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A Dual Monitor Experiment

Hemos posted about 10 years ago | from the moving-down-the-path dept.

Hardware 504

backBeat writes "This is a descriptive article about one man and his dual monitor odyssey. After reading the snippet I had to read the article: "The productivity increase lasted for about two days. At this point I realized that I could to work on one monitor and watch a full screen DVD on the other. This was pretty cool until I realized how counterproductive it could be. Luckily I am quite adept at concentrating on my writing, while typing, while watching a movie." The Dual Monitor Experiment did not disappoint."

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Movies while working are newsworthy & producti (5, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | about 10 years ago | (#10557065)

Dual monitors isn't news for anyone. It's been easy to do for years and years. Hell, Win98 did it just as easily as the current Windows versions. I remember the difficulties I ran into when I was trying to do it with two different sized monitors with X and no GUIs. I wish there had been a single repository of easy to interpret information back then.

Yeah, two monitors COULD be more beneficial if you're looking to be productive. This guy mentions that but then switches to say that he enjoys multi-tasking and watching a movie at the same time as he is working. Personally, that's not exactly "productive" and honestly it's likely not something that's permitted outside of your home. The only time I am TRULY looking to be productive is when I'm at work and Slashdot has cornered the market on hoarding my time while I'm there.

He talks a little bit about the cost of having a dual monitor setup. Yeah, CRTs are cheap and LCDs are costing less and less but I'm mostly concerned with the amount of electricity that two monitors use up when they are both fired up and running constantly. I ran a 17" and a 15" CRT on my desktop for several years but recently I have switched back to just running one. Why? Even if it saves me $1 on my electric bill (it actually saves a bit more than that) it's beneficial. That's a beer, a burger, or $1 to go towards something else that's more important than being able to have Word open on one monitor and AIM on another.

Personally, I'm going to stick to running a single CRT for now and have to waste all that time hitting ALT+TAB to get to my AIM window when it starts flashing. So much for being able to watch a movie and do my work while being productive at the same time.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (5, Insightful)

KevinKnSC (744603) | about 10 years ago | (#10557088)

First, I agree that the article is essentially worthless. Allow me to summarize: "I set up my Windows computer to use two monitors. I'm proud of myself." There's really not much more to the article than that. Well, unless you count the exciting screen shot of (I kid you not) the Windows display properties dialog.

Second, and more importantly, I really detest people who post their own stories as if they were a third party. Look at the story above, and note that backBeat lists his email as salcan@gmail.com. Then go to the article and you'll see that it is written by one Sal Cangeloso. He claims that "after reading the snippet, I had to read the article", which is strange, since he wrote it in the first place. If you wrote something interesting, take credit for it. Say, "I recently did some experimenting with a dual monitor setup, and I wrote up some of my conclusions." But don't try to pass it off as anything except self-promotion, as if all of us are idiots who won't catch on.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | about 10 years ago | (#10557170)

Luckily I could go read the article and reply to your post at the same time easily since I have a dual monitor setup! Seriously though, I would rather have a multi-desktop window manager than two big monitors taking up my whole desk any day of the week, at least until I can afford a gigantomondo plasma TV that I can hang on the wall instead.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 10 years ago | (#10557247)

*multi-desktop window manager than two big monitors*

and why wouldn't you? it's not that hard to setup on windows either.

i use virtual desktops(through some litestep extension), and a second computer(thats running debian).. and cut'n'paste between the computers with synergy( http://synergy2.sourceforge.net/ ).

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (5, Informative)

Gentoo Fan (643403) | about 10 years ago | (#10557176)

And if you do a WHOIS on the domain, you'll see his name as the registrant as well.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (3, Funny)

incast (121639) | about 10 years ago | (#10557201)

it's ok.. he's getting punished via the slashdot effect right about now

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (5, Informative)

jmulvey (233344) | about 10 years ago | (#10557260)

Yeah, and now that you pointed it out, I found out he's pulled this crap before:

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=04/09/29/194620 7&tid=201&tid=133&tid=190&tid=1 [slashdot.org]

Mod Parent Up! And... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557313)

Send a message to Sal Cangeloso [mailto] and let him know he's as big a kneebiting jerk as Roland Piquepaille!

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557261)

This article is a good troll. Almost as impressive as sneaking a goatse redirect past the editors.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557308)

what kind of geeks are you?
I have 3 monitors on my desk. And I'm thinking of replacing one of the CRTs with an 20" LCD. BTW, production is only limited by your own motivation regardless of the number of monitors.

Counterproductive... (3, Informative)

jonhaug (783048) | about 10 years ago | (#10557090)

... is an understatement. I read two papers, news, e-mail, LinuxToday, Slashdot, solving bridge problems and so on while writing on my assignments.

No, I am not productive, I am addicted. But I don't need a lot of monitors. Fvwm does it all for me.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (2, Insightful)

sirdude (578412) | about 10 years ago | (#10557143)

Multi monitor setups are only for people who are 'monitoring' stuff (like stockbrokers etc.) and for certain professionals (e.g. video editors etc.).. Besides that it's just another fad.

