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Last post Author Topic: two-monitors ergonomics  (Read 21882 times)

urlwolf

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two-monitors ergonomics
« on: April 11, 2010, 05:29:40 AM »
I know people here (mouser) rave about two-monitors.
I just started using them, and I think I have a problem with ergonomics.
My neck is getting a workout.
Side-to-side is too wide. one-on-top-of-another, too high...
Anyone has a solution? Websites about ergonomics on this?

mouser

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2010, 08:17:25 AM »
it helps to have one monitor in the center for main work, and then the other(s) for just keeping stuff open for reference, so most of the time you are focused on your main center monitor.

nudone

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2010, 12:40:42 PM »
last week i went to 3 monitors: 17" portrait, 24" and 17" landscape. as mouser says, main 24" is central but i am using both peripheral monitors just as much when doing "real" work like web design.

i expected problems but i assume it would be with eyestrain. so far, everything seems fine - maybe moving my eyes around more than looking at a single monitor actually helps them???

i have been attempting to take more breaks and get out my seat so maybe that is something you need to try - if possible. i've also been told that monitors should be at arms length - which mine aren't if i'm sitting upright - but i think it's worth investigating (or i will if find problems with this current screen layout).

i'd be interested to hear how you develop your setup as i can forsee problems ahead with long periods of use - i may have just not used things enough to notice yet.

(i must say i've also found the extra screen space very productive - it's definitely the way to go if you can justifiy it. i'm tempted to even go for a fourth monitor as i'm sure it would be very useful.)

AndyM

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2010, 01:17:26 PM »
Quote
last week i went to 3 monitors: 17" portrait, 24" and 17" landscape

what resolution(s) are you running on each monitor?

nudone

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2010, 01:51:38 PM »
all are in native resolution, so:

17" portrait is: 1024 x 1280.
17" landscape is: 1280 x 1024
24" is 1920 x 1200.

i've gone for these sizes, partly by choice and partly by convenience. i got the 17" portrait as it was almost the same height as my main 24" and also was wide enough to view the standard(ish) web browser width of 1024 pixels. for a while i thought this was more than enough for my needs (two monitors).

then i realised i had room for an extra graphics card (just a cheap pci-e one at £30) that i could connect a spare monitor to. this 3rd monitor has allowed me to set up a screen for running wider windows on - like FireBug.

i wasn't expecting this 3 monitor layout to make much of a difference as i was so used to flicking with Alt+tab, but i think the difference is obvious within a few hours of working with them. i used to view it as a bit of an extravagance to have a multi-monitor setup but i now believe that if you are making a living from using a computer then several monitors are (probably) an essential part of your toolkit.

p.s.
i do use the 24" like a two monitor setup too. so that's a bit like having 4 screens in total. i can easily have 10 windows open at a time so you can see how annoying it is Alt+tabbing between them all.
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 01:55:02 PM by nudone »

mouser

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2010, 02:10:01 PM »
i usually have 4 identical 21" monitors, 1900x1200, all landscape, controlled by 2 graphics cards.

AndyM

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2010, 04:00:44 PM »
... i got the 17" portrait as it was almost the same height as my main 24" and also was wide enough to view the standard(ish) web browser width of 1024 pixels. ...

...this 3rd monitor has allowed me to set up a screen for running wider windows on

i do use the 24" like a two monitor setup too. so that's a bit like having 4 screens in total.

hmm, I have to say this sounds useful

AndyM

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2010, 04:01:53 PM »
i usually have 4 identical 21" monitors, 1900x1200, all landscape, controlled by 2 graphics cards.

2 wide by 2 high?  no, you said to have one in the middle.  So 2 high in the middle and one to either side, or 4 wide?

mouser

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2010, 04:04:32 PM »
basically i have 3 wide, with one in center, and then one on the far left, angled (curved) to face me.

Dormouse

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2010, 04:58:33 PM »
And if you have a chair that is set up to move with you, looking at the top of a two bank set is just a question of leaning back.


AndyM

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2010, 05:05:00 PM »
Does everyone have only one taskbar in the middle (main) monitor, or does the taskbar extend across monitors, or does each monitor have it's own taskbar?

OhNoNotAgain

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2010, 05:58:34 PM »
Hello everyone, this is my third post since I registered in 2008 - hate to rush into things, ya know.....

Both my wife and I are running two monitors each. Hers are wide screen and of the same size. SyncMaster 2243 (22" diag.)

My setup is a tad different in that my main monitor (directly in front of me) is a 19" diag, SyncMaster 915n, and my secondary monitor (to the right of the main monitor and angled towards me) is a 17" diag, SyncMaster  710n.

Both monitors are set at 32bit color, 1280x1024 resolution, and 75Hz refresh rate and set as extended displays. They are being driven by a Sapphire HD 3850 Graphics Card w/512 MB GDDR3 memory.

We are both using the Ultramon program which puts the taskbar at the bottom of both monitors. It is set so that only the programs running on a particular monitor are shown on its taskbar. We like Ultramon, by the way, because it puts an additional command button at the top of the open programs that you can click and automatically move it to the other browser. No more dragging from one monitor to the other.

