Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Doubling up for old eyes

kw: computers, home, photographs

For someone who is often called a power user, I can be remarkably behind the times. With my son's help I built a new computer this past summer, to replace an 8-year-old Dell machine. But I kept my monitor, a 19-inch 1280x1024 LCD.

It took a gift from my son to boost me into dual-monitor land. He decided to get a big monitor for gaming, a 28-inch 1920x1200 beast. He handed down his "small" monitor to me, not so small at 23 inches and 1680x1050, not quite HD.

Nearly all modern video adapters come with multiple plugs; the NVidia card in my new machine has three, a VGA (the "old" standard blue plug), a DVI, and a HDMI. Its documentation says any two can be used simultaneously, so we plugged the bigger monitor into the DVI port and kept the older monitor on the VGA one. Everything came up just fine. I imagine lots of people have done this already, years past even, but I am as tickled as if I'd invented it.

Both monitors have 86dpi resolution, compared to the setup where I work, with smaller dual monitors at 100dpi. This makes my home setup much easier on the eyes. All the text is 16% larger, so 12pt type looks like 14pt at home. This photo washes out the screens: I have a Word document open on the left, and a browser on the right, making it easier to do research while writing. No window switching required, just glance back and forth. I must report, however, that this does not double the rate at which I get ideas.

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