On a similar note, if you have more than 1 PC and are looking to have a more efficient setup, I highly recommend the use of a KVM switch [google.com] . They are cheap and save you the cost of another monitor besides the inherent power savings.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (5, Informative)

vrai (521708) | about 10 years ago | (#10557211)

I have two 20" flat screens at work and couldn't live without them. As a code monkey I find the extra screen area invaluable for both coding and testing. I can have a number of terminals displaying the source I'm working on, a terminal to run tests and a web browser displaying documentation; all visible at once. This is huge productivity boost and avoids the need to constantly hunt for which window contains the information I'm after. It's also a lot cheaper and easier than having two computers with a monitor each.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (1)

skiman1979 (725635) | about 10 years ago | (#10557234)

Dual monitor setups also work good for comparing 2 documents, or when writing a document and reading another for reference material. I do this all the time at work on my setup. I can have my report open on one monitor, and another document on the other where I pull information from. It saves the headache of ALT+TAB. True, I could tile the windows horizontally or vertically, but then each window would be much smaller. It's good to be able to see a full size window for each document.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557301)

I find it extremely useful for coding. A lot of times I'll have my java ide open (fullscreen of course), and I'll be coding based information in another window, such as email, a web page, ssh connection, etc. I'm constantly looking back and forth between the two monitors, and having to switch tasks constantly would really slow me down.

I also have one monitor on a kvm switch, so I can be looking at two machines at the same time, comparing settings, or what have you. If saving $10 bucks a month (probably over-estimating) really meant that much to me I probably wouldn't do it, but I believe it's something that makes me more productive and marketable as an employee working remotely so it's a cost I'm more than willing to incur, especially because if I'm not productive enough compared to everyone else, that may mean my job.

-- gid

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (2, Informative)

Spua7 (781257) | about 10 years ago | (#10557154)

And using AIM is also "likely not something that's permitted outside of your home". I would come unglued if it was running on any of my systems. I was unable to RTA due to the server being slashdoted at a record rate. I found his comment about viewing movies while working are probably true.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (4, Informative)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | about 10 years ago | (#10557174)

I find at certain tasks I am FAR more productive with dual monitors.

When I have a lot of data manipulation to do it is very advantageous to have one document open on each monitor. Copying and pasting is simple, and doesn't involve switching between programs. They are both open and visible at once, just copy from one and paste to the other.

I do think that sacrificing an increase in productivity (the personal tendency to watch a DVD on the other monitor aside) to save $1 a month is very short sighted.

With LCD's (very low power consumption) that is far less of an issue.

Several studies have shown at least a double digit increase in real world productivity. My own experience would suppport that.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (5, Insightful)

FLEB (312391) | about 10 years ago | (#10557180)

He talks a little bit about the cost of having a dual monitor setup. Yeah, CRTs are cheap and LCDs are costing less and less but I'm mostly concerned with the amount of electricity that two monitors use up when they are both fired up and running constantly.

If you do video, image, or web editing, it can be very useful to have a second monitor (for option pallettes or previewing, or browsing documentation on the second screen). If you're worried about power consumption, why not just turn off the supplementary monitor when you're not using it?

I'm personally a fan of dual-heading. I use a POS 15" monitor along with my (somewhat less POS) 17" at home, which usually just has Moz eternally open in it to preview the page I'm working on, or to look stuff up.

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (1)

TopShelf (92521) | about 10 years ago | (#10557241)

At my work many users have laptops that plug into docking stations with desktop monitors and keyboards. What blows my mind is that they didn't set the laptops up so that we could leave the monitor flipped up as a 2nd desktop. Talk about wasting hardware...

Re:Movies while working are newsworthy & produ (2, Insightful)

scotch (102596) | about 10 years ago | (#10557232)

I have 4 17" monitors and a laptop on my desk at work. Two of the monitors are in a dual-head setup on my main machine, the other two monitors and the laptop are connected via synergy [sourceforge.net] . Theres also an old sun box connected via a KVM on one of the main monitors. How much energy am I wasting?

I love my dual monitor (2, Interesting)

networkBoy (774728) | about 10 years ago | (#10557068)

I often work with both my LCD and notebook displays on using the notebook display as my primary and the LCD for reference guides/schematics/etc. Big boost to productivity and less mousing!

-nB

Re:I love my dual monitor (5, Interesting)

Klar (522420) | about 10 years ago | (#10557168)

I've been using two monitors for about for years now, and I don't thik I could ever go back! The swing arm [xyzcomputing.com] thing in the article seems cool, but I must say that I love my Ikea Desk [uoguelph.ca] ! Was around $200 and the moitors can swing--I'm a student and my bed is beside my desk, so I can swing my monitor to face my bed to watch tv and movies!

The two monitors come in very handy when programing, writing reports, or surfing the web while IM'ing. Just did a networking assignment last night, and I could have several consoles open on the 2nd monitor to test clients/server while coding on the other monitor.

