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Author Topic: two-monitors ergonomics  (Read 16608 times)
AndyM
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« Reply #25 on: April 14, 2010, 10:59:48 AM »

Interesting, thanks.

I have a 24" monitor (1920x1200) with virtual desktops that I use with my laptop.  I have an idle 2nd identical monitor that I used with the laptop when I was working in two offices.  I couldn't use both monitors easily at present anyway since the laptop has only one external video connector.

But it's still not looking attractive enough to me to try to hook up that second monitor.  My brother has two 24" monitors, keeps a particular database open on one most of the time for reference, and swears by it.  Times I've needed something like that I just hotkeyed or clicked to a different desktop and back.

If I could easily hook up the second monitor, I'd probably do it just to experiment.  But I'm guessing I wouldn't like moving my head that much  smiley

It's interesting that multiple monitors work so well for so many of you.  I'll stay tuned to see if there are angles I'm missing.
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nudone
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« Reply #26 on: April 14, 2010, 12:41:59 PM »

I just wish i'd done this multi-monitor stuff years ago (probably when mouser first mentioned it) but then i didn't believe they'd improve my workflow that much - how much they do is questionable i suppose. it definitely feels nicer to work without having to Alt+tab and search through lists of windows - i wouldn't be surprised if avoiding Alt+tab releaves a bit of eyestrain too.

it seems odd that to me that there are complaints about moving your neck - i've really not noticed that to be a problem. if anything i'd say i'm more mobile in my seat and that's making things a little more comfortable when sat in front of a desk all day. it's early days though so maybe i'll encounter problems.

i'm so amazed at how much more pleasant it is to work with lots of windows (that are instantly viewable) on their own screens, i've gone and ordered another 24" monitor today (just the cheapest one i could find). i was tempted to order two but i really haven't a big enough table.

(admittedly, if i'm not doing any web or graphic work then i'll only have one monitor turned on.)
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joiwind
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« Reply #27 on: April 14, 2010, 02:20:31 PM »

This might be of interest here too : Dual Display Mouse Manager
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #28 on: April 14, 2010, 02:45:38 PM »

I have a pair of side-by-side 27" 1920x1200's here with a physical size of 49" from edge to edge.
I don't find any problems resulting from looking from screen to screen.

What I do find with multiple monitors is that they obviate the need to keep switching between different pairs of eyeglasses.
Before using multiple monitors I worked from a combination of hard copy and a single screen, thus requiring different reading lenses for each. Now, with multiple monitors, the information that would have been hard copy is displayed on screen -- only one set of reading lenses required. I find this to be a major benefit. (Bi- or tri-focals are just too limiting with screens of this size.)

I tend to 'work' always on one of the screens and to use the other for reference (data sources, help documents, perhaps email etc.).

I haven't tried a setup with more screens. Were I to do so, I suspect that 4-wide would be more useful to me than 2-over-2.
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Chris
nudone
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« Reply #29 on: April 14, 2010, 03:24:46 PM »

good points, Chris. i had completely overlooked how useful it is to use a monitor as a reading reference screen.

and joiwind, that looks like a very handy mouse util (i'll try it tomorrow). i was noticing today how annoying it is to grab the scroll bars at the edges of the screens.
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nudone
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« Reply #30 on: April 15, 2010, 01:54:18 PM »

"Dual Display Mouse Manager" conflicts with my mouse button shortcut for jumping the cursor to the next monitor - otherwise it's a nice idea and program for trapping your mouse to a screen.

a fourth monitor arrived today. i'm wondering if i've gone too far; in some ways it feels like 6 monitors because of the 2 widescreens feeling a bit like 2 monitors each. if anyone is going to get neck ache now, it's going to be me. it's also a bit weird sitting in front of them - it's like i'm at some kind of art installation.

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mouser
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« Reply #31 on: April 15, 2010, 01:55:14 PM »

nice.. i predict a lot of monitor envy when people see that photo..  Kiss
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nudone
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« Reply #32 on: April 15, 2010, 02:18:57 PM »

well, to say how cheap monitors can be bought for nowadays i'm surprised there aren't more multi-monitor setups. it's got to become common within the next few years - no?

as a four monitor man yourself (and my inspiration, of course) i'm wondering how you use them at night - like, in the dark.

there's enough light comming from these monitors i don't need to turn a desk lamp on - but, i'm wondering if i'd be better off putting a light on in case i strain my eyes somehow. at the moment, i'm a bit blinded by the glare from the peripheral screens.

