As long-time readers of this blog will know, I have a “double barreled” setup — a desktop PC with two 21-inch monitor screens.
Let me digress: I was a medical transcriptionist (typing reports dictated by doctors for hospital medical records) for nearly 30 years before I hung up my foot pedal. I worked “in-house” for the first six of those years — went to the hospital to a room in medical records that had a large computerized dictation machine that was hooked to word processors and a pair of printers. I worked from 2 pm to 10 pm, put on makeup, dressed professionally, packed a lunch, drove to and from work, etc. But then, entrepreneurs took advantage of these large computerized dictation machines to set up companies with server farms that could connect through the phone lines to serve hospitals all over the country. It also meant that they could hire people all over the country to connect to the server farms over the phone lines and work from home to type up the dictation and send it back to whichever hospital they were working for at the time. For most of my working life (until the advent of DSL), I had two home phone lines and my computer had its own phone.
This was back in the day when the internet still went SKWEE SQUAW tweedle-deedle-deedle. For the vast majority of my working life, I worked from my back bedroom (tough commute!), with kitties sleeping either on or by me, from 9 pm at night to 5 am in the morning. Because I worked from home, I didn’t have to worry about walking alone through dark parking lots at night so I could work those hours that nobody else wanted to work (evenings, nights and weekends), the hours for which companies paid extra (shift differential) as an incentive. I could forget about makeup, wear whatever I durn well pleased and didn’t have to worry about “looking professional.” (This was why when I traded in a 1987 Toyota Corolla in 2014, it only had 48,000-odd actual miles on it!). I worked from home for years before working from home was even a thing.
Because of my work, I had to have a word processing program to do the actual typing on, plus a transcription company program that would send and receive sound files and text files within an encryption envelope, plus another transcription company program that would enable me to play their sound files, plus the proprietary software I needed that would enable my computer to use a foot pedal to manipulate those sound files, plus a web browser. (I was using Google before most folks even knew what a search engine was. I found out about it from an article in Discover Magazine.) I also had to play back the dictation over headphones (and later, earbuds) to protect the privacy of the patients because all this dictation I was typing was somebody’s person healthcare information and could have been overheard by somebody else if I played back the dictation over speakers.
Then I found out about a switch (it’s called a KVM switch, BTW) that worked with Windows 7 that would enable me to hook two monitors to the switch and hook the switch to the computer’s monitor port and toggle back and forth between screens by tapping the ESC key twice. Having two screens made juggling all those programs so much easier than having all of them open on the task bar and shifting between windows by clicking with my mouse. I used that KVM setup for years.
Toward the end of my working life, I discovered a little cord gizmo that would let me hook up a second monitor directly to the computer without having to install a second monitor board/port (It’s called a VGA splitter, in case you’re interested). I could then extend my display across both monitors and have access to both monitors all the time without having to click a switch.
My current setup is a legacy from my working life. Because I have two monitors, I can have a knitting pattern open (which I am either writing as I go, or following) on one monitor and a YouTube video open on the other. I can have a word processing program open on one screen, and a dictionary program and a “character board” of pictures open on the other. I have a set of speakers, but they’re put up in the closet somewhere, because for 30 years I sat down at my computer and put on headphones/earbuds. I have an extension cord with an earbud jack taped to the underside of my desk that lets me plug in a set of earbuds just under the front edge of my computer desk.
Because I’m me, and because I can, I have a wallpaper program with a whole folder full of pretty pictures that changes the wallpaper on the two monitors every 10 minutes. A while ago, this painting was the one being used as a wallpaper. My monitors are 21.5-inch diagonal size, so I could get a good look.
A while later, this painting appeared.
See where I’m going? This is how you play mind games with yourself. You find some internet radio music you like, google yourself a painting or photograph you like, kick back and wish you were there . . .