Tag Archives: monitors

What to look for in a monitor

Most buying guides for monitors assume you’re buying a really expensive monitor for gaming. But there’s a lot more to look for than refresh rate and response time.

A good monitor can last 10 years and multiple computers, so it pays to make a good decision when buying one, even when you’re not spending $500. There can be a significant difference even between two $100 models, or between a $60 model and a $70 model, that will save you money in the long run.

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New computer, old monitor

New computer, old monitor: I see questions fairly frequently about using a new computer and older monitor together. More often than not, it’s possible to do, but you may need to know where to look for the cables and adapters you’ll need.

Here’s some help.

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Dual screen Citrix, or dual monitor Citrix

At my current and immediately previous job, we made heavy use of Citrix. Citrix makes remote access and administration really convenient. But you don’t get dual screen Citrix by default, and that’s a shame.

And it’s not so nice to be an end user and have two nice monitors but have that remote display confined to just one of them. A lot of work is data-centric these days. Mine sure is. Since so much of my work involves looking at massive Excel spreadsheets and doing something that acts on that data, it’s much easier with two displays. I keep the spreadsheet on one display and another program on the other.

Like all too many things, the solution is simple but non-obvious. I assume assuming you’re connecting to Citrix from a fairly recent version of Windows. Windows 7 is recent enough. Drag your Citrix window to the top of your screen, then slide it over so that it straddles both of your displays. Then release. Your display will then expand to take over both screens. Automatically.

It’s really simple, but I never saw it documented anywhere. So now the secret is out. If you can drag a window, you can get a dual-monitor display in Citrix.

Taming Office 2013’s appearance

A couple of months ago I upgraded to Office 2013 at work. I liked it, but around the same time, my eyes started burning. I never made the connection, but then last week, when a coworker upgraded, he mentioned his eyes were burning, and he made the connection.

He found this guide for toning down Office. We both recommend the dark gray scheme, which is much easier on the eyes than the default harsh white scheme.

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Buy as much computer as you need

Veteran IT journalist Guy Wright advises not to buy any more computer than you need. Wright was a prominent Commodore journalist, so he’s been thinking this way for literally decades. I grew up reading the magazines he edited in the 1980s and 1990s–yes, really–so it’s not surprising that I would agree with him.

I saw a couple of points worth clarifying.

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HP’s Stream Minis aren’t a new innovation but bring legitimacy

Last week, HP introduced two new PCs, the HP Stream Mini and HP Pavillion Mini. They’re small, silent in the case of the Stream Mini, and cheap, starting at $180 for a Stream Mini with a 1.4 GHz dual-core CPU, 2 GB of RAM and 32 GB of storage.

Motley Fool is asking if HP just invented a new category of PC. No, they didn’t–mini PCs have been around a long time, but previously they’ve been limited to the enthusiast market. Now there’s a big-name company with big-name retail distribution entering the market.

Continue reading HP’s Stream Minis aren’t a new innovation but bring legitimacy

Viglink: Looking back after 16 months

As my longtime readers may know, back in the summer of 2013 Amazon cut off its affiliates program in Missouri. I’d been using the Amazon affiliates program for 12 or 13 years at the time. It didn’t make me rich, but it generally did a nice job of covering my day-to-day expenses of running the blog.

I’m going to do something most bloggers won’t do–I’m going to tell you what I make blogging. I don’t know what Amazon affiliates are and aren’t allowed to talk about, but Amazon has no control over me anymore, and Viglink doesn’t expressly prohibit such talk. So I’ll talk. Continue reading Viglink: Looking back after 16 months

What to look for in a motherboard

I’ve been building PCs for more than 20 years and I tend to keep them a very long time, so it occurred to me that someone might be interested in what I look for in a motherboard to ensure both a long, reliable life and a long useful life.

Of course what to look for has changed to some degree over the years, but this is what I look for in the mid-2010s.

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Don’t buy a “desktop replacement” laptop

I found this oldie but goodie Lifehacker article: When two computers are cheaper than one. It advocates buying a cheap laptop and building a desktop PC to meet your computing needs.

I think it makes a lot of sense. A few weeks ago, a coworker asked me what the most I would be willing to pay for a laptop. I hesitated, thought for a while, and said you might be able to convince me to spend $600. “Wow,” he said. “I’m considering a $3,500 laptop.”

I wouldn’t. Continue reading Don’t buy a “desktop replacement” laptop

Tips on buying used stuff

I just found a Lifehacker piece on buying used stuff without getting ripped off. I have plenty of experience in this area.

The key, I think, is to deal in person, and test as much functionality as you can before handing over the cash. Continue reading Tips on buying used stuff