Friday 23 December 2016

Reorganisation of the office

Now that the new computer is working well, I wanted to incorporate it into my office, together with the two new monitors.

Once upon a time, there were two video standards, mono and colour-graphics (CGA). They were completely incompatible, it was one or the other. I used both (on different computers), because the mono was great for text, CGA was needed for games. A CGA monitor would cost about £400. CGA gave you 320 by 200 pixels, and four colours (choice of two sets of four colours). If you wanted 16 colours, then the resolution was 160 by 100.

And I played games on that!

Then along came EGA (vastly better colour graphics, also completely incompatible with the other two). 16 colours chosen from a palette of 64, resolution 640 by 350.

And then, at last, VGA.

VGA started as 640 by 480 pixels, but it gradually got better (1024 by 768) and better (1280 by 1024) and better; now you can run VGA at 1920 by 1200, which is really nice. And for all that time, which was about 20 years, the connector was the same. And I looked upon it, and it was good.

And now it's changed again. There's still VGA, but there's DVI, HDMI and Displayport, and some video cards now don't have VGA any more. Within DVI, there's DVI-I, DVI-D and DVI-A and the first two can be either single or double link. And the connectors are almost, but not quite, the same.

The Raspberry Pi has HDMI, and at least there's only one shape of connector.  And the latest interface is DisplayPort, which is supposed to be one standard to replace all the others, but (as always happens) it's just one more standard to worry about. The great thing about standards is that there's so many of them.

If you want to go above 1920 by 1200 (such as my new 2560 by 1440 monitor) you need to use something more modern than VGA. And there's so many standards now, it's become a pain again.

Also - I have a couple of switcher boxes that let me connect several computers to one keyboard, mouse and monitor. But they're VGA.

So here's how I ended up.

The 2560x1440 monitor is connected via DVI-D to my main workstation; I use that for everyday office-type work. The new computer (32gb memory, twin-xeon and a very high-spec video card) is connected via DVI-D to the new NEC Multisync 1920 by 1200.

And the other three computers are 1) the one that I use to run several terminals to various servers, 2) the one I use for updating GSAK and 3) my old gaming computer, and they are all connected, via the KVM box, to a 1920 by 1200 monitor.

So there's three mice, and they are all Microsoft optical mice, which is the best product that Microsoft ever sold. Two of the keyboards are IBM model M; more than thirty years old and still the best keyboard there is, and the third keyboard is a cheap clone because I do almost no typing on it.

And my office is now reorganised,

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