Friday, October 1, 2004

Add a second monitor without adding a second monitor


By David Gewirtz

I want you to remember back to when you were a kid, when you could imagine anything, and even the weirdest, silliest, funniest things seemed possible. I want you to get into that mindset, into the mindset where it's OK if reality gets slightly bent, slightly distorted.

Arthur C. Clarke once said, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." I want you to get yourself to the point where you're ready to accept the existence of magic, accept that things can disappear from here ... and appear over there.

Now, once you're in that state, there's a better chance you'll be able to understand a magical little product called MaxiVista, an amazing piece of software that seems to violate the space/time continuum. To help you along this magical road, I'll need to be a bit more eliptical. Don't worry -- it'll all make some sort of twisted sense by the time I'm done.

Imagine the magic

Since you're imagining, I want you to imagine your computer's monitor. You've got a certain amount of workspace on it, perhaps 1024x768 pixels or even 1280x1024 pixels. In any case, you've got a finite amount working space.

Now, imagine you've got Photoshop or some other photo editing program open. You've got a bunch of palettes open and slowly, the picture you're trying to edit is getting buried under a mount of palettes, toolbars, and windows. Wouldn't it be cool if you could stick all your palettes and toolbars on another screen, leaving the whole monitor in front of you available for photo editing?

Yeah, I know, you're saying "Been there, done that." Just add another video card and a separate monitor. True, that's one way to go. In fact, that's what I've got on my desktop. I've got a second monitor that's used for just such a purpose. But remember, we're talking about magic, and while a second monitor and video card are workable solutions, they're not magic.

Instead, let's put our thinking caps on and explore the world of "what if." Let's think about how we'd create extra space on our desktops if we weren't constrained by the physical laws of reality and the entire magical world was open to us. Maybe we'd try a different approach. Here's one...

If you're like me, you've likely got a laptop in addition to that desktop computer of yours. When you're at home (or in the office), the laptop just sits in its case, lonely, missing your soft, gentle touch upon its keys, missing the opportunity for its glowing LCD to shine its happy light upon your face.