If you haven't tried 2 monitors, do it now! No excuses, 's cheap--if you don't have a vid card that can do 2 monitors, get a 2nd cheap pci card for like $20 and throw another monitor on.. do it!

Re:I love my dual monitor (2, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | about 10 years ago | (#10557219)

LCD for reference guides/schematics/etc. Big boost to productivity and less mousing!


I agree. A dual PC setup is much more useful than a dual monitor setup. This is most certanly true in the Windows world. I find it difficult to read the how-to to eradicate some piece of malware while going through the reboot into safe mode process.

Instead of printing all the instructions out, then trying to follow them, it's much easier to have the procedure open on a laptop nearby. The laptop can also be downloading the files to make the emergency boot disk you are going to need for the recovery.

Re:I love my dual monitor (1)

ultrasonik (775562) | about 10 years ago | (#10557251)

Dual monitors boosts my productivity too. I have a dual setup at work and at home. There are two things that it helps me with. I'm often VNC'ing to other computers. I can put the VNC session on one monitor and work on my local PC on the other. I also write a lot of complex database queries. I browse thru the database structure and data on one screen and write the query on the other.

another article (5, Informative)

elid (672471) | about 10 years ago | (#10557070)

There was a good article [extremetech.com] about dual-monitor setups on Extremetech recently.

Shouldn't he (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557075)

Shouldn't he have had some witty comment on Slashdot on one monitor and his work on the other?

This is not one of those witty comments.

Re:Shouldn't he (1)

slowhand (191637) | about 10 years ago | (#10557243)

Which is exactly what I'm doing now. Dual monitors are a neccessity for some things. Data modeling doesn't fare well on the small screen.

porn (-1, Redundant)

Anubis350 (772791) | about 10 years ago | (#10557265)

porn

Tv out.. (1)

genner (694963) | about 10 years ago | (#10557077)

A tv attached to your computer also works well for this sort of thing.

Re:Tv out.. (1)

key134 (673907) | about 10 years ago | (#10557138)

A tv attached to your computer also works well for this sort of thing.

It does, but the resolution on a TV is so poor that text is unreadable. Not to mention having a basically still image on your TV is not exactly good...

Re:Tv out.. (2, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 10 years ago | (#10557204)

Not just resolution, the scan rate sucks, and TVs also have a tendency to hide detail. The resulting pixel density stinks too, I prefer not to see every individual phosphor cell.

Re:Tv out.. (1)

rainman_bc (735332) | about 10 years ago | (#10557146)

A tv attached to your computer also works well for this sort of thing.

Sure if you don't have to read any text on your screen.

Re:Tv out.. (5, Insightful)

justforaday (560408) | about 10 years ago | (#10557230)

A tv attached to your computer also works well for this sort of thing.

A TV attached to a DVD player (and not a computer) also works surprisingly well for this sort of thing. I think some of you should give it a try sometime...

Slow news day? (4, Insightful)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10557079)

Honestly, is this really that special? I've been using dual monitors for a while and KNOW I'm not the first nor anywhere close to it. Yeah, its nice if you can afford to have two monitors (and the hardware to support it).

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Gentoo Fan (643403) | about 10 years ago | (#10557098)

Granted 2 monitors costs twice as much as one, but getting a good Matrox dual-head card is typically cheaper than lots of the 3D cards out there. I don't game much, so I'm tempted to buy a second monitor for my box with a Matrox G550 in it.

or you can do what I did... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 10 years ago | (#10557155)

and just put in any old PCI video card (I used a matrox millennium), remember to set the BIOS to AGP-primary and voila', dual display without many hassles: works perfectly in 2000 and Linux.

Re:or you can do what I did... (1)

Gentoo Fan (643403) | about 10 years ago | (#10557208)

I generally buy Matrox cards for non-gaming boxes anyways, so I have a dual head card already (only ran something like $110 at the time, why not?). I don't get any of the heavy-duty 3D stuff I don't need and excellent 2D performance. Now I'm just debating on LCD vs CRT for monitor #2.

I wouldn't mix the two... (1)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | about 10 years ago | (#10557319)

it's very jarring to adjust to the different contrast level(s) between LCD/CRT on a regular basis (at least for me) so why not stick with a similar one to what you have?

I personally have two aperture grille CRTs (19" and 17") and run them one at 1600 and the other at 1280 to have roughly the same DPI and calibrated them so they have very very similar color rendition, it's much better to move a window between the two and have it NOT change apparent size or colour.

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Darthmalt (775250) | about 10 years ago | (#10557142)

I'm sure most people on /. have at LEAST one extra monitor gathering dust and probably a couple old video cards as well. Heck my 2nd monitor is running off an old 2mb ATI card

Re:Slow news day? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 10 years ago | (#10557181)

I was running dual monitors back in 1999, but I think some Mac and UNIX people had been doing dual head for at least a half decade before that, maybe more than a decade.

