Posts tagged ‘computer’

More distractions

After hearing about the benefits of more/larger monitors a few times (probably most often from Jeff Atwood) I finally decided that it was worth putting to the test.

second monitor

I took the picture with the laptop, but you’ve got my old pc’s ~14″ for scale.

I might have been better off going with a 22″ for half the price – and then if necessary getting a second monitor and a DualHead2Go display splitter – the laptop has only one port and I can’t go adding video cards.

I’m currently trying out the portrait mode to save scrolling around. This is absolutely fabulous for PDFs and such, though I haven’t had the opportunity to do any development yet. After a week or two I’ll probably try a wide arrangement, with two windows side by side.

The monitor (Samsung 2693hm) has been working pretty well so far. It’s a bit bright at night, however, and while the macbook will adjust it’s built in screen for the lighting conditions, it won’t adjust the external screen. Fortunately, the monitor has a set of presets (one of which is custom) It’s still a bit bright at ‘brightness 0′, but we’ll see if turning down the contrast helps.

Unfortunately, switching between settings involves the adjustment buttons, which are solid-state touch sensitive zones on the frame, so there is no tactile feedback. (I read about this in reviews, but didn’t think I’d be using them on daily basis.) The printing is also impossible to see in darkness or artificial light. I’ll probably resort to some sort labeling.


Ever since I got the Mac, I’ve been pining for the system monitoring applet in the Gnome panel. While I was in the midst of all my reconfiguration, I found exactly what I was looking for. iStat Menus puts essentially the same thing in the OS X menu bar. I’d actually found the application iStat while looking for a replacement earlier, but it was a window that was either in the way or constantly covered up. I used Apple’s system monitor to keep on eye on the network traffic for a while – but it auto-scaled, so you could never tell when whether you were looking at a trickle or full capacity.

I also ran across CrashPlan If I’d found these guys a year ago before I set up with, it probably would have made things a lot easier for me. Of course, there is the untested question of whether their linux client would work on my computer, which might have been a deal breaker. Their free program allows peer-peer backup, (full, not distributed) and they also sell an online backup service.

I also found BackupPC, which is designed for backing up PCs on a LAN to a central server. It combines identical files (i.e., the 10GB or so of Windows eating up the hard drive.) Might be an interesting exercise where I work, someday.

New World Order

MacBook Pro, self picture
It appears the photo application is attempting to use the screen as a flash.

Re: title: I’ve got an audio book about Illuminati going currently (Angels & Demons)

In any case, after running windows for years (and still using it at work), then linux, I figured I might as well complete the survey of the big three operating systems. Of course, the machintosh OS has become UNIX based, so its quite likely I won’t be leaving much behind my aging linux system.

The old PC, now running on 9 years, is holding out remarkably well considering. It has had two machine check exceptions in the last week, so it may be a good time to be transferring away.

Use it up, wear it out

My space bar is on the fritz.

For anyone who is curious, the computer was sort of a graduation present from my parents. This means that I now have to consider, as one possible future, buying my own computer for the first time ever. Yes, keyboards are cheap, but I’m past the average hard drive life, below spec for most new software, and I sometimes notice monitor flicker. The rise of computer donation and recycling also makes setting aside a working machine palatable.