RE: Business case for dual monitors

Subject: RE: Business case for dual monitors
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 May 2008 11:40:22 -0400

I'm not quite sure what the business case is, and I already _have_ two
20-inch monitors (plus the old CRT attached to my old test-bed box --
along with the mini-rack of four of our appliance products, this makes
for a crowded cube - Lorenzo, the hedgehog who oversees the whole mess
barely has a place to sit....... that reminds me; I need to dust him).

On my dual-monitor desktop, I currently have open:
- 13 Windows Explorer instances
- Outlook, with 11 e-mails (including this one)
- MKS Integrity, our bug-tracking and version-tracking system
- Firefox (multiple tabs, mostly work-related)
- a couple of Internet Explorer 6 instances
- Acrobat
- Distiller
- 4 MS Word documents
- 1 FrameMaker document
- my ancient copy of SnagIt
- Madcap Flare
- OpenOffice Writer (two documents)
- and I just closed Visio

Later today, I'll have GIMP or Illustrator (or both) open for a while.

Two monitors is barely enough. When I used to borrow a laptop, I felt
horribly cramped by that single little screen.

Our company is being... er.... prudent with purchases, and nevertheless,
more and more people in the office are quietly getting a second monitor.
Apparently, they just have to ask, now that several of us have had a
dual-monitor setup for a few years. The "new guy" hardware guy across
the aisle bought himself a 24-inch display two days after he started
here, late last year, because he was too shy to request company-supplied
big-screen real-estate when he was still on probation. Nice screen...
but I predict he'll be getting two company-provided monitors soon, and
lugging the 24-incher home, where it belongs.

I look forward to the day when I can move to Linux and use Compiz/Beryl
and that spinning transparent cube of desktops. :-)

Anyway, here's a thought:

Does your company have any shame?

If not, then stop reading.

If you think they do, then you might consider buying your own
dual-monitor setup, using it, then trying to embarrass them into
reimbursing you.

Does anybody else in the company have a dual-head setup? Is there a
graphics person? Use the precedent. Is there perhaps a
graphics-services house that you folks use for occasional artwork and
such? They'll be using dual-triple-quad or giant-screen setups. Draw a
parallel.

Determine who is the signing authority, or who would be the one to
convince the authority. Set up a little mirror or other warning system,
and whenever that person passes your desk, be furiously pounding
[Alt]-[Tab] on your keyboard. When they ask what you are doing, mutter
something about wasting so much time trying to find stuff on this
cramped display.

No doubt some smartass will pooh-pooh the visual real-estate enhancement
in favor of a freeware "Dashboard" utility to make it easier to jump
around and find stuff. To that you reply: "Oh yeah! That one. That's so
neat... too bad about the keystroke logger... you don't type passwords
or do your banking on that computer, do you?" Walk away, shaking head
sadly.

I'm willing to bet that, with the exception of a few Techwr-l members
who pride themselves on getting the most out of limited tools[*] and
pretending that they never experience discomfort... the rest of our
list-members are either already using multiple monitors (or single
big'uns), or are even now conniving to get 'em.

[* You know, the ones who say "why I create entire Help systems using a
text editor on my Crackberry, while driving and preparing a gourmet
lunch with the plug-in coffee-cup warmer in my Mercedes SUV..." Yeah,
those people. :-) ]

Kevin
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