I had bought two 17" monitors and a spare video card for less than what I paid for a 21" monitor. The monitors had since died and I bought a 21" second hand. I tried to set up two second hand 21" monitors but it simply didn't fit on my desk.

I'd like to get a 17" or maybe 19" LCD as a second monitor and attach it to one of the walls, but I don't want a 5:4 SXGA monitor. I don't want to go to a 15" XGA or a 21" UXGA monitor, for both size and price reasons, respectively.

Re:Slow news day? (1, Funny)

FortKnox (169099) | about 10 years ago | (#10557214)

I tried to set up two second hand 21" monitors but it simply didn't fit on my desk.

Now you're just gloating ya lucky SOB ;-)

Re:Slow news day? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557296)

I was running dual monitors back in 1999, but I think some Mac and UNIX people had been doing dual head for at least a half decade before that, maybe more than a decade.

Definitely more than a decade on Mac -- the Mac II did it back in, IIRC, 1987.

This is news? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557082)

I, and many of my friends and co-workers, have been using dual monitor setups for years now. This guy is way behind the times.

Worse part about dual monitors. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557084)

Is that you soon realize that going back to one monitor is impossible.

Re:Worse part about dual monitors. (1)

The Other White Boy (626206) | about 10 years ago | (#10557173)

this is what kills me. i run two 19" crt's at home, and have for a while. lately work has gotten on a 'lets make the office look uniform' kick, so we're all stuck with single dell 18" lcds. ick.

if anyone knows how to rig up something in windows to 'pretend,' i.e. i could move my mouse to the right side and it would slide to another desktop or something, i'd love to hear it. =/

Re:Worse part about dual monitors. (3, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | about 10 years ago | (#10557223)

Supposedly XP powertoys has a virtual desktop feature. I thought ATI, nVidia and Matrox all included their own software that does the same thing too.

Re:Worse part about dual monitors. (1)

The Other White Boy (626206) | about 10 years ago | (#10557289)

intel onboard blech video here at work. =)

i'll check into the powertoy tho, thanks.

yeah, that's why I'm avoiding it (1)

Trepidity (597) | about 10 years ago | (#10557252)

I've been wanting to get a second monitor for home, but then I figure I'll find it even harder to drag my ass into the office and get work done, because I'll spend the whole time thinking goddamn it how do they expect me to get work done with one lousy monitor. So I'd either stay home all the time, or end up buying an extra monitor for work.

FAILING (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557086)

My piss is frosty, bitch.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Two? Try three :) (5, Informative)

neiffer (698776) | about 10 years ago | (#10557092)

I am a teacher and the computer I have at school (running WinXP Pro) has three video cards in it and I love it. The main monitor (a 22") always has my current project displayed and the other two monitors (17", one on each side) have email, MSN Messenger and a news web window always up. It was distracting at first but I found that it eventually gave me freedom to complete tasks without constantly switching between windows. It's especially nice when I am working on lecture notes and I am reading a web-based source at the same time.

Re:Two? Try three :) (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557134)

So thats where my tax dollars are going, to some asshole teacher wanting to have messenger and the web up while they work

Re:Two? Try three :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557135)

Excuse me, but this sounds like geek overkill. Really, email and MSN Messenger open all the time, and a monitor dedicated for them? Well, come to think of it, my daughter (15) would love this. Perhaps if you were in IT support/management and HAD to be in contact with lots of folks at any moment, then maybe. Like so many others have said, maybe one monitor for a current project, and a second monitor for reference is understandable.

Re:Two? Try three :) (1)

l810c (551591) | about 10 years ago | (#10557175)

Dual 21" Here. I have my main one and the other has a 4port KVM.
The second monitor is either:

1)A second monitor for my main system when I'm programming(I keep documentation and compile results in that window)
2)My email machine with TV Tuner and DVArchive so I can watch shows off my ReplayTV
3)Windows 2000 Development Server
4)Redhat Development Server - although I do not have X on this system and frequently use this port for connecting other peoples systems that I might be fixing

I've had this setup for a couple of years now and could not imagine going back to single monitor.

well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557093)

looks like the dual montior experiment would need at least a dual processor, or better

Dual monitors eh (4, Funny)

cloudkj (685320) | about 10 years ago | (#10557103)

Sell that second monitor and get yourself a new server, cuz you're on slashdot!

Re:Dual monitors eh (1)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 10 years ago | (#10557249)

I'm sure Sal wished he was "mirrordotted" [wired.com] right now.

He's been /.ed before. So Sal gets around.

Games... (4, Funny)

Ziak (807893) | about 10 years ago | (#10557106)

I work as a ISC in the miltary, or as an IT in the civian sector, I started using duel montiors when I noticed we where using laptops with a docking station, with a hook up montior, it wasn't long before thinking about it I found a way for it to be done, after being able to look at HTML and cheack my e-mail, and surf the web it wasn't long before I wanted to try it in home, The only downfall i encourted was for games the video card had a hard time strugling to keep up both displays and often caused lower fps for most games, with that being said it definally does increase your productive rate, but if you play games alot its not really worth the extra money.

