No student should go without (at least) two monitors

No student should go without (at least) two monitors

Summary: Forget that I'm a journalist for a moment, because no matter how much I try, I'm a student first until I finish my doctorate. I have recently discovered the joy of having dual monitors and my life has never been as sweet as a result.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Forget that I'm a journalist for a moment, because no matter how much I try, I'm a student first until I finish my doctorate. I have recently discovered the joy of having dual monitors and my life has never been as sweet as a result.

For the life of me, I cannot see how I survived before. As most of my lectures are recorded, I can download them from the university virtual learning environment, watch on one screen and write my notes live on the other; sitting with a cup of tea in my hand and without the need to change out of my pyjamas.

Just the fact of having an extra desktop gives me and any student, theoretically, the space to multitask and work effectively. Lifehacker reports research conducted by Jon Peddie shows the leap in productivity by 20-30%.

As I have added a TV tuner card to my main desktop, I can now have my main viewing channel, BBC News, running on one desktop to give me a constant stream of news and worldly-goings-on, and work happily on something separate on the other machine.

Speaking to a dear friend of mine, Bryant Zadegan of AeroXP, he got me thinking about Windows 7 and Aero Snap, the new feature which snaps windows to the sides of your screen. If you don't have a dual-monitor setup, having a widescreen display can allow you to pretty much have the same experience.

You'd be surprised as to how much more productive you can be with an extra bit of desktop space. Your thoughts? Do you need a dual-monitor setup? Is widescreen for you and nothing more? TalkBack and share your thoughts.

Topic: Hardware

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18 comments
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  • Two monitors

    Not sure about students, but in our work environment, having two screens has certainly improved/increased productivity.

    We use a cad program, Bentley Microstation, and our users have the drawing open on one screen and the tools on the other.

    If we tried to remove one monitor now that they've been with two for some time, it wouldn't be pretty!!
    TTGIT Guy
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    Minimum two monitors (2 x 24') !
    Sakibov
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    I agree. I had two monitors for a few years in college and it made me much more productive. It's useful for so many different things such as following written instructions, finding/citing sources in papers, separating "work" and "play", and generally making it known that you are a geek. Dual monitors are well worth the investment for students and many professions.
    gotamd
  • Why stop at two?

    My workstation currently has eight independent desktops that I can switch between, with a task group each.

    Screen space is a resource like any other, and there's only so much you can pay attention to at any given time -- but context preservation at least reduces the context-switching overhead.
    Yagotta B. Kidding
    • Why Stop at two?

      I like it. I'd like to see what it looks like and how you have it all configured. My son has 4 running. I'm sure he'd be so interested in this one.

      John
      jwlarmond@yahoo.com
      larmondj
  • Been that way for me since DOS days

    I went through the trouble to do it back in the days of DOS, with a VGA monitor and one using a Hercules card. It was tricky to not have programs crash when writing to the respective video buffers, but I got it worked out.

    When Windows 98 came along, it was easy for anyone to do it.
    chrome_slinky
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    I just want to challenge IT bosses who think a 20" widescreen TFT is a suitable replacement for a 20" CRT. It's the same height & resolution as a 17" CRT ie crap!
    You have to have a 24" widescreen to get at least 1200 pixels screen height.
    Everybody always says but '24" is so big'. But that's BS, a 24" widescreen is the same height (physically & in pixels) as a 21" CRT
    dyaimz
    • Depends on the LCD...

      I have a 17 inch laptop utilizes 1920x1200 pixels.
      logicearth
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    Every workplace should have at least two monitors, not just students. Trust me. It makes a huge difference when at work.

