Friday, June 01, 2007

Dual Monitor setup

My background in electronics and lack of cash during my engineering days taught me very important lessons -- never waste hardware and always utilize hardware to the fullest. In fact i am big fan of the google strategy, use cheap and low end hardware but write intelligent software to compensate for the hardware/network deficiencies.

So when i saw this discarded 17th inch CRT monitor lying around in the office (everyone in our office has an LCD monitor along with a docking station, kbd, mouse, etc or they prefer to work on laptops directly) i just couldn't stand it.

My earlier setup comprised of a docking station connected to an LCD monitor using the VGA connector. A little investigation revealed that the LCD monitor also had a DVI-D connector. Since all my hardware is from Dell the docking station too had a supporting DVI-D connector. With the prerequisites validated i sneaked into my IT admins office and dug through heaps of cables to find the correct DVI-D cable to complete the loop. Trust me this was the only challenging task in the whole process. During my search i found all possible conversion connectors but the cable i needed was brilliantly hidden in the furtherest corner of a drawer. Now armed with the cable i connected my LCD monitor to the docking station via the DVI and the CRT monitor via the VGA and voila(!!) my dual monitor setup was ready.

One misconception about using dual monitors is that everyone presumes a 2x increase in productivity. Now this is highly impossible since you still have the same input devices (kbd/mouse). Realistically i would assume the increase in productivity to be in the range of 1.25x to 1.5x since you just save on the time required to analyze or sort the output (i.e. content displayed on the screen). Also we forget that the brain still processes data at the same rate, additional monitors don't influence our ability to think they just facilitate better visualization.

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