so, you've been doing this a lot longer - what have you found best suits all this light directed in your face?
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mouser
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« Reply #33 on: April 15, 2010, 02:43:34 PM »

i have an overhead ceiling light and that's all i use, at all times; the shaded are mostly drawn in this room so i don't get too much direct light from outside.
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nudone
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« Reply #34 on: April 15, 2010, 02:47:16 PM »

okay. i'll keep that in mind. i'm just trying a desklamp (behind the main monitor). if that gets annoying i've a few other small lamp combinations to try before going for the overhead room light.
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mouser
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« Reply #35 on: April 15, 2010, 02:50:42 PM »

i notice you have a lot of icons on your desktop.  i'm in the camp that keeps my desktop completely free of icons.  i use LaunchbarCommander with large fonts and a sliding/hiding dock to keep track of any application i might want to launch, and FARR for others.  so i never have to minimize windows to view the desktop to launch anything..
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nudone
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« Reply #36 on: April 15, 2010, 03:22:18 PM »

i know you've been a desktop icon free zone for years and i understand your reasoning for it. i'm starting to rethink how i do things.

desktop icons have always been useful to me because i tended to have floating windows with plenty of visible desktop space surrounding them - so dragging things to and from the desktop made sense. it was quick and always there.

but now i'm using windows fully maximised (or i should say: lots of windows fully maximised) i do admit i find it annoying getting to the desktop for stuff.

i'm not completely sold on the way you do things as i want a quick and dirty place i can throw everything i'm working with - which the desktop is good for. i'm currently trying a method of using directory opus with filters so that it shows me the desktop but with content excluded. i can quickly select a different filter to change what's on view.

it doesn't seem a perfect method so i'm still considering using really, really, really organised folders. i guess the desktop is for people that hate navigating through folders - i know i do.

oh, i've just remembered something (which i think will be mentioned way back on the forum somewhere). i use the desktop with all the junk thrown on it because it's like a visual way of working with stuff. rather than organising files by folders and sub folders, you organise things by their position on the desktop.

i do use Farr and Everything and i'm tempted to try launchbar commander again - but my quick launch bar sort of covers that (erm, i think). i'm also using QTTabBar to provide drop down lists on the folders on the desktop - some of these contain nothing but shortcuts to categorised programs.

ideally, i want the desktop full of icons (all the desktops) plus a quick way of getting to everything that's on the desktop without having to look at it - but visually arranged so i don't have to use my brain when i'm trying to find a particular file.
« Last Edit: April 15, 2010, 03:25:31 PM by nudone » Logged
mouser
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« Reply #37 on: April 15, 2010, 03:41:55 PM »

Quote
but visually arranged so i don't have to use my brain when i'm trying to find a particular file.

wanting a spatial arrangement of icons to launch is a valid reason for using the desktop (or one of those tools like "Fences").

if you are already using a quick toolbar then you aren't going to get much benefit from LBC; in fact these screenshots of LBC are all you need to see to know if it can replace desktop for you: http://www.donationcoder....m/index.php?topic=18759.0

for me, spatial arrangement is not helpful, i like having things in a shallow hierarchy, organized by category -- that's why i like LBC.

LBC works for me because i have a handful of applications i use all the time -- so these are big icons always on the face of the dock, one click away.  then i have lots of other applications and files that are one level deep.
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nudone
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« Reply #38 on: April 15, 2010, 04:02:17 PM »

I've just had a quick play with LBC (again). I think i still want something like a magic desktop instead really. i'll keep looking...
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nudone
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« Reply #39 on: April 22, 2010, 12:37:10 PM »

after spending a few days working with the 4 screens side-by-side i soon got tired of the layout - it's just way too wide. i was even thinking i've done the wrong thing by getting the new monitor.

but - problem solved. place the screens into an inverted T shape and everything feels instantly right. (the new problem may be that i get neck ache from having to look up so much - in which case i shall try lowering the screens as far as they will go.)

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cranioscopical
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« Reply #40 on: April 22, 2010, 12:50:15 PM »

Congratulations, that's a nice layout!
The average air-traffic controller would probably feel quite at home  smiley
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Chris
nudone
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« Reply #41 on: April 22, 2010, 09:52:46 PM »

heheh. you've found me out - i just wanted to pretend that's the job i was doing all along. now i just need to mark out my runways on the carpet.
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superboyac
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« Reply #42 on: April 22, 2010, 09:58:25 PM »

i notice you have a lot of icons on your desktop.  i'm in the camp that keeps my desktop completely free of icons.  i use LaunchbarCommander with large fonts and a sliding/hiding dock to keep track of any application i might want to launch, and FARR for others.  so i never have to minimize windows to view the desktop to launch anything..
ditto for me.  No icons.  mouser also convinced me with his jedi mind tricks to get two 24" monitors.  It's like crack...I'll never go back.  The next thing I'm going to get is a dual mount monitor arm, which I need for my height.  They're giving me one at work, and I can't wait.  I have long arms, a normal torso, and long legs.  So my keyboard needs to be way low, and the monitor needs to be way high.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 10:00:03 PM by superboyac » Logged

