The first monitor I tried didn't connect. I mean, the green light game on, then turned orange, so no signal. I tried fooling around with some stuff, but nothing came on the screen. I quickly gave up (saying I'll investigate it later), and tried monitor #2. It also didn't come on, and that's when I realized I had it plugged into the wrong video card (the test computer has two VGA outputs, the one on the mobo which is dead, and the one I replaced it with). I plugged it in the right one, it came on, but the screen was really dim. I fooled with the brightness and contrast, but it was still a bit dim, which usually means it's about to go bad. Oh well, I'll do some tests. I have a bootable CD with has video/monitor resolutions burn tests.
So, while I am doing a video screen test, I am cleaning the monitor. There was some sticker residue on it, and I wanted to get those off. I was cleaning a sticker that said, "Please do not place food, drink, or other objects on top of glass," (I guess it was under a glass shelf in its former life?). The cloth came back really dirty, and the monitor was changing color. A small dot of cleaner splashed onto the screen, and when I wiped it away, I found the screen was MUCH brighter.
It wasn't the brightness that was the problem. It was a dirty screen.
This struck me as REALLY funny. The whole monitor has a thin, gray, greasy-crusty film (I suspect smoker residue, although it didn't smell of tobacco), and when I wiped it off with the cleaner, the brightness was fine! And it passed the video burn test, so off it goes to Gecko! I wonder if the monitor was going to be tossed because it had a dim screen. Ironkite told me it's because of mass upgrades at work, but I can just imagine someone, including me, who would have given up on the monitor when all it needed was to be cleaned.