Computer power is all about monitor size. I remember moving aside a 13-inch monitor and hooking up a 21-inch monitor to my Quadra 650. It felt like my computer was 4 times faster.
Now I have a 17-inch external display (has anyone else noticed that Apple uses “display” and everyone else seems to use “monitor”?) that I piccked up from CompUSA on a special promotion: they are selling the Benq FP731 with a $40 offf in-store incentive and $80 of manufacturer rebates for an end total of about $180. I checked the reviews of the monitor: it didn’t get bad reviews, so for the price I figure I could take a shot at getting burned.
Now I have this nice and bright monitor putting my Powerbook display to shame. It’s the difference between washing your whites with your colored clothes, then having someone who knows something about laundry come along and wash the whites separately. The Benq is bright: 260 nits bright. I don’t know what a nit is, but this display has 260 of them and it makes my Powerbook whites look dingy grey. I even checked to ensure the cats hadn’t been stepping on the brightness keys (it’s that and Num Lock they they always seem to hit).
Curious things emerged when I added the display. The Powerbook detected the display immediately and things just worked. I had put the display to my left and arranged the displays in the control panel to match their physical arrangement. When I did that, I couldn’t get to my Dock anymore! I like the Dock on the left side. Now when my cursor wandered that way it kept wandering onto the the other display. It was a bit confusing because my mind told me that I wanted to get to another application, and my hand did the right movements, but my cursor ended up on the other display while I was trying to remember what I was doing.
I re-arranged the displays so the external one was “under” the Powerbooks. I think I have the going down stuff in my head, but from the external display I move to the right thinking I’ll end up on the Powerbook display. I end up activating Exposé since I use the hot corners for that. Exposé doesn’t have much to do on the external display, but al lthe windows on the Powerbook display move around.
I’m curious what will happen as I get used to this arrangement, then leave the external display behind as I travel. Will I keep trying to make the cursor fall off the bottom of the screen?
Still, despite my cognitive obstacles, my computer all of a sudden feels more powerful. I don’t have as many overlapping windows because I have more real estate to deal with. If anyone wants to donate one of the large Cinerama displays, I can report back on whether the perceived increase in power is linear or expontential.