    It is totaly awesome.
    alamfour
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    Agreed. I've been using two monitors for several years a
    now and it's a huge productivity boost. (actually I have
    three - two on my main work machine, and one on an
    older machine I use primarily as a mail server) Recently, I
    moved office from the far corner of the building to an
    office right next to the boss. Originally he mocked my
    "mission control" set up. But after watching me work, the
    secretaries started bugging him for second monitors. He's
    recently added a second one - and now some of the other
    senior scientists are doing the same. It's not a case of
    "monkey see, monkey do" - I've been doing the mission
    control thing for years. It's a case of suddenly realizing the
    significant productivity boost you gain.

    cheers, Mark
    markdoc.geo
  • Since my college days

    I have been using multi-display set up since ten years ago. Now I have a notebook computer. I used to have the notebook's LCD and an external LCD as my setup. Now I plugged two LG L206WU 20" LCD to my notebook. One is plugged to the VGA port, another one is driven by the DisplayLink technonlogy through USB. I had no idea that it is possible now to use USB as a video card. So now I have one in landscape mode and another one in portrait mode. It's great for having email and brower on one screen and my software development software in another without constantly switching the task.
    idealab
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    It would be nice if I had two monitors... $$$$$ won't allow it though and my desk is rather small.... =/
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    I have two monitors on my desktop PC, and an extra monitor on my laptop with the program "Synergy" allowing me to use one keyboard and mouse to control both computers. Two computers (one Vista x64 one XP) really adds to what I can get done. I feel crippled when I work from home and only have a single widescreen (24"). I used to think two monitors was an extravagance unless you were a programmer or graphics editor, but I've found that anyone who uses more than one program at a time can benefit from more desktop space, and multiple computers if you are a real power user. John C. Dvorak said multiple computers were the hot ticket back in the late 80's and he was right!
    AMS-Ray
  • Watching 2 porn movies at once

    What a concept.

    Seriously, why the hell would a student need 2 monitors when they hardly use 1 for the right reasons??

    At work is another story ... specially when you must multi-task between email, word, special apps, a command console and wasting time answering idiots who like using MS Communicator (the new corporate big-brother).
    wackoae
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    Gee Wiz ! Two monitors !?! Welcome to the 21st century and now your really advanced.

    Yea sure, all students need two monitors and someone to hold their hand as they walk around campus and someone to wipe their bums too.

    Finally tution should be free for them too!

    Did you get paid to pen todays article, just wondering?

    Cheers'
    Dave
    davecason
  • prefer one widescreen

    what am I nuts? actually if I worked at just one desk, dual 4:3 monitors with my desktop spread across them would be great.

    but I have two regular desks (work office & home office) and I move my ultralight notebook between them almost daily. Each has the equivalent of a desktop docking setup. Widescreen is a good second best to dual monitors ... so why not duals at each desk? Because I said *almost* daily. I also travel a lot by air and have to use only the notebook's widescreen when on the go. It is just too blamed hard for me to mentally adjust back to only one screen. So it's widescreen all around for me.
    Jim Johnson
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    I can work with one screen, in fact sometimes I have to (ie. when I use my other computer locally instead of remote connecting from my regular desktop) but I dont like it. In fact when I got my 2nd system that I now use most of the time for operating both I changed better & faster video card to an old mattrox card I had saved just to get two monitors connected even if it meant huge loss in graphics performance - basically I cant play too demanding games but I now have better setup for actual work and I'd hate to loose that.
    robsku
  • RE: No student should go without (at least) two monitors

    Lugging two 24" monitors from home to halls and back again at the start and end of each term isn't a fantastically fun experience, but having two monitors is incredibly helpful... if you're doing the right subject. As a Computer Scientist, it should be required - 3840 pixels for code, consoles and debuggers is not only a beautiful sight, but a massive help. I imagine some of the Engineers could make use of it, too. Otherwise, a laptop with a single screen is more than enough for most (particularly those Arts students who think we're crazy).

    It might interest wackoae to know how useful it is to be able to have a document open for the main essay (for even CS students have to do some writing), another for links and references, a third for brief notes/the set questions, and a browser window. That's why a student needs two monitors. Desks in halls just aren't big enough for thirty handouts and scrawlings on notepads.

    If you're feeling lonely, Davecason, then you can wipe my arse for me.
    Lenny1882