Re: need 1280x1024 resolution, nvidia-auto-select thinks otherwise
Finally figured it out. I feel somewhat guilty for blaming it all on nvidia-auto-select but then again its caused me enough hell anyway. I created a new user and had no issue with getting the resolution I wanted.
Going back to the old user home dir, I finally found a ~/.config/monitors.xml upon which I decided to rename the parent dir .config and voila no more problems.
Without searching I'm guessing this dir may be a local configuration repo for compiz? Anyway maybe someone else will benefit from my troubles.