Right now my monitors are position about an arms length from me and around 9.5 inches from the desktop to the bottom of the monitors. I expect to be making some changes that will lower the monitors several inches and allow me to pull them closer when desired.
Any Thing - Any Time - Any Place - Any How

mouser

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2010, 06:02:45 PM »
Quote
We are both using the Ultramon program which puts the taskbar at the bottom of both monitors. It is set so that only the programs running on a particular monitor are shown on its taskbar.


ultramon isn't the only program that does this, but i use it as well.  it is very useful to have a different taskbar on each monitor.  i don't use any of the other fancy features of ultramon.

i also put the main taskbar with startmenu and system tray on a side monitor (not the central one).

OhNoNotAgain

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2010, 06:05:11 PM »
Quote
ultramon isn't the only program that does this, but i use it as well.  it is very useful to have a different taskbar on each monitor.  i don't use any of the other fancy features of ultramon.

i also put the main taskbar with startmenu and system tray on a side monitor (not the central one).
I like that idea. Have you made your side monitor the '#1' monitor to do this? Or did you drag your icons, etc. from your main monitor to the side one?
Any Thing - Any Time - Any Place - Any How
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 06:11:02 PM by OhNoNotAgain »

OhNoNotAgain

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2010, 06:13:32 PM »
I  see I'm having a tad of a problem with 'quotes' today.

To clarify:

Mouser, I like that idea. Have you made your side monitor the '#1' monitor to do this? Or did you drag your icons, etc. from your main monitor to the side one?
Any Thing - Any Time - Any Place - Any How

mouser

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #15 on: April 11, 2010, 06:21:12 PM »
i just dragged the start menu taskbar to the side monitor -- and kept my primary monitor centered.

i *think* i did that so that applications that by default open on primary monitor would still open on my centered monitor.

i dont have any icons shown on my desktop, i use a launchbar for that (LaunchBar Commander), docked to the side of the screen.

urlwolf

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2010, 01:21:54 AM »
hmm. I don't understand.
So for these settings to work, you must do most of your work on the main monitor, and only use the sides (barely) with peripheral vision. Otherwise, your neck would be always twisted, which I don't think is a good thing.

nudone

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2010, 01:51:19 AM »
i use Ultramon too. i've also got a couple of buttons (10 button mouse) set to make the cursor jump to the next monitor along . i never thought about moving the taskbar though - might have to try that. i'm also still tempted to set up a virtual desktop to try and collect a few windows together.


i've not noticed any neck problems so far - if it happens i'll report back.

Stoic Joker

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #18 on: April 12, 2010, 05:45:53 AM »
I've got 2 monitors that sit side by side both angled slightly inward. I sit directly facing the the center point where they meet, with the taskbar on the left so the notification area is always in my field of view. Only time I have to move my head is to glance down at the keyboard - because I still can't type... *shrug*

I do however generally take my glasses off while computing, because the progressive lenses have a "viewing Channel" that requires you to move your head to avoid bluring/distortion. I may eventually need to get a pair of regular (non-progressive or bifocal) glasses for the comp but for now my mid range vision still works fine with the 1280 x 1024 resolution on the 2 17" 4:3 monitors I have.

urlwolf

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #19 on: April 12, 2010, 06:35:12 AM »
Thanks stoic Joker, I'm trying that.
@mouser: wow, 4 monitors...

nudone

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #20 on: April 13, 2010, 12:30:58 PM »
i mentioned above that i was tempted to use a virtual desktop even though i've a physical multi-screen setup.

i've been trying a few of the typical virtual desktop managers (Dexpot, etc) and so far the free util "VirtuaWin" http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/ appears to work perfectly fine alongside UltraMon. the problem with the other virtual desktop mangers was that they lost the extra taskbars provided by UltraMon.

VirtuaWin also has a range of modules to extend it which i've yet to try.

if i notice anything interesting about the VirtuaWin/UltraMon combination i'll make a post about it. i'm expecting it to take a while to work out a best way to use all of these extra functions and desktop space...

AndyM

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #21 on: April 13, 2010, 01:15:20 PM »
I use virtual desktops (have since OS/2 days), so a combination of virtual desktops and multiple monitors sounds particularly interesting.

nudone, your monitors are not all the same size and orientation.  Would you run particular destops on particular monitors?

nudone

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #22 on: April 13, 2010, 01:38:06 PM »
Would you run particular destops on particular monitors?
can you explain a little more, i'm not sure what you mean - it's confusing having all these virtual and physical desktops to refer to.

AndyM

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #23 on: April 13, 2010, 09:32:29 PM »
With Mouser's setup (identical monitors), it wouldn't matter which monitor you ran a particular virtual desktop on.

But with your setup, I imagine some virtual desktops would be set up for the portrait monitor, some for the bigger landscape monitor, etc. 

nudone

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Re: two-monitors ergonomics
« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2010, 01:58:03 AM »
so far (unless i've missed some important configuration options) it looks like you don't have a choice to set individual virtual desktops to specific screens. the utils i've tried consider the entire collection of real desktop space, i.e. all your monitors, as one single desktop.

so, when using a virtual desktop manager, you get a virtual duplicate of whatever your real physical desktop setup is. "desktop 1" has my 3 monitors on it and "desktop 2" has the same 3 monitor screen layout.

this was part of the problem when trying the virtual desktop manager programs. because they appear to assume you've only got a single monitor they don't know what to do with a taskbar on a second monitor - so the extra taskbars vanish which makes your virtual desktops on the secondary monitors hard to use.

VirtuaWin doesn't have this problem at all - it totally respects UltraMon's extra taskbars so you get taskbars on all screens on all virtual (and real) desktops.
« Last Edit: April 14, 2010, 02:02:44 AM by nudone »