Dual Monitor Set Up, 19 inch CRT versus LCD, Book Cataloging

Dual Monitor Set Up

I’ve been wanting to try a dual monitor or multiple monitor set up for myself for quite some time, and finally got the chance to on my home system.

All I gotta say is – if you work with graphics, programming, webpages, etc or you’re just a power user, it’s something to consider. Or maybe a must-have.

Basically, with my set up, I am extending my desktop across two monitors. I can move my mouse cursor from the right screen to the left seamlessly. I can drag programs and windows there; graphics, text, anything. I can copy and paste from one to the other.

So far I don’t always start the other monitor, but when I need another window open or more space it’s great. See the short video above. The vid shows moving a window with a high res satellite/GPS mapping program from one monitor to the next. Each display can have different resolutions, or you can even set the second monitor on its side and have the display rotated for page-like editing. On mine I keep both monitors at the same resolution, though one is slightly smaller in physical size then the other.

I could also add a third (or more) if I wanted to, but each display uses video resources, of course.

A minor annoyance is my dock program (Rocketdock) sits over on the top of the second display, and no matter where I try to dock it stays on that monitor until I switch off the dual set up. Not a big thing, as it’s a quick matter to jump the cursor from the right monitor across to the second one and drop the dock down.

I’ve tried this set up with editing a photo pixel-by-pixel in the right window, and having the full-size photo with the changes showing up in real-time in the left. I’ve monitored the upload and set up of a Wiki in the left while I read my mail and wrote e-mail replies in the right. And kept real-time track of an approaching Nor’easter via NEXRAD in the left while working on a website and doing research in the right.

I haven’t been able to get Flight Simulator 2004 to work with the dual monitor set up. I cursorily read a quick blurb on setting it up and I need to do something extra for mine. When I get time I’ll check it out.

And I haven’t tried it in Slackware Linux as yet (I loath trying to set anything new up in Linux ;().

Like I said above – I don’t always have both displays enabled, but that may be more of just getting used to working with multiple windows actually being displayed rather than using Window’s task-switching or the taskbar to switch from one thing to the next.

Interesting also; doing a screen capture captures both screens in one long rectangle (like widescreen). Excellent for graphics. Pretty interesting.

19 inch CRT versus LCD

I recently picked myself up a 19 inch CRT monitor, which I’ve been wanting for a long time.

you say. A CRT? But that’s so 20th century. Why would you; a computer guy, want that?

Well, a couple of reasons.

Firstly, CRT monitors aren’t much in demand now so people, businesses, and computer places are unloading them as quickly and cheaply as possible.

Secondly, I LIKE CRT’s. Maybe I’m the only person, but I tend to like CRT’s better then LCD‘s. There, I said it.

I like the look of the colors.

I also like the scanlines, the shiny texture of the screen, how they smell and look, the static that comes off them when you touch them and the dust that gets attracted to the aforementioned static, and their weight. Okay, maybe the latter list is tongue-in-cheek, but I do think CRT’s display colors much better and vibrantly then LCD’s.

But frankly, I don’t care all that much either way – I mostly wanted the 19 inch rectangular monitor. I’m not averse to having an LCD, but I still prefer a CRT.

Anyway, this 19 inch is great for working with graphics, though I still do a lot of switching back and forth (via a simple click in Rocketdock) between 800×600 and 1240X800 and higher.

In the dual monitor set up I use the 19 inch as the main (of course) and a 17 inch Compaq CRT monitor as the secondary.

On a side note; can you imagine how many CRT’s are being thrown out every year, every day for that matter? I have a bunch of them sitting in my garage that I can’t even give away.

I have a thousand books. Yes, a thousand.

No, no, that’s not correct – I have over a thousand. I’m not exactly sure how many over a thousand any more. Because, you see, I used to keep a meticulous database of each one but in the last 5 or so years I’ve gotten behind, by a lot.

So last weekend, while my wife was at a football game in Buffalo (I don’t watch football – my sports interests run more for mechanical-related sporting events; if it’s got wheels I’ll watch it).

While she was gone for the weekend I set out to find some way to catalog my books easier, and update everything with more updated data.

Awhile back I had run across a freeware program (I can’t tell you what it was, I didn’t keep it – usually I keep a copy of any interesting piece of software I come across, or at least the links to it but for some reason I didn’t) which accessed the Internet to update books as well as CD’s and movies in a collection.

After lots of research (when I was younger I wouldn’t mind spending a whole weekend alone, but I’ve become ‘too’ attached to my wife and miss her when she is gone, so I have to keep real busy;) I found a number of programs; both free and commercial, which will scan Amazon, the Library of Congress, and any number of other sources for info on the books I enter and automatically fill out the entries for me.

Some search only by book title and author, some have that option or search by ISBN (International Standard Book Number, the long sequence of numbers that are on pretty much any book you buy, usually in the copyright page and on the barcode on the back cover). A few will even use a hand scanner, a flatbed scanner, or a special barcode scanner to quickly scan the books.

Some will queue up as many books as you want to enter and then do the searches in en mass, then letting you choose or combine the various entries you want to include, including book covers.

I haven’t tried the bar code scanning but entering ISBN numbers via the computer keypad and queuing up a number of books works great. Book covers, titles, authors, synopses, categories, notes on what series the book is from, and all sorts of miscellaneous info are available. Exactly what I am looking for.

The biggest thing is choosing one. Oh, and entering the ISBN’s for over a thousand books…

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