G-one (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557110)

Slashdotted to hell, already :)

What's the best window manager for xinerama? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557112)

I'm using an older version of fluxbox because the newer versions seem to muck it up, putting the toolbar in the center of both screens and maximizing over both screens.

Gnome and ICEWM seem to do okay.

Re:What's the best window manager for xinerama? (1)

saintlupus (227599) | about 10 years ago | (#10557316)

I've had good luck with Windowmaker -- but then again, maybe that's because I use it for all of my machines running X. The only tool is a hammer, and all that.

--saint

Thanks for the inspiration (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 10 years ago | (#10557114)

My dell laptop is ancient, but one of the features of the dock is a half-size PCI slot. As I recall from 4-5 years ago, there was at least one video card that could give you a dual-headed display when docked.
Now I'm inspired again to go Googling to find the particular card, then go eBaying to see if I can find one on the cheap!

And yes, I do know how annoying it is when someone verbs as much as I do. :-P

--
Free Gmail Invites [slashdot.org] -- only two left.

Re:Thanks for the inspiration (5, Informative)

cowens (30752) | about 10 years ago | (#10557276)

If you are running Linux (or any version of UNIX) you should look into DMX [sf.net] (distributed multiheaded X). You can use your old laptop as a screen attached to a newer laptop and/or a desktop (there doesn't seem to be a hard limit to the number of machines that can be linked).

Ho hum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557119)

Dual monitors can be more productive. Wow, now there's a piece of news I never heard before. Hell, Mac's have had native dual monitor support since at lest the first powerbooks and probably earlier.

Software Equivalent (2, Insightful)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 10 years ago | (#10557121)

The first hook for me on Linux--what moved me away from Windows--was the multiple desktops.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, there is an icon on the panel divided into four sections. Each of these is a separate desktop in which you can open separate windows, etc. and their contents are graphically represented by the icon. To move between desktops, you simply click on the appropriate panel, or use a hot key.

For me, it was seriously like having four computers in one. Under Windows, after a certain point, you can no longer navigate between the windows you have open. Under linux, I can have all my windows divided into sections based on their content. I have never, under this setup, had the number of windows I had open become impractical or unimaginable.

So, I haven't worked with dual physical monitors, but I can saw from what I consider to be a software equivalent under Linux that it should be able to make your life easier. Especially with a stable operating system that can handle running a bunch of programs at once without crashing. *cough*

Re:Software Equivalent (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557217)

MSVDM? Does anybody look at Powertoys anymore?

Counterproductive? (1)

RonnyJ (651856) | about 10 years ago | (#10557122)

At this point I realized that I could to work on one monitor and watch a full screen DVD on the other. This was pretty cool until I realized how counterproductive it could be.

Seriously, how didn't you realise that it would affect your productivity beforehand? I find it hard enough to work when I just have a small video window playing in the corner of the screen, let alone having an entire monitor dedicated to it.

Productivity (4, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 10 years ago | (#10557124)

At this point I realized that I could to work on one monitor and watch a full screen DVD on the other. This was pretty cool until I realized how counterproductive it could be.
Amateur! The obvious solution is to get a 3rd monitor for watching your DVDs. That is what I did... (on a separate computer, though)

Dual head is really helpful for productivity for certain jobs. The most obvious and common job is the kind where you have to work on one document, while referring to other documents or webpages. I found that being able to keep my own document open while reading stuff on the other screen, really helps me to keep my flow of thought. Even a small extra screen provides much more useful desktop real estate than a single, high resolution monitor: I have a 1200x1024 17" main screen and a smaller 1024x768 15" one... both LCDs. I found this to be such an improvement over a single 21" 2048xwhatever tube, that I now got dual head at work as well.

question (4, Funny)

MagicM (85041) | about 10 years ago | (#10557127)

Q: What's worse than linking to your site in a Slashdot article?
A: Linking to your site twice in a Slashdot article.

Were they scared it wouldn't go down fast enough?

Wow (4, Informative)

tliet (167733) | about 10 years ago | (#10557128)

Dual monitor setup, cool!

Enter the Macintosh II [everymac.com] , introduced in 1987, it was capable of driving up to 6 monitors at a time.

Aaahh... Dual monitor... (5, Insightful)

nordicfrost (118437) | about 10 years ago | (#10557130)

Fanboy mode: ON
Windows: Letting users discover the niftyness of Mac, a decade later
Fanboy mode: OFF

Seriously, this guy don't get it. Having to screens filled with two full space windows is very, very inefficient. Having switched to Mac recently, I find the mentality of MDI-ness a bit strange, as I'm used to the fullscreen windows on Windows. But on my Powerbook, during a lecture I can actually juggle Powerpoint to see the professor's notes, Word to type my notes and iChat all on my laptop screen at one time. It is not a matter of size. Sex is, but not screens.

