 years experience doing nothing but fixing computers.


Without making any changes to the software (Windows), the old lcd works in all circumstances.

Not So Simple Test

A.:Is there a problem with

    1. The Software?

    2. The Hardware - The new lcd and it's inability to display higher resolutions like the old "identical" lcd can?

B.: Who is the idiot?

    1. You

    2. The support tech and his supervisor

4 responses
I ran into an issue with my MacBook and the LCD screen "flickering." Apple initially thought I had a software issue. I disproved that by booting into Ubuntu off of CD and was able to easily reproduce the problem.Now I have a different hard drive with a relatively virgin OS X installation that I keep around for when I send the machine back to Apple and for troubleshooting issues like these.In your case, I suspect either: 1. The new LCD is defective. You can rule this out by using a bootable Ubuntu CD.2. The new LCD is not an EXACT replacement for the old LCD, thus there might be a software incompatibility.I wonder if you can set a new "default" resolution for your LCD while you're in safe mode. Then you can boot the thing up into a usable mode and do more troubleshooting.
Actually this was a client's laptop. I am not at liberty under contract to divulge the manufacturer. But as part of my routine, you would say I often play the role of client advocate.
What these 2 yahoos were attempting to do would more than likely ultimately, leave the client without a laptop for the entire weekend or longer. Also possibly subjecting the client to needless loss of data and time spent doing other things. To me and the client, it was unexceptible.
Part of my job, is to attempt to minimize the inconvenience that a client faces. All it takes is one bad experience and a client may not choose that brand again or seek the extended warranty at renewal time.
Under warranty replacement laws, the manufacturer is bound to replace parts of equal or better quality. It does not have to be exact. However it has to be able to "do" what the origional part can do and cannot be less-quality or less capable.
As the software communicates with the video card circuit, which in turn sends the nececesary information to the display, it becomes dificult to say there is a software problem when one lcd works and one doesn't under the same exact conditions. The software never communicates directly with the LCD. It can only do what the video card tells it to do.
Had an external monitor been available that was capable of displaying the same resolution as the lcd, likely would have proved there was nothing wrong with the software or the video card. This being because the unit is capable of displaying video to both the lcd and the external monitor at the same time. In all reality though, it is only an indication and not absolute proof.
In this case, all I had to work with were 2 lcd's. One not being capable of doing exactly what the other one was capable of. This alone makes either the LCD defective, or inappropriate to be used as a replacement component under the terms of the warranty and associated laws.
Using an Ubuntu Live CD probably wouldn't have helped in this instance unless it sets the resolution exactly like Windows was set to. Good thinking though!
In safe mode you do not have all the resolutions available to you as you do in standard mode. Basically because you would be configuring the "VGA" generic driver and not the actual driver Windows uses in standard mode. It is possible though, that while in safe mode, you can uninstall the video card and then reboot the system into standard mode. This forces Windows to use generic video drivers until it redetects the video card, and then redetects the attached display.
I should also point out, that I have yet to replace an lcd for this company with a higher quality or more capable lcd. While the manufacturer of the actual LCD is not always identical, the minimum specs, and the ratings are. If the origional unit was an XGA then the replacement is an XGA.
This all points back though to my Simple Logic Test. Nothing should have to be done to "make" the new lcd should just work as simply as screwing in a light bulb.
Initially, like both the tech support person and his supervisor, I thought there might be a problem with the software. I disproved that by connecting the old LCD. What really pisses me off in general though...
1. All tech support people seem to think a problem is software related first.
2. They make you prove it is not software related before deciding it is a hardware problem.
3. They lack the actual experience to make the decision.
4. They don't actually "listen" to what you are saying.
5. They don't know how things work nor respect your knowledge of it.
6. They can't use simple logic to come up with a solution when the situation falls "outside the box".
And what really totally pissed me off, was overhearing the supervisor ask the client if he saw me install the new lcd in the first place. I literally refused to leave the new lcd in the system for additional troubleshooting...the client asked me to install the old one back in the system. I was bound by that request.
The client obviously agreed with my logic and didn't want to be subjected to several hours of unnecessary troubleshooting. And by all rights...shouldn't be expected to do so just to disprove a hunch or suspicion by an idiot.
For flicker problems, most often it is a incorrect refresh rate setting or some sort of electomagnet interference like from lighting. But with lcd's it not the lighting. And if the lcd flickers at the default refresh rate it is a bad lcd.
The screen was flickering when the brightness rate was set to it's lowest setting, i.e. right before it goes to sleep. It wasn't the LCD, per se, it was the back lighting.Deleting the video driver (and associated display) in safe mode should have either worked--proving the software needed a kick in the pants--or given you the same broken result. In terms of settings, those are fairly easy to reset to their proper values versus a reinstall of Windows. But yes, getting past the Customer Service Rep is sometimes an exercise in futility.