Aug 18, 2008

The New Status Symbol in Silicon Valley: Multiple Computer Screens

Story by Richard Hart (ABC 7)

Programmers and people in the financial industry have used more than one monitor for years
It's the new status symbol in Silicon Valley: multiple computer screens.

Size doesn't matter anymore; it's how many you have. It's the phenomenon of three, and even four computer monitors per person.

Programmers and people in the financial industry have used more than one monitor for years. But lately, it's becoming common for the rest of us. Rhoda Alexander is one of growing number of people who use more than one computer monitor at the same time.

"It helps me tremendously, because typically, in your average day, I might have 15 different files open at the same time." Rhoda is Director of monitor research for analyst firm iSuppli.

"There's a certain amount of jealousy that gets into it," she jokes. "I do have office mates who come by and say, 'Wow! I want your setup!'"

Two developments are driving the boom in multiple-monitors. The first is the arrival of plug-n-play connectors that make it easy to daisy-chain as many as 8 displays at once. One company, DisplayLink, expects the sales of "extra" monitors to grow by 25% this year.

That's largely due to the rise of portable computing. In the coming year, we will buy more notebooks than desktops for the first time. Rhoda Alexander notes that, "35 percent, 38percentof consumers buy a monitor at the time they buy the notebook computer."

We like the portability, but not the small screen.

"I can work on the road in the kind of work that I do. But, oh, what a sigh of relief when I get back to where I have a lot of monitors to spread it out on."

Why not use a single humongous monitor? Ergonomics. Experts say it's not a good idea to keep looking up and down so much, and it's easier on the eyes to have the screens folded in on you. So, you want more than a single monitor. Don't you?

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