At work I use Windows with dual monitor, but nowhere near as inefficient as he does. The setup (a newsdesk) has one screen constanly reloading a Reuters / AP / APTN /etc newsfeed, the flash for some seconds as the updates come in. You can only look at one screen at the time, but your eyes notice the flashing to make youu aware of the news coming in. Red flash = important! look at me NOW!, Green flash = Just some 'ol news coming in, Yellow flash = Just a lead (followup).

UltraMon (1)

mcknation (217793) | about 10 years ago | (#10557141)


If your on a multi-head windows machine check out Ultramon. The ability to have a taskbar on the extra displays is worth it. /-McK

Why is this special? (-1, Redundant)

BWJones (18351) | about 10 years ago | (#10557150)

So, Apple has been supporting multiple monitors since (I think) 1987 and I have been using at least two monitors since 1989 on my Mac IIsi, IIci, Quadra 840av Power Macintosh 9600, Power Macintosh G3 and G4s and now my G5. Also going back a couple of years on my SGI O2 and Octanes. It was not until 1998 that Windows started supporting multiple monitors (badly) and I was not using multiple monitors on Windows routinely until 2002 at which point I pretty much abandonded for OS X. Two Cinema Displays are pretty darned sweet, I must say.

Re:Why is this special? (1)

Rauser (631244) | about 10 years ago | (#10557283)

Yeah, my first dualie setup was a Mac SE (with 30mHz upgrade!) and an Eahman 20" grayscale. We used to run CAD and the Wingz spreadsheet on that setup, quite nice in the day--1990!

There are always cheaper alternatives. (3, Funny)

jonathan z (773057) | about 10 years ago | (#10557152)

I was considering going the route of dual monitors; but I decided that the more simple solution would be to simply forego my next visit to the optometrist.

The only trouble is getting the "continuous desktop" option on your double vision. . .

Increased Productivity for Multimedia Work / Dev (1)

Aqua OS X (458522) | about 10 years ago | (#10557158)

I don't know why you'd want dual monitors if you were not a developer, digital media designer, etc. Development and design require you to have multiple windows and applications open at the same time. Therefore, having the extra desktop space is VERY useful.

Nevertheless, if you're just some schmoe who primarily uses MS Office and iTunes, I highly doubt a second monitor is going to increase your productivity. If anything, it's going to provide space for distraction.

#1 upgrade to get if a paperwork person (4, Interesting)

gsfprez (27403) | about 10 years ago | (#10557163)

i was a system engineer for a very large military contractor/airplane maker - and i insist on at least two monitors, even if that means buying the parts myself... which i had to.

in any case - when doing documentation review, action item lists, and various document comparison tasks - the bulk of systems engineering for a big contractor - having two monitors should be a requirement. otherwise, one needs to keep switching between two documents, and you can never actually look at both at the same time.. so missing things is quite easy.

most people in my office would print documents so that they could work on the other document that they were doing the comparison work to...

before i left - 4 people had badgered the IT geeks to give them dual monitor setups, and from what i hear, its up to 7 now - because for the MS Office drones, dual monitors is the greatest thing on the planet.

The worst part is that the IT geeks - who could also have benefited from dual monitors by setting up status screens 100% of the time on one monitor, and their daily tasks like email on the other - would bitch like John Stweart on Crossfire about how it was a waste and an over the top luxury...

but they never concidered how much time and paper it saved me... and if everyone had one, how the paper would go down tremendously.

oh well, most major corp IT drones are asshole MSCE singles with bad skin and worse interpersonal skillz anyhow.

Re:#1 upgrade to get if a paperwork person (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557262)

otherwise, one needs to keep switching between two documents, and you can never actually look at both at the same time..

You could place 2 application windows next to each other, or tile vertically.

Try using a diff program. They have programs to spot the differences between documents.

Virtually Four monitors (4, Informative)

Prince Vegeta SSJ4 (718736) | about 10 years ago | (#10557164)

I don't know how this is news, but I'm not aobut bashing. Anyway, with Nvidias drivers, you can have two monitors running and have another desktop as well - resulting in virtually four monitors. All I do is rotate the mouse clcckwise and the second desktop pops up (though it could be argued that it is similar to Alt-Tab). I'm sure ATI has something similar as well.

Re:Virtually Four monitors (1)

vhold (175219) | about 10 years ago | (#10557256)

Also, with the nvidia drivers, you can use alt-` (right above tab) to switch desktops. There is even a setting somewhere in the nview software to change alt-tab behavior to iterate through desktops.

Me too... (4, Funny)

GillBates0 (664202) | about 10 years ago | (#10557184)

Luckily I am quite adept at concentrating on my writing, while typing, while watching a movie.

I find myself quite *IN GOES THE RED PILL* capableo f concentrating on *HA, HE THINKS THAT'S AIR HE'S BREATHING, LOL!! OMG!! THIS IS THE BEST PART* reading, thinking, *MAN, TRINITY IS TEH ROXXORZZZ* typing and watching a movie *THERE IS NO SPOON LOL!* at the same time.

