Nirvana: Three Screens!

I have used a 2nd screen off my 24″ imac for quite some time, and I had a 3rd screen, another 20″ monitor, just sitting there idle 90% of the time… I would sometimes use it as a larger screen for a laptop or my netbook… But most of the time it sat dark.

I have looked into a few different solutions to use the 3rd screen via USB, but they were either too expensive (in the $250-300 range), or they would just create one large extended 2nd screen.  (Which meant the 24″ screen would be on on side, and the two 20″ screens would need to be right next to each other on one side or the other… I never liked that lack of symmetry.  🙂  )

But when OWC came out with their USB to DVI adapter at just $99, I had to give it a shot.  I did exchange a few emails with OWC tech support to try to determine that this was what I was looking for, and while the responses weren’t as clear cut as I would have liked, it seemed like there was a decent chance it would work.  So I ordered it knowing I could return it if it did not do what I wanted…

Here is what it looks like — as you can see, it works!

3screens

While the manual is not well written, and it is 95% for windows, I was able to figure it out, and it integrates nicely with OSX System Preferences once you install the included software…  It works just like any other extended display on osx, where you get an individual display pref scren for each monitor:

osxpref1

And you can set up the “arrangement” however you like:

osxpref2

So far I have been very happy with it.  It integrates fine with Spaces, which was one of my concerns.  I am still not 100% sure how I will use all this screen space…  Having 3 screens and 4 spaces may not be the ideal set up anymore, and I may drop spaces, or use less spaces.

Delicious Library 2

I learned of a new mac application today on another blog, and got to play with it a bit.  It is basically a media library “organizer,” though I likely will just use it with books.  It automatically pulled in all the music and movies from my iTunes library, so I do need to play with that a bit more.

The cool thing about books is that you can hold up the book’s UPC symbol to the mac’s built in iSight camera and it will attempt to scan it and pull in all the relevant info.  (You can also use a bluetooth scanner…)  I tried this out on about 30-40 books, and it was about 90% successful.  The ones it failed on were Borders Classics books, and it appears that Delicious gets most of its data from Amazon, so that would make sense.

For books, it allows you to create “shelves” and drag and drop books from the library to the shelves.  It also allows smart shelves, though I have yet to play with that.

I added a link to my “blogroll” but here is a direct link to my published library.

My Books

So far I like it, but there are a couple of key features missing.

The main feature I want is to be able to publish my “reading notes,” which I post on the blog, from the library manager.  There is a place to add a “personal synopsis” and that would be ideal for keeping my notes.  But I also want them published to the blog, and there is no way to do that.  Since that is not possible today, I would at least like some way to tie the  blog post to the book in my library.  I am still working on that.

Also, when published to the web, if you click on the book cover, it only shows either my synopsis, if I have added one, or Amazon’s.  But there is a bunch of other cool info in my manager that is not published, such as details about the book (size, pages, date published), quick info on reviews from amazon, etc.   I am trying to figure out if I can have any other information that I can see linked to my public page.  If I can’t, then just copying my notes from my blog into my synopsis may be the way to go, though I really want Amazon’s summary plus my notes available…  :-/

There are a bunch of other cool features, though I don’t know if I will use them all.  But so far it seems like a handy tool and it is fun to “publish” my library and reading lists in a more visual way.

Let me know what you think.   Is seeing a “virtual copy” of my library on the web cool to anyone else?  🙂