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For the heroes.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Dual screen configuration that rocks

Last year, I decided to experiment at work with an 'alternative' monitor set-up.

I've stuck with it ever since, and when I start a new job next month, I'm hopeful that resources and desk space will allow me to do something similar.

It certainly provokes reactions from curious colleagues who haven't seen anything like it, but more importantly, I think I've found a set-up that optimises productivity.

I use two identical monitors. Both are fairly standard LCD screens. 22 inch, 1680 by 1050 resolution. Perfectly standard, everyday kit.

Two screens are better than one, obviously
But whereas most multi-screen set-ups are based around putting the screens side by side and attempting to effect 'one extra-big screen', I've never liked this approach, and always found the bezels a rather annoying that it's really not one screen.

Maybe it's alright for people who play racing simulator games, but it's not for me.

So, what I've done is this: On the right, I have a screen in 'normal', landscape orientation. This is my primary monitor, where most of my stuff is based.

And on the left, set slightly apart, I use a portrait orientation screen, onto which I extend the desktop of the main screen. This is, essentially, my 'viewing' screen - a vital counterpart to the 'work' screen - and it almost always contains a maximised browser window and nothing else.

How does this work in the real world? Well, a couple of examples:

1. I'm editing something in Dreamweaver on the main screen, and can see the results of my changes on the viewing screen. border: 10px solid red !important;... yep, looks like I'm in the right css file.

2. I'm composing an email about traffic sources to somebody important on the main screen, and in the viewing screen I have Google Analytics open to ensure that even if my email contains bullshit, it's proper Google bullshit.

I'm sure you get the idea. What surprises me though is just how well this set-up works. You might think that having the main bit on the right and extending it 'backwards' would feel strange, but it doesn't. It rocks, so it does, it fucking rocks!

Try it!

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