Re:Me too... (1)

JUSTONEMORELATTE (584508) | about 10 years ago | (#10557297)

Luckily I am quite adept at concentrating on my writing, while typing, while watching a movie.

I find myself quite *IN GOES THE RED PILL* capableo f concentrating on *HA, HE THINKS THAT'S AIR HE'S BREATHING, LOL!! OMG!! THIS IS THE BEST PART* reading, thinking, *MAN, TRINITY IS TEH ROXXORZZZ* typing and watching a movie *THERE IS NO SPOON LOL!* at the same time.

I think you overestimate your productivity! That post took you about an hour to write.

--
Free Gmail Invites [slashdot.org] - two left.

Two monitors help my productivity (1)

waynegoode (758645) | about 10 years ago | (#10557191)

I have put two monitors on several systems I use (home, work, church a/v) and have found it increases productivity and usefulness.

I did it the cheap way. I used whatever extra video card I have laying around, usually PCI, and whatever monitor I had laying around, often the smaller screen I upgraded from. Since I had this stuff available, the cost was $0.

In Excel, I use one monitor for the worksheet and one for the VBA code I am writing. In PowerPoint, I use one monitor to display a slideshow and one for better control of it. For web development, I use one for the page in my browser and one for the code. The possibilities are endless for many applications. But, for just word processing, it is not nearly as useful.

The whole point... (1)

ottergoose (770022) | about 10 years ago | (#10557193)

The whole point of having more than one monitor is to present you with as much information as is possible at one time. This isn't for watching movies - this is for having source on one monitor and your executing program/script/web/whatever output on the other, which does actually increase productivity. This is why all of my code monkey coworkers have at least two monitors. Sure, it's nice for AIM/MSN/ICQ/Chat and news, but the killer app for multiple displays is writing code.

Use your laptop as a second monitor (1)

philj (13777) | about 10 years ago | (#10557206)

This is funky [maxivista.com]

Dual PC = Dual monitor (2, Informative)

gregmac (629064) | about 10 years ago | (#10557212)

I discovered Synergy [sourceforge.net] a while back, and I use it at work all the time now. I have a PC sitting on my desk (Linux), and most of the time have my laptop (Windowws) sitting next to it. With synergy, I basically use my laptop as a second monitor, for browsing the web, reading email (since I have it with me all the time), looking at reference manuals, etc. It's very handy to be able to have a web page open explaining a problem, showing example code, etc, while coding in the other monitor. It's an extra boost to be able to control them with one keyboard/mouse, and be able to copy&paste.

I've also been using a dual-monitor setup at home lately (one PC) while working on a video project, though my second monitor is a TV. It's handy to have the output preview on there though, as it keeps my main screen less cluttered, and I can see what the output will actually look like on a TV. (For some reason, with strobe lights in the background for example, if I watch it on a CRT the whole picture flickers, while on a TV it looks normal .. however, if I actually render and watch the output of the project on the CRT, it looks fine .. likely this is an issue with the way it's doing preview or something, but either way having the TV is functional).

my experiences... (3, Interesting)

bolind (33496) | about 10 years ago | (#10557213)

He should have gone for dual CPU's instead, two comments above my threshold, and slashdotted to pulp.

Anyhoo, I've had dual monitors under linux (KDE) for about six months now. This was with a Matrox G400 dual and two 19" Samsung 900NF CRT's.

The good things:
-plenty of space. Hardly ever used virtual desktops anymore.
-great when coding, writing in LaTeX, or anything else that has one window editing some source, and another compiling it.

The bad things:
-everything broke. All the time. KDE seemed to acknowledge that a window that was miximized should not expand over two full screens, but after an upgrade, that went out the window.
-mplayer, a long time favourite of mine, did not play well. It refused to play on one monitor (but it always started there), fullscreen just turned one monitor blank.
-Having just upgraded XFree86, it broke something. Back to one monitor untill I get four hours to muck with XF86Config again.
-Takes up a boatload of desk space (I know, TFT's would help, but I don't have $1500 to blow on a set of them.) Same goes for heat and electricity, although I don't pay (directly) for that.

OK, one might get better results with two video cards (Why, oh why, did I give away 3 (three) Millenium II's with 4mb RAM?), ironically.

Bo

A Slashdot post Experiment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557221)

This is a descriptive a article about one man and his slashdot post odyssey. After reading the snippet I had to read the article: "The productivity increase lasted for about two days. At this point I realized that I could see my bandwidth bill skyrocket and watch my server melt down at the same time. This was pretty cool until I realized how counterproductive it could be. Luckily I am quite adept at concentrating on my writing, which is now done on paper." The Slashdot post Experiment did not disappoint."

Coming soon... ! (2, Funny)

vhold (175219) | about 10 years ago | (#10557225)

The Toothbrush plus Toothpaste experiment.

Umbrella in the rain experiment.

The darkness and light switch experiment.

