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Instant Track video mode switch



Yesterday was not my day.  I was running Instant Track under Win95.  As I
usually do, I ran it in a window.  This means that when in text mode, IT
stays windowed, and when I switch to the map (graphics) screen, Win95
automatically puts it into full-screen mode.

Well, when I switched to the map screen, the monitor flashed and popped a
couple of times, and displayed a dull grey.  Naturally, I switched the
monitor and computer off, and rebooted.  Blank screen.  Subsequent testing
showed the monitor to be very dead.  To make a long story short, my 8-month
old 17" ViewSonic G771 monitor is now in for warrantee repair, and I'm
making do with a borrowed, slightly fuzzy 14-incher for the next 2-4 weeks.  

Now, I'm *not* blaming Instant Track for this.  I'll resist the temptation
to call it a "killer app"  :-)  But, the ViewSonic technician I called told
me something disturbing.  He said that most newer video cards don't support
EGA modes any more, and you could damage your monitor if your card isn't
switching to this mode properly.

I tend to dismiss this, since the tech made a couple of other statements I
found suspect. I've tried IT on numerous computers, and never had any
problem other than having "Greek" text characters on the map screen, which
"Patch 4" fixes.  This video card didn't even need Patch 4. It's a "Number
Nine" 9FX Motion 331.  I run it at 1024 x 768 at 75 Hz refresh rate, which
the both the card and the monitor supports. 

However, I have noticed that switching from Windows graphics mode to any
DOS full-screen mode and back often causes strange-looking things to happen
on the screens of many computers.  So perhaps the tech meant that such mode
switching can strain on a monitor, so if it's going to fail, it is more
likely to fail during such a switch.

Anyway, Franklin or Paul, if you're listening, I'd like to know what video
mode Instant Track uses for map screens.  (My guess is mode 10, 640 x 350 x
16 colors).  My video card supports modes 0h - 07h and 0dh - 13h, plus VESA
modes 100, 101, 103, 105 107, 109, 10A, 110, and 111 (all hex).  And since
I rely on two DOS programs that do graphics--Instant Track and RITTY by
K6STI (it does 640x480 VGA graphics), is there really any danger with video
mode switches?

73 from KD7MW
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