Tagged With multiple monitors

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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Windows only: PushMonitOff is a nifty little stand-alone executable that instantly turns your monitors off with a hot key combination, allowing you to flip them back on when needed. Why would you want to turn off your monitor by keyboard instead of using the the physical monitor button? If you manually turn off the monitor, you can't awaken the monitors with input from the computer. Once you activate the hot key combo and shut down your monitors with PushMonitorOff, any input from the keyboard or mouse will turn them back on. If you're sporting multiple monitors, clicking two keys on your keyboard also saves you the reach of flipping two, three, or more buttons to power down without feeling like you're shutting down a power station. Don't laugh—when clicking my bank of monitors off, I feel like I should be hearing turbines winding down. The default combination is SHIFT+F1, but can be modified to any combination you like by accessing PushMonitOff settings via the system tray icon. PushMonitOff is a portable and stand-alone freeware application, Windows only. Photo by Lemsipmatt.

PushMonitOff

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Windows only: If you're looking to manage windows and wallpapers on multiple monitors, it's tough to go wrong with the reasonably priced, and recently updated monitor manager DisplayFusion. We've sung the praises of DisplayFusion before, for its ability to customise your dual monitors. DisplayFusion has recently been revamped to include even more features including the ability to grab wallpapers from not only your computer and Flickr, but from the excellent wallpaper collection at Vladstudio—a popular wallpaper site based on responses to where you found your favourite multi-monitor wallpaper. While the addition of new resources for new wallpaper is great, it isn't nearly as newsworthy as the addition of multi-monitor windows management. Like previously reviewed UltraMon, DisplayFusion now has the ability to span your taskbar across all of your monitors. You can switch windows between your monitors using hotkeys or by clicking on the title bar of the window with the middle mouse button. There is one small hiccup with the window management tool, though: if you're using multiple monitors, it doesn't allow you to select which monitor the window will move to like UltraMon does. Using the hotkey or middle mouse button sends the window to the next monitor in the sequence as Windows sees them. As you can see in the screen shot up top, my monitors are arranged in a 2-1-3 pattern, so to move a window from the centre monitor to the far right one requires two clicks. Not a deal breaker by any means, and not even an issue if you only have two monitors, but something to keep if you're sporting three or more monitors. If you can tolerate the loss of some of the tweaks available in UltraMon, like the multi-monitor screensaver tool, DisplayFusion costs less than half of UltraMon's $US40 price at $US16. I've used both over the last year with dual, and then triple, monitors and, dollar for dollar, DisplayFusion is a great value. The day DisplayFusion adds a handy titlebar button for tossing windows from one monitor to another, I'll stop using the two applications side by side and use DisplayFusion exclusively. DisplayFusion has a limited-functionality free edition, and you can request a 30-day trial licence to test out the full package before purchase. DisplayFusion is $16 for a lifetime licence and is Windows only.

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Windows only: Moving your mouse cursor across multiple monitors can be a long haul, especially in triple- and quad-monitor setups. Snap your mouse from screen to screen instead with keyboard shortcuts. Multi-Monitor Mouse is a small application which, when triggered by a keyboard combination, snaps your mouse cursor to the next monitor in your multi-monitor setup. You can specify whether the mouse jump should be relative—having the cursor placed in the same relative position on the new monitor—or in the centre of the screen. You can also specify the order of monitors the mouse will leap to, if sequential's not your thing. It takes a few minutes to get used to, but once you get the hang of this app, it's hard to imagine dragging your mouse across 3,000+ pixels again. Multi-Monitor Mouse is freeware, Windows only.

Multi-Monitor Mouse

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<img src="http://cache.gawkerassets.com/assets/images/lifehacker/2009/02/mitchofficehed.jpg" alt="" Mitch was tired of travelling for work. After logging over 80,000 miles flying between Boston and San Jose, Calif., he hung up his frequent flyer wings and built an amazing home office.

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Windows only: If you're looking for a lightweight tool for compartmentalising space on your monitor and need support for multiple screens, MaxTo lets you subdivide to your heart's content. Upon first running MaxTo, each of your monitors is grayed out and a several small buttons are displayed. Using the buttons, you can divide each screen horizontally or vertically and grab the dividing bar to resize the space. Each space can then be further divided as small as you desire. The grey background is slightly transparent, which makes it a breeze to line up the dividers bars with existing window sizes (like when you've got your browser windows just so) or wallpaper details. You get five basic templates you can load on a per-monitor-basis for quickly sizing windows to common layouts without having to fuss with the settings. Once you've arrived at a happy layout and save your settings, from then on any window maximised in that portion of the grid you've created will be sized to fit.

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Windows only: MultiPhotoQuotes is a feature packed replacement for the basic My Pictures Slideshow screensaver included with Windows. If you're running a multi-monitor setup, your favourite feature in MultiPhotoQuotes will definitely be the support for your extra screen space. The basic My Pictures screensaver will only put one picture on a single screen at any given time, which even on a small multi-monitor setup leaves a lot of empty space. MultiPhotoQuotes fills the entire available screen space with a grid of photos. If you like a good quotable every now and then, you can keep the quotes feature on to randomly sprinkle quotes from the included quote books.

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One of the reasons I've always resisted a multiple-monitor setup is that the work habits which result wouldn't translate readily to notebook use and I spend so much time on the road. Lenovo's new dual-screen W700ds notebook (which the company rather pretentiously calls a "mobile workstation") partly overcomes that objection by offering a second slide-out 10.6 inch screen behind the main 17 inch display. Check out the video demonstration above to see how it works. There's some nice features here (including a built-in CF reader and a healthy 5 USB ports), though the weight would be an issue and at $8,199 for the cheapest model, I won't be buying one any time soon. Do you think we'll see more dual-screen notebooks, or is this a very specialised niche?

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Windows only: Free application VirtualScreenMaximizer maximises any window to every available pixel on your multi-monitor setup. Rather than expanding windows across all monitors, the default Windows behaviour maximises windows only on the current monitor. With VirtualScreenMaximizer, just hit the customizable keyboard shortcut (which you set by right-clicking the system tray icon and selecting Config) to go truly fullscreen. You'd think the app would only work on multi-monitor setups, but it actually performs an interesting function even for single monitors: When you invoke the maximize shortcut, VSM maximises the app to the full size of the monitor, covering your Windows taskbar and hiding the window titlebar so all you see is the interior of the window. This is an app that performs one simple task, but if it's something you've been looking for, it's a great option. VirtualScreenMaximizer is freeware, Windows only, requires .NET 2.0.

VirtualScreenMaximizer

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Running a screensaver on multiple monitors can be a tricky affair. The default Windows screensavers work just fine with multiple monitors, but you didn't install dual 22" wide screens at your workstation to blow away your coworkers with the expansiveness of your scrolling marque text messages. Fortunately there are several solutions to dealing with the quirkiness of Windows and multi-monitor screensavers.