Desktop 2.0

Wow, I’ve eventually upgraded my tech-nomade life by switching to an improved home office setup.

From a single (1280 x 800 px) notebook + cabled mouse…

SANY1762

…to a (1680 x 1050) 22″ wide-screen monitor and a cordless Logitech keyboard & laser mouse:

SANY1777

You know I actually didn’t want to go this far and attach another screen to my system as I was afraid it would compromise my freedom (~ uhuru! :-). But it is SO much better to work on a bigger screen – which btw also has a much more vibrant colour contrast and provides more reliable results when it comes to photo editing & co.

Saw this setup (notebook + ext monitor) in use somewhere else and realized that I should upgrade my own desktop. Besides, being able to move a browser window from one screen to the other is just very, very convenient. Yes, I know, I am a bit late at adopting such “new” technologies.

The 22″ LG Flatron W2242T-PF is one of the cheaper screens and even though it comes with both VGA and DVI-D ports (this is a requirement to me), it does of course only feature a cheaper TN display (which will never be as efficient for decent colour works as MVA/PVAs, for instance). The monitor stand also is a bit shaky – it’s just a piece of ligh plastic with no real balance for the 4,7kg screen (manufacturers obviously trying to cash-in on selling extra VESA wall & desktop stands). However, my funds do not provide enough room for a much better monitor, so I’ll stick to this one for now. Am a bit curious to know what kind of screen type those 13,3 MacBooks come with.

Oh, and if you happen to own one of those new LGs: just make sure you reduce screen brightness and remove blue colour to a value of 23 (23 …there you have it). I don’t know why LG came up with such stupid factory settings in the first place.

The keyboard is a Logitech Cordless Desktop S520, kind of new model but it also has a nasty software bug: Logitech’s SetPoint software doesn’t like the Synaptics touchpad drivers as found on a laptop like my HP nx8220. Which means that about 50% of all extra (programmable) keys do not work (until Logitech comes up with a working solution, that is).

Compared to many other wireless keyboard-mouse dekstop solutions, the keys have a relatively low drop and it almost feels as if you’re typing on a notebook. Nice! The laser mouse is average but still better than my older + cabled 9,- EUR optical Logitech mouse.

I also managed to buy a used docking station for the notebook, so unplugging the machine for mobile use is much easier + the docking bay also has a DVI-D port. This really is the setup for me: a business laptop + docking station, hooked up to an external screen and keyboard once I am at home (thus avoiding the difficult scenario of keeping two different computers at sync…unless of course I’d be using a Mac machine, but that’s another story).

As for having a native 1680×1050 screen resolution directly on the notebook: I tested this a few months ago with another display panel, but 1680×1050 at something above 128dpi is just too tiny for my old eyes.

p.s.: Logitech stole 5h of my life with their f******** “SetPoint” software that’s supposed to power the extra buttons on the keyboard. What the…..??! Also, considering that this software just has to power some extra buttons and the mouse, you’re probably wondering about the 50+ mb download that comes along with using SetPoint.? Logitech hardware is nice, but their software really pissed me off big times.

[update: Logitech support wrote in (at least!), telling me to deinstall the driver for Synaptics touchpad. WTF? Sorry guys, your driver software is either certified, or not. I won’t install any shitty SetPoint crap on my system until that issue is solved.]

5 comments » Write a comment

  1. nice setup. very nice.

    i shall stick to my old hp 19″ and mac mini for my home use and macbook for portability, never really bothered to sync them prolly coz i keep my stuffs online and the wireless network i have via my old trusty linksys the files are shuffled right over. iTunes sharing to get music on both etc, i am a little short on money at the moment.

    anyone feeling the spirit of the season may send me over a 24 inch widescreen monitor for my mac mini. i shall be most grateful. :-)

  2. K1, you and I have a similar set-up–of course, I’m about 5 years ahead of ya :-) , but then again my equipment is about as old!

    I’m using A4Tech RECHARGEABLE Wireless Desktop, model
    KBS-2348RP. I was initially attracted to the wireless aspect, back in 2003/4, but what sold me was the base station that recharges AA (rechargeable) batteries, AA being standard size for many appliances. A4Tech provided *SIX* batteries with the package: 2 for the mouse and keyboard, and 2 to sit in the charger for stand-by.

    The mouse started having clicking problems just over a year ago, which I say is a good space of time for usefulness. It was easy to hack/clean several times but the internals are so unsophisticated that couldn’t fix it fully; I had to switch to a corded mouse temporarily. The keyboard is still going strong up to now.

    Funny, A4Tech’s software is also less-than-optimal to configuring the keyboard special keys. In fact, the config’ing was a bit limited (e.g. it didn’t modify the function keys), and it didn’t recognize some of the special keys!

    Despite all, I’ve been VERY happy with the setup, and when entropy dictates, will upgrade to A4Tech’s most modern equipment. I hope they have fixed these little problems after 5 years.

    I have no need for DVI until I get a monitor that can actually make use of it. My monitor no longer exists, but was been surprisingly mature for its time. It’s still going well but when I have to switch, I will look at LG if you so recommend.

    I rarely understood the need of a docking station outside of a corporate office. Can we get a picture of your setup, maybe label which cables are going where?

  3. Well, the monitor is average. It is ok for everyday use, but I wouldn’t want to do really much photoshopping with it. Problem is that the interesting monitors (read: MVA/PVA) start at 400,- EUR onwards, so that’s totally out of focus for me. Samsung is said to be better, but am not too sure about it. Maybe also DELL & HP (because of the built quality). This LG W2242T cost me ~ 150,- EUR.

    Best site for really good information (no marketing bla) is http://www.prad.de/en/index.html

    5 years ahead? I used to have a Logitech Cordless Dektop Navigator in white and with a nice mouse which I had bought in 2005 2003, but it walked away with my other 17″ TFT (to members of the extended family…) when I changed to the laptop in 2006. I am glad I bought this 22″ wide screen though – the picture is so much better. Really, the monitor may not be perfect, but it is enough for me and still better than the rather pale laptop screen.
    That A4-Tech keyboard…I KNOW IT! :-) In fact, I had to choose between the Logitech and this A4 model back in 2003 and then went for the Logitech because of the (unusual RSI) keyboard layout on the A4. I btw deactivated a key on the Logitech later on by putting some adhesive tape inside between these sandwich layers to disable the “switch current user” button (which was located next to the escape button, stupid Logitech). A4 was best bargain back then, quite agree to that.

    Sijui what Logitech did to their software. A4 mouse drivers at least were often less harmful than this Logitech bloatware.

    Docking station: true, it may be a bit exagerated, but I will need to take my laptop with me when I am visiting clients, so I was looking for an easier way to unplug this baby. Space-wise, my table is already crowded and I would love to have a smaller docking device. Huu…it’s HP’s PA286A – 2nd hand from the corporate world on eBay :-)

    Ask me again in 2009 and I will maybe have changed my mind. Would be interesting to see how I get along with an extra netbook on the table. Already hate the idea of having to use 2 computers.

    Last night I dreamed about having the perfect computer that syncs all my data the way i want it and creates frequent backups.

    (note to Apple fanboys: I’ll delete all your “Get a Mac” comments :-)