Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Portrait Mode

So, have you guys heard of "Portrait mode" for monitors? If not, you should really check these out - here's an example of what it is:

It turns out that portrait mode is actually a feature of your video card, not your monitor. What makes it a "feature" of the monitor is simply that a monitor that supports portrait mode must have a stand that allows you to rotate the monitor.

So... it turns out that the Dell 20" Widescreen LCD panel that I've had on my desk in the Milliman office for 6 months now is actually a 'portrait-capable' monitor. Of course I had to hire a new employee in order to figure that out :)

Of course, after setting up my monitor at the office to do portrait mode, I decided I needed to check to see if my Samsung SyncMaster 225BW supported it (my home monitor). After doing a web search, it seemed that it didn't, so I did some investigating of my own. This monitor is absolutely awesome, and this is the very first design 'flaw' I've seen with it so far. However, it turns to be a weirdly long-sighted and simultaneously short-sighted design!

The stand on the 225BW is removable, and has a square mount. Inside the back of the monitor, the metal substructure has four mounting studs. Woohoo! I say, it seems like I can rotate this thing after all. Unfortunately, there are two mounting ears on the stand that fit into some holes in the plastic case in order to ensure that the monitor doesn't pull away from the stand when tilting it (it only mounts with two screws - the top ones).

So, long story short, I pulled out some cutting tools and cut myself a couple of holes in the plastic case (it's backed by the metal substructure, which I verified before cutting so that I wouldn't damage any components). Voila! - I now have a portrait mode monitor! I can fit 351 code lines in visual studio on one screen given my current toolbar settings (and the error list/bottom windows unpinned) - WAY COOL! I can taste the productivity already!

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