Another friend, however, tell me that `` that's almost guaranteed to fail on a laptop, as I understand it. Laptops have LCD screens, which are more finicky than LED. When going through the dpkg-reconfigure, you need to specify the screen-size that it is capable of, and tell it that it's an LCD screen, and it ought to be able to get the rest.'' That seemed to have been more correct in my case.
I wanted a screen at 16001200, so I set that for my screen size. The first time I installed Debian on this machine, that plus the r128 video card did the trick, and I was set. The second time, however, I also had to play with the horizontal and vertical refresh rates. I ended up setting them as high as I could, and that plus the large screen size plus the r128 card did the trick. It felt like voodoo.