Category Archives: Multiple Monitors

Take Advantage Of Your High Def Computer Display With Slickscreen

It’s always seemed to me that there’s not much point in having a wide screen LCD display when surfing the Net – not when I have a ton of wasted space on either side of the web page I’m viewing.

Here’s what I mean:

In this screen shot (click to expand), I’ve got Internet Explorer open on a 22 inch monitor set at 1680×1050  – notice the amount of wasted screen real estate on either side of the Web page.

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So, for the past few days I’ve been testing Slickscreen – an Internet Browser which takes advantage of high resolution displays by dividing the screen into separate windows.

In the following screen capture (click to expand), you’ll notice that I have three Web sites open – plus a running application (Windows Live Writer), which I’m using to write this post.

In fact, you can even run your regular Browser inside Slickscreen, if you wish, so that you have access to your personal configuration specific to that Browser.

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The bad news (sort of):

The configuration options in the free version are far too restrictive in my view. At least two selectable startup web sites would be more appropriate, so that the full value of the application can be properly assessed.

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Having to deal with the developer’s pre-selected sites, and then having to manually gain access to my sites, is less than ideal. Actually, it’s annoying as hell.

Click on graphic to expand to the original.

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Fast facts (pro version):

  • Maximize your screen real estate with Slickscreen’s unique non-overlapping interface.
  • Capture Windows applications into our unique interface.
  • Compare and work with web sites side by side with ease.
  • Save multi-panel layouts, Slickscreen’s multi-panel bookmarks.
  • Drag and drop links from one panel to another for the ultimate in web productivity.
  • New:  Every Slickscreen panel can add ‘traditional’ web browsing ‘tabs’.
  • Leverages Microsoft’s Internet Explorer rendering engine for performance, privacy and security.
  • Lightweight – We keep it simple for fast web browsing.
  • Integrates – doesn’t try to replace – your default browser (Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer)
  • Panels can auto-refresh and auto-rotate at user defined intervals.  A great solution for corporate lobbies, break rooms or operational dashboards (requires a corporate license to use).
  • Skins:  Customize the look and feel.
  • Hosted on Amazon.com cloud infrastructure.  Get Updates fast and reliably.
  • No advertisements.  We don’t do ad-ware at Slickscreen.

System requirements: Windows XP, Vista, Win 7 (Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 Client Profile – installed automatically if not present).

Download at: Developer’s site

User comments at CNET:

Pros: – Simple Download
– Great user preferences
– Drag and Drop features
– See multiple applications in 1 interface

Cons: – Some applications may function differently in Slickscreen

Pros: The ability to have VLC player, Outlook, Facebook and a work window, all in one interface is very helpful.

Cons: The new App Capture feature is a little glitchy at times. Understandable I suppose because.

Summary: Very nice application. Free version gives you more than enough functionality.

Pros: Ability to layout your screen with web and traditional apps in a non-overlapping fashion so apps/web sites don’t get hidden or clipped.
Dragging and dropping content from panel to panel is very useful.

Cons: You need a good sized screen or high resolution display. Minimum display resolution is probably 1200 pixels wide.

Summary: Great application for people with good screens.

Note: Since this is not a full review (after only two days running with the free version of this app, I’m reserving judgment), but instead, an informational post only – you may find the comments from CNET users valuable.

Initial impression: I’m leaning toward the professional version since the free version’s restrictions are annoying. On the other hand, at less than $5.00 for the pro version, I think there’s good value here.

From the developer:

Slickscreen Professional is a one time fee for home users.  Corporate purchases of 5 or more licenses will be good for two years from the purchase date, at which time, an upgrade fee may be required for continued use.

Home users can install Slickscreen Profressional on all of their personal PC’s.   Corporate users are restricted to 1 computer per license.

If you’re interested in this type of application, then I suggest you view the short video on the developers product information page, here.

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Filed under Antimalware Suites, Browsers, Desktop Toys, downloads, Freeware, Geek Software and Tools, Multimedia Tools, Multiple Monitors, Software, Windows Tips and Tools

Why Everyone Should Use Two or More Screens

Guest writer Joe Coburn, makes a convincing argument for multiple monitors – see what you think.

image I often get asked, “Why bother with two screens, one is enough!” And this got me thinking.  “Why do I use two screens?” Well, the main answer is – because I can.

I am a lover of technology, and having two massive widescreen monitors on my desk – just seems like the next logical step up from one.  As it so happens, I also have two desks, talk about nerdy!

Although, when I first started using dual monitors, I actually did not have a use for them.  I did not develop websites at the time, nor did I do any programming.  The second screen was just wasted with a media player or email program.  How things have changed.

I like multiple monitors so much that I have now bought a third screen, which is just sitting there, begging me to buy a new graphics card to run it.

So, after a short period of time using dual monitors for absolutely nothing, I switched from two enormous CRTs to one widescreen LCD.  It was ok for a short period, all good in the hood.

I soon got into web design, and programming, and felt that two screens were needed again.  I bought myself a 22inch 1920 x 1080px HD monitor.  It is great, and using it in conjunction with my 20inch, 1680 x 1050px Dell widescreen, means that I effectively have a 42inch widescreen (not exactly the same!).  I now have enough space to run mostly everything I use, without switching.

When used in conjunction with cool software, such as UltraMon, you can even have an extended taskbar on your second screen.

To illustrate, just some of the things I can have open at any one time during web development:

Dreamweaver

Word

FileZilla

Thunderbird

Firefox

Chrome

*Shudders* Internet Explorer

Photoshop

Spotify

Multiple file explorers

WAMP

Windows Snipping Tool

Notepad

Now that is a lot of software, especially when I need to see most of them simultaneously.  Now tell me I can do that on a single monitor, without wearing out my alt + tab keys.

Now that you have turned to the dark side, here are some examples of what you can do with multiple monitors:

  • Play games (best on 3)
  • Coding
  • CAD/CAM
  • Stock Trading
  • Graphics Design

Hardware:

It does not take much to run more than one screen.  I currently use a single dual output graphics PCIE graphics card, and am in the process of adding a second PCI card with four outputs!  You could use two PCIE cards, a USB VGA port, or many other ingenious solutions.

ATI’s latest graphics cards have their eyefinity technology.  This allows you to connect three (or 6 if you use crossfire), or own a Radeon HD 5870 eyefinity 6 graphics card.  This technology will get even better as bezel-less monitors are mass produced.

Real Life examples:

I spoke with Rob Ray, the Development Director of Wise Recycling Ltd , and he was kind enough to allow me to conduct a sort of mini interview with his in-house IT manager, Chris.

Chris runs more than just dual screens, he uses four!  As a quick rundown, he uses 64 bit Ubuntu Linux 8.04 (not the latest, however, he cannot achieve the setup he has in any later versions), an Intel dual core and 8GB ram.  He uses two graphics cards, one standard PCIE and another, PCI, with one LFH 60 pin port that adapts to 2 DVI outputs.  All that gives him this:

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Those screens are all 17inch Dells.  Sweet!

Whilst I was there, and as it was a working environment, I saw firsthand that he actually had that much stuff open, he really does need those screens. I would struggle to fit all those applications onto my two widescreens!

So, who is guest writer Joe Coburn – “I am a 17 year old student, based in Lincolnshire, England.  I have a passion for IT, and am a web developer.  I aim to inform and have fun on my Blog, and I’m about to start offering a web-design service on my website.”

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Filed under Geek Software and Tools, Living Life, Multimedia Tools, Multiple Monitors, Productivity Software, Recommended Web Sites, Web Development, Windows Tips and Tools