Thursday, December 23

seeing double

Decided to take a break yesterday from the humdrum existence of a graduate student. And stayed home and slept. For a solid 18 hours. Damn, that felt good. I don't know exactly when I accumulated this sleep debt (or indeed, if there was one), but oh, well. I hope the gods of sleep are appeased. They got a massive offering from this loyal subject yesterday. It helped that there has been stereotypical English weather over the past few days. Dark grey skies, an irritating drizzle that refuses to go away and a chilly wind that leaves exposed extremities numb. A gale force wind added itself to the mix as of yesterday so unfortunate cyclists such as myself are forced to pedal furiously to gain a few meters headway. Fun stuff, that.

I hooked up my second LCD into my main workstation today. First time I've done this in XP and it immediately felt right, unlike my experience with Win2000. The 2nd monitor typically extends the desktop by a large amount, so essentially, you can drag windows across your main monitor and onto the secondary. The problem is that my secondary LCD is slightly cheaper, so it can't support the higher resolution. WinXP allowed me to keep the same res setting for the primary, but switch down the secondary, something Win2000 didn't allow. It also allows a window to be maximised but only on one monitor, another useful touch. There are varying reports on productivity increases with dual monitor setups, for example one here. For me, it seems to be slightly better. I can write text on the report and immediately generate a preview that appears on the other monitor. Same with the bits and pieces of Java that I touched today. It's useful to have tests on one LCD while writing the actual code in the other, mostly because I seem to have a lower and lower attention span as time goes by. Another article on multi monitor productivity is here. Unfortunately, it's been sponsored by ATI, so I sense a small conflict of interest there. But all the same, it's worth mentioning the obvious. Doing the same task on both monitors is better, but trying to do a separate task on each... well, down that road lies madness.


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