In case you are wondering, all our monitors are different, and everyone sees everyone's pictures somewhat differently. I have no idea how you see my photos, for example. I can only hope for the best. When I print my own photos, however, I'd like to have some assurance that they will come out more or less the way that I want them too.
So it was that I finally fell off my wallet and ordered a Spyder. At $200 smackers, it's a little pricey, but if you share the cost with another photographic pilgrim, it becomes somewhat bearable.
Once you install the software, you hang the device on your monitor as shown below, and ...
... you run the program which flashes various whites, blacks, grays and reds, greens and blue (monitors interpret red, green and blue, which is why they are sometimes called RGB monitors). The device reads what shades your monitor flashes as opposed to what it's supposed to flash and then calibrates the appropriate corrections and loads them every time you start your computer.
In my case, among other parameters (I suppose), the corrected view is much less bright. Which makes sense because, I usually had to brighten my photos before printing as they would print duller than what I saw on the screen (before adjusting brightness for printer).
While I have yet to work my way through configuring Photoshop, paper and printer to take advantage of my newly calibrated monitor, I feel as though I have taken an important first step.