OldElmerFudd
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« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2010, 11:13:08 PM »

Four monitors? Do you guys ever go anywhere?  Wink
I was using DisplayFusion with a Lenovo laptop and a 22" LCD; still have it.
A few months ago, I gave my 22" NEC CRT a new home and replaced it with two 26" (1900x1200) monitors. Looking around, I discovered Ultramon. While DF is cheaper, I decided to try Ultramon and couldn't be happier with the results. I do a lot of graphic work - don't know how I survived without a setup like this before!
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #44 on: May 09, 2010, 08:04:00 AM »

Quote from: OldElmerFudd
don't know how I survived without a setup like this before!
It makes a lot of things easier. Plus, it's always more fun, while playing a game on one screen, to see and ignore clients' frantic attempts to attract attention on the other .

There's an interesting dichotomy: many users have ever-larger arrays of big screens while others work from screens about the size of a credit card.
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Chris
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« Reply #45 on: May 10, 2010, 08:41:30 AM »

This new fangled multi-monitor thing is the bees knees!! smiley  Been using dual monitors since right after Windows 98SE came out. Back then they were these huge 19in CRTs. I had no desktop left.

These days I have two 22in LCD monitors (well there's also a third 17in, but that is strictly for machines I am working on), the main monitor is in landscape, and the secondary is in portrait. I could add more, but I really don't have a need, these serve all the multi-monitor needs I have. The 22in portrait rocks for viewing websites and documents, I can get the entire page on screen (plus a bit of the next page).
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Jurrassic
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« Reply #46 on: May 10, 2010, 03:09:05 PM »

I have been using multiple monitors since it was first enabled on macs...a long time ago. I am currently using three monitors on my XP machine; a 22" 1980 x 1050 WS flanked on each side by a 19" 1280 x 1024 4:3 monitor. These are driven by a pair of graphics cards and are mounted to a common Ergotron stand. The center monitor is my main screen and I use Ultramon for a variety of features.

The main thing I have found to help avoid neck and eye strain is to keep the monitors at slightly greater than arms length so that all are within my field of vision. Too close and I have both eye and neck problems. I am experimenting with a fourth monitor (a 37" HDTV) set above and behind my main monitors, but I haven't decided if it is sufficiently useful as yet. I have found that four side by side is simply to wide for me to use effectively unless I push them back so far I can't read them anymore.
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« Reply #47 on: May 11, 2010, 12:54:28 PM »

I have two 24" monitors and have this setup:
One is landscape and sits right in front like a single monitor would, the other is portrait and on the right side. The portrait monitor is used for all the Windows 7 gadgets for monitoring the weather, cpu usage, network, email alerts, etc. It also has the web browser up for quickly looking up info while I'm playing a game (in windowed mode) on the landscape monitor.

When I launch photoshop or lightroom, I use the right monitor for the main program and the one in the center for the resulting modified picture. Adobe has built in support for dual monitors so you can have all your toolbars and library on the non-photo realistic screen.
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« Reply #48 on: May 26, 2010, 07:56:12 PM »

I have 2 monitors at work, and the other 2 engineers liked it so much they copied.  The other two do a lot of CAD work, and with identical monitors, can stretch the active window onto two monitors for an (almost) seamless view that is effectively much larger with two 19"-ers than with a single 22".

For myself, I can edit word documents (right screen current version, left contains changes), or search an excel workbook and verify drawings on the other.

My setup has a 19" LCD almost centered, and a 19" CRT to the right.  So most work is done facing almost straight ahead.  Neck/muscle strain has never been a problem for me because I can never work for an hour without interruptions.
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« Reply #49 on: May 31, 2010, 05:11:08 AM »

Does anyone use custom multi-monitor stands?

I've got two Samsung 22" monitors (one in the centre and one to the right) and their flimsy (but very "Samsung pretty") stands mean that every knock against the desk turns them in to perpetual-motion Mr Bobbleheads...

Are there sturdy desk-mount options or am I best off going for hideously-expensive wall-mounted options (although these would be good as they could be pushed against the wall when the desk space is needed)?
« Last Edit: May 31, 2010, 05:13:04 AM by mnemonic » Logged
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