Double Your Screens, Double Your Productivity

Ron Cochran is a help desk technician for Tech Experts.

When you think of a computer with more than one screen, you tend to think of a gaming computer or command center, but adding a second monitor can save money and improve productivity throughout the day. Having more than one monitor can save each employee several minutes to a couple hours each day, depending on the type of work.

Let’s break it down. It takes a few seconds to move the mouse and click a window or document; if you have to open that document, there is delay while waiting for it to load. Multiply that by how many times documents, programs, and windows are utilized throughout the day — then multiply that figure by the day, month, and then year. You could be saving thousands of dollars with just one employee.

You can add a second monitor to a laptop or desktop computer for a relatively cheap price. There are even monitors and stands on the market that will let you rotate into portrait mode (but don’t forget to change your display settings in your operating system as well).

There are a number of recreational and business reasons to consider getting a second monitor. One example is utilizing two or more screens for editing different types of publications, video, or still images. With dual monitors, you can edit and make changes to an image while comparing it against the original one on a separate monitor. That way, you can see in real time what you’re changing and with more workspace.

With many operating systems, you can have the monitors in a wide range of configurations. You could have: both in landscape mode (the way the typical user has a monitor — wider than it is tall), both in portrait mode (taller than it is wide), or one of each orientation (one landscape, one portrait).  You could also have one screen on top of another.

There are a couple drawbacks to adding a second monitor, but they can be lessened or resolved by getting one of several different mounting solutions. You can just set the monitors on your desk with the supplied stands or you can purchase a larger stand for both monitors. They also make a clamp style mount that would clamp or mount to the backside of your desk or desktop, which would frees up more desk space.

Some may think that having two screens may force the user to focus on too many things at once or clutter up their workspace, but the effect is typically the opposite. It has a staggering effect on productivity by making more resources readily available — to the point that some find it hard to go back to one monitor after using two or more. Utilizing more than one monitor has many benefits and a very few negative points and is something that should be seriously considered, especially for a business.

Don’t let the initial investment scare you off; you’ll immediately find yourself (or your employees) less frustrated and more productive… and dreading ever going back to one monitor again.

Will Multiple Monitors Increase Your Performance?

by Jeremy Miller, Technician
When debating whether adding another monitor will increase productivity enough to justify the cost, consider this.

• What positions would need additional monitors?
• What sizes would be necessary?
• The product you have on hand?
• Are there any other solutions?

Different jobs and job types might require additional monitors. For example, any position that needs to be viewing more than one full-screen window at a time.

People who receive information electronically, such as an email, and then have to input information into some form or database would benefit from an additional monitor.

Also any one working with large or wide documents such as an Excel document with a lot of columns. Researchers can easily read from one screen and take notes on another.

If deciding to go with an additional monitor or multiple monitors you must decide on the size to be cost efficient as well. If you just need two screens to display information then you could use screens in the range of 16 inches and 22 inches.

Going above 26 inches can sometimes decrease productivity. In some cases having very large screens or even a single very large screen can leave you searching longer for information.

Exceptions to this could be a graphic designer or a video surveillance personal. It has been found that having more smaller-sized screens than one larger screen increases productivity in low-cost monitors.

Next, consider your product on hand. By this I mean: Do you have laptops, computers, monitors, desk space, or additional ports available?

If you already have a tower and a monitor, check to see if you can support additional monitors by checking if you have an open video port. If not, then you have to add a video card or use a USB monitor, and this can add to the cost.

Most laptops and notebooks come with an external video port. Also consider the type of available video port. There are many types of video ports including VGA, DVI, HDMI and less commonly, S-Video.

If your desk area is not large enough to support more than one monitor then you would have to either add desk space or mount the monitors in a manner that meets your space needs.

If for some reason you cannot support multiple monitors but wish to increase productivity from your monitors you can always purchase a higher pixel resolution one.

A good resolution is 2560×1440; this will add desktop space with minimal monitor size increase. The higher resolution the more that fits on to one monitor.

Consider the cost of the separate options. The cost of adding a monitor to an existing computer can be costly if you also have to purchase another video card.

If you are planning on purchasing new computers it might be more cost effective to be sure that they are capable of supporting multiple monitors from the start.

