Friday, May 11, 2012

landscape vs portrait screen orientation

I posted about my dual monitor + virtual desktop setup on Facebook and Twitter yesterday, and a couple of Facebook friends mentioned using portrait orientation for coding. I've seen and used this myself before, and have found it useful. I made a conscious decision this time around to just have both monitors be landscape, though.

There are a couple of reasons behind this:

1) Fullscreen games and movies designed for a widescreen format will letterbox pretty severely when played on a portrait screen

2) I don't have a seperate gaming machine. My dev machine is also my gaming machine, which I don't really have too much of an issue with as games are my business. I'm able to chalk up game purchases as business expenses on my taxes, so I don't see any harm in running them on the machine I use for work.

3) Dual-monitor screen capture and recording, tends to work better when the entire screen area is a regular, convex quadrilateral, so having one screen as landscape and one as portrait, as I've done before also, won't work.

4) There's a shelf going across the desk about a foot and a half above the main part of the desk. If I were to make one or both of the monitors portrait, I'd have to move this up a few inches, which would involve taking an allen wrench and unscrewing the shelf and re-screwing it in at the higher position. Not a completely insurmountable problem, but not something I'd do casually.


And really, I probably should have emphasized the greater leverage provided by the virtual desktops, as that was the real revelation that I had yesterday when I started using that –  on Windows, no less, where this kind of thing isn't exactly provided natively. Not only do I have eight screens worth of screen real estate now, I effectively have four taskbars across all the desktops – so the desktop with my Unity IDE and code editing up doesn't also have a bunch of Chrome windows with Twitter, Facebook, e-mail, etc. I don't have to close those to get them completely out of view, either. I can just move them to another desktop and forget about them for a while.

Having the double-wide-widescreen monitors is actually kinda nice in and of itself, FWIW. I have more of my peripheral vision focused on my computer screen at any given time.

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