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Journal The Fun Guy's Journal: 191.3 Are two heads better than one? 4

I'm experimenting with running two monitors this week. I'm curious to see if having more screen real estate will be of any benefit. I suspect that for transient activities, like e.mail, web apps, etc., it won't matter. For big writing projects, though, I find that I've got multiple windows that I flip back and forth among - previous documents, research materials, drafts, formatting instructions, etc. The limited side-by-side I've been able to do up until now has helped, so I'm looking forward to this test. I have a book chapter draft due next week, so this is a good time for this test.

I've been hesitant to do this for two reasons. Since the older spare monitor I'm using is running at a lower resolution than the primary, I'm a bit concerned that moving back and forth will exacerbate eye strain. I know you're supposed to do this with matching monitors, but this is a spare parts job, and beggars can't be choosers.

Also, I currently have LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME apps like e.mail, tweetdeck, etc. minimized. I'm leaving my Outlook window open in the secondary for today; if it gets to be too distracting, I could go back to a single for day-to-day, and only turn on the secondary when it's needed.

Not sure how that would work, but it's an experiment.

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191.3 Are two heads better than one?

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  • When I was in the office at work, I always kept my laptop open along with the monitor hooked up to the docking station. It's great for lots of things, among those what you've listed above. The penalty of always being aware of email is offset by also always being aware of your main project.

    I'd like to hook my home machine up this way, but since I was laid off, it's not in the cards right now.

  • I have my main, large moniter which I use for my normal workload. The smaller moniter I use for Outlook, browsing or writing. Having your ference materials all handy and open at the same time you ahve a full document open will be quite productive I'd say.
  • when they pry it from my cold dead hands.
    My current setup is 3 - my laptop, the second monitor connected to it and my linux machine's monitor. I'd like to add a second for the linux box and have 4 but I've got to wait a bit before I can get them to buy me one. I don't think it is possible to have too much screen space.

  • HTML on one side, browsers on the other. You can switch the resolutions on the second to see how your site looks for those poor, poor souls who still compute at 800x600.

    If you're not running related things, I suggest not placing the monitors right next to each other. Especially if you're just using the second monitor for "LOOK AT ME" apps.

Real wealth can only increase. -- R. Buckminster Fuller