Dual monitors rock

Well, it's only been a little a couple of weeks, but I'm already spoiled. You see, at my new job I have dual monitors. And you know what? I don't think I'll ever be able to go back. I'm already trying to figure out how I can talk Sarah into letting me buy another 19-inch widescreen LCD.

The benefit of dual monitors is exactly the same as that of having a bigger single monitor - you can see more things at one time. This leads to greater productivity, as Jeff Atwood has been saying for years. And it's not just opinion and anecdote - studies have shown that increased monitor space can improve productivity by 9 to 50 percent, depending on the task.

For programmers, having an extra monitor is very handy. You can have your IDE full-screen on one monitor and use the other one for testing, documentation, supporting files and programs, and so forth. No more flipping between windows. It sounds like a small thing, but once you've tried it, it really does make a difference.

Of course, setting up dual monitors is naturally trickier than a single monitor. In my case, I'm working with an Nvidia card under Kubuntu 7.04. The setup wasn't too difficult, but there were a few hitches. I simply had to install the nvidia packages from the APT repositories and run the installer from Nvidia's website, which built the kernel modules. However, for some reason the kernel module doesn't work the when it is loaded after boot, but it's fine if you reload it. That makes no sense to me. Plus, it seems to have broken guidance-power-manager. Annoying, but not a big deal since this is a desktop. On the up side, the Nvidia configuration tool works well and is easy to use.

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