FWIW, my experience with dual monitors (2, Insightful)

bjdevil66 (583941) | about 10 years ago | (#10557233)

It's really beneficial for developers. It makes it SO much easier to do web development. In my case, monitor #1 has has the dev environment (for me, most of the time it's a fancy text editor) and monitor #2 has the test area (browser window, etc).

The biggest improvement comes when you're using a program like Flash MX 2004, with all the windows/panels. With one monitor it's a pain in the butt, having to open/close panels all day. With 2 monitors, you can actually see what you're doing all at once. If I had to choose between 1 20" LCD and 2 17" LCDs (and a video card for support), I'd take the latter any day now.

The only real negatives are 1) desk space can be an issue for some, and 2) explaining to envious coworkers why you need 2 montiors gets really old fast...

Depends on the task (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 10 years ago | (#10557248)

For *most* uses virtual desktops is more then enough to be productive.

When you get into 3d modeling, CAD, etc then having 2 active monitors is a godsend..

Multimonitors. (2, Insightful)

saintlupus (227599) | about 10 years ago | (#10557255)

Personally, I run three monitors on my work computer (an OS X machine). There's a CRT on the left that has my iTunes list, Stickies, iCal, and other "need to keep an eye on it" sort of stuff. There's a fullscreen iTerm session on the rightmost CRT that has tabs for half a dozen or so SSH sessions. And the middle display is an Apple Studio Display (the retired 15" model) where I do most of my serious, interactive work.

Changing from one monitor to two takes some getting used to, but going from two to three was (aside from some geometrical issues trying to fit everything onto my desk) pretty painless.

Just another data point.

--saint

How dual monitors helps me (1)

malfunct (120790) | about 10 years ago | (#10557269)

The thing I find most useful (as a software devloper) about having two monitors is having your source debugger (I use Visual Studio but that is sort of beside the point) open in one window and the application running on a second window. Lets me see more of whats happening.

The other useful thing (at least in win2k3 because I haven't tried it elsewhere) is having fullscreen termserv in one window and then the apps in the console on the other. Makes 2 computers behave as if they are on the same desktop (mouse moves seamlessly between the two and cut and paste works between the two). This only seems to work if the termserv window occupies the 2nd monitor. To do this minimize the window when you first make it, drag it onto monitor 2 and maximize.

From the sounds of it the "purposes" of a 2nd monitor seem to be lacking from the original article so hopefully these two "tips" (for what they are worth) help someone out.

Multiple Monitors (4, Informative)

pipingguy (566974) | about 10 years ago | (#10557275)


Here's a good site about multi-monitor setups [realtimesoft.com] .

Dual screens are very useful for 3D CAD work (ortho views on one screen for precise placement of objects, skewed view on the other for 3D view[1]) and for webpage work (HTML on one screen, preview in the other).

Enabling x-mouse (I.E., focus follows cursor) is probably a good idea.

[1] Some people like to put onscreen menus and buttons on one screen and the image on the other, but that seems like a lot of extra mouse movement compared to using keyboard shortcuts for commands.

Hooked by his own article. (0, Redundant)

ahaning (108463) | about 10 years ago | (#10557277)

Be sure to write backBeat at salcan@gmail.com about how you, too, were hooked as soon as you read the blurb for Sal Cangeloso's article.

Hint Sal: Don't use an identifiable email address when posting links to your own articles on Slashdot.

Why does this crap get posted, anyway?

Re:Hooked by his own article. (1)

Trukster (546379) | about 10 years ago | (#10557295)

That is too funny. I'm glad you caught that!

too big monitors (1)

Trukster (546379) | about 10 years ago | (#10557279)

I have to say I like my dual monitor setup, however having dual 21" monitors is a little overkill. I frequently run my IDE full screen on one, and run the project I am working on on the other. This works great as I can be debugging and stepping through the code and see where the app is at the same time. I do have to admit that these monitors are a little oversized, and I usually find myself with the left monitor more in front of me and only using the left 1/2 to 2/3 of the right monitor, since I have to actually move my head sideways to read anything that is on the far right side.

Multiple monitors (1)

retinaburn (218226) | about 10 years ago | (#10557292)

At work I use dual monitors, and was suprised how easy it was to setup with WinXP on my laptop. Using 'synergy' I can also use the Build server beside me with its monitor, without having to switch keyboards and mice. Three monitors, two computers, no waiting. Of course I probably have killed a ton of my 'little soldiers'. ;)

show me some good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557310)

No one gives more? 3 or 4 monitor set-up Where is my matrix wall?
If I decided to assembly 4 PCI radeons with dual connection I could swim in an ocean of electronic pulses..... arghhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Dual monitors are great for some (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 10 years ago | (#10557318)

Dual monitors are must have for GUI writers. One monitor for the application being writtn.. the other for the debugger/IDE. I've used this setup for about two years and I could never go back to single monitor. I'm looking at going to three monitors, one to keep mail client and documentation up in.

-jv
too lazy to create an account
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