External Monitor Setup

After spending about a year with two huge and bulky CRT's in my office, I decided to spend about $700 to get a new 24 inch widescreen display from DELL. It wasn't only the physical size of the CRT but also its blurriness that annoyed me. Here's a picture to show what my desk looked like before:

Old Setup
Both CRTs are Dell M993s. Surprisingly those monitors could display 1600x1200 pixels! However, that comes at the expense of blurriness and eye-ache after a couple of hours.

Here's a picture to show what my desk looks like with the new monitor:

New Setup
The Dell 2408WFP monitor connects to my MacBook Pro. The other smaller monitor connects to my Windows machine. I share the mouse and keyboard using Synergy.
The smaller monitor is borrowed from my colleague's table since he won't be around until Fall 2008.

Using a large monitor is not without its challenges and problems. The main problem on the Mac (and possibly Windows and Linux) is that it becomes rather troublesome to resize the windows. Here's why: all windows manager that I know have three buttons on each window: close, maximize(expand) and minimize. On a small monitor, clicking the maximize button expands the window to fill your small screen -- usually a desired behavior so you can see more of the contents in the window. On a large monitor, clicking the maximize button, expands the window to fill your large screen -- usually an undesired behavior since you are wasting screen space.

Unfortunately, I have not found a nice way to resize the windows yet. I do have a trick though. Since my external display is powered by a MacBook Pro, I can always move the window over to the MacBook Pro's smaller screen, maximize it and then move it back to the external display! It's cumbersome but it works. And I get uniformly sized windows -- I am rather particular about having my windows be about the same size.

Fortunately things are better with my browser since I can just rely on javascript bookmarklets:

Pimp My Safari: bookmarklets:

"Resize to 1024x768"

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