With Robin upgrading to a 23″ widescreen LCD, we had a spare 19″ flat panel, and my Mac mini supports dual display modes.

<cue SFX: very low-watt light bulb barely working up the tiniest of glows>

Yesterday I picked up the necessary dongle to make use of the Mini DisplayPort on the Mac mini, and set up the second LCD to run in desk-spanning mode.  (The mini also does mirroring, but I don’t really see the point in it for a desktop.)

Here’s what it looks like:

It’s kind of neat to have one’s work on one screen, and a web browser or iTunes window on the other.  Last night, I even played World of Warcraft on the left screen while keeping Firefox open on the right one.  I could not write new material that way efficiently–not with another monitor to keep distractions on–but I use Scrivener mostly for transcribing longhand or typewritten stuff and then editing it, rather than writing straight into it.  And for non-fiction, it’s really handy to be able to cross-check stuff without alt-tabbing, or comparing two documents side by side.

I don’t know yet if I’ll keep the setup, but I like it so far.


11 thoughts on “geekxperiment.

  1. North says:

    Two 25.5″ + two 22″. Had Two additional 22″ for a while.

    A lot of space to work in…

  2. I have a dual-display setup at my desk at work (actually, it’s two Macs, joined by way of Teleport, but you get the idea). I regularly have several programs running at once, so it’s great to have some windows on one and some on the other. If I find myself working on intense editing or whatnot, I just kill all the windows on the other machine. Even with all that, I’d still give a finger for a hi-res display added in.


  3. Randy says:

    How long have you had the trackman-wheel? I got a replacement a while ago, and hear that they’ve stopped making the wired version.

  4. Stingray says:

    Ok, that’s some downright creepy synchronization, ’cause yesterday was almost exactly that for me, just replace mac with windows. “Y’know, I’ve been making noise about trying this with this spare ancient thing… and my desk *does* need cleaning, and I *am* bored…. what the hell?”

    The funny bit, to me, is I remember a time not so long ago when setting up a dual-monitor system was considered deep and arcane geekery, a feat of tweaking and cajoling so intricate and mystifying to make work properly that only a rarefied few would even consider taking the task on, with requirements odious and expensive. Now it’s just “Huh. Wonder if this’ll work. Oh, I have to reboot first? That’s inconvenient.”

    And yeah. Warcrack main screen, other stuff supplemental? Um. I may already have a bigger screen en route for the off-side. More addictive than crack, I tell ya.

  5. Tam says:

    I don’t have room for a second screen because the second screen that’s already there is part of a second computer…

  6. Peter says:

    I’ve been running dual monitors for a couple of years now and, like cell phones, I can’t remember how I lived without it.

    The company refuses to provide me with a second monitor at work and I’m -seriously- considering buying my own.

  7. Ian Argent says:

    What Peter said in his first sentence.The lords and masters of my daytimes saw fit a few years back to equip every lowly peon in our dept with a pair of widescreens. Since I happen to be more equal than others there, they saw fit to equip my double-wide cubicle with a pair of 23″ panels with a native resolution of gawdawful ooge.

    Heck, at one point I considered widescreen monitors to be a wasteful extravaganza, until I started using them.

  8. MoogieP says:

    Your workspace is entirely too tidy. Where do you keep your clutter?!?!

  9. Jennifer says:

    We’ve a lowly 15″ as the regular monitor in the living room. Which is totally fine, because the other screen goes through the home theater projector onto a 90″ screen on the wall.

  10. Gnarly Sheen says:

    Just don’t google ATI Eyefinity, that way lies madness.

  11. Victor Krueger says:

    I first did dualhead when win98 came out. ATI rage pro and some cheap (cyrix I think) display cards with a really crappy 14″ and a slightly less crappy 15″ crt monitors. It wasn’t hard to get going.

    Getting dualhead going with xfree86 4.0 (linux) when it came out was harder, but back then getting X going at all was fairly involved. Now its pretty easy. Now running a 3 year old notebook (nvidia display chipset) with a 19″4×3 lcd plugged into it. Mandriva 2010, nvidia proprietary driver. I use the nvidia twinview option in their driver configuration thing. I have to configure that each time I boot (it defaults to mirrored instead of spreading), but unless I’m taking the notebook somewhere I never do.

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