Key Features To Keep In Mind For A New LCD Monitor

If you’re looking to upgrade your computer monitor, you want to make sure that you get the most bang for your buck, and buy the best monitor in your price range.

There are literally hundreds of monitors on the market, each with different features and specifications. You’ll want to keep these in mind when going over your options.

Response Times
The response time refers to how fast the monitor’s pixels can change colors.

Faster is obviously better because it reduces the ghosting effect when an image moves across the screen. The lower the response time is, the less you are going to see a faint trail in applications such as video games, streaming videos, or even Internet Explorer.

The response time is measured in milliseconds (MS). So the lower response time you get with your monitor the better performance you’ll receive.

Viewing Angle
Have you ever looked at a computer monitor from an angle and noticed that the image became dimmer or even disappeared. To compensate for this problem, LCD manufacturers have designed wider viewing angles. Don’t confuse this with a widescreen display, which means the display is physically wider.

Manufacturers give a measure of viewing angle in degrees (a greater number of degrees is better).

In general, when you’re choosing a new monitor, make sure it’s rated between 120 and 170 degrees.

Manufacturers measure viewing angles differently, so the only best way to really evaluate it is by testing the display yourself. Look at it from the top, bottom, side to side, and also keep in mind how you will have the monitor positioned on your desk.

HDMI Inputs
HDMI is becoming the future of video input devices. The top of the line computer monitors provide at least one HDMI input on them.

The HDMI input is on there so you can use a high-definition source such as a Blue-Ray player or even a high-definition camcorder.

You might also want to consider HDMI outputs in case you need to run a monitor to another highdefinition video source, such as a high-definition television or another HD monitor.

If you do decide to go with the HDMI, ensure that the ports are HDMI 1.3 compatible so that you are ready for any future upgrades to the HDMI standard.

Resolution and Contrast Ratio
Many manufacturers will try to sell you on resolution and contrast ratio as the two most important considerations when buying a new computer monitor.

While these features are important, they’re less of a consideration among the best monitors.

Contrast ratio numbers are way too easily manipulated to be an indicator of a good monitor, so don’t just rely on this number to tell you whether a monitor is good or not.

All of the best monitors have a ton of flexibility in resolution and support all of the most common resolution formats.

If you are running video editing software you might want to double check to see if you need something specific that meets your needs.

Remember if you need any assistance in choosing a new monitor, or comparing options, give us a call at (734)-457-5000. We’ll be happy to help.

Cleaning Tips For Flat Screen Monitors

Unlike their CRT cousins, LCD monitors require a bit of special care when cleaning. Their displays are much more sensitive and are easily scratched and damaged.

Follow the easy steps below to safely clean your flat screen monitor in just a few minutes.

1. Turn off the monitor. A dark screen will show dirty or oily areas better.

2. Use a dry, soft cloth and very gently wipe the screen. A great choice would be the microfiber type of cloth used to clean eyeglasses.

3. If the dry cloth didn’t completely remove the dirt or oil, don’t press harder to scrub it off. Pushing directly on the screen can cause pixels to burn out.

4. If necessary, dampen the cloth with distilled water or with an equal ratio of distilled water to white vinegar.

1.Avoid using paper towels, toilet paper, tissue paper, or something like your shirt to wipe the LCD screen. These non-ultrasoft materials can easily scratch the screen.

2.Avoid cleaning products that contain ammonia, ethyl alcohol, acetone, or ethyl acid. These chemicals can react with the materials that the screen is made of which could damage it or make it go yellow.

3.Never spray liquid directly on the LCD screen or it could run inside the monitor and cause damage.

Dual Monitors Helps Insurance Agency Boost Productivity

When Robert Leski and Timothy Wittman, owners of the Leski Insurance Agency, decided to upgrade their computer systems last year, they were looking for ways to improve staff productivity and enhance their customer service functions.

After evaluating their workflow, Tech Experts recommended they employ a dual monitor solution as part of the agency’s technology upgrade.

Leski Agency uses an ACT! contact management system to keep track of all of their client’s policies and information.

When customer service representatives (CSRs) are quoting new business, or changes to customer’s existing policies, they will frequently need to refer to the information in ACT! in order to complete the quoting or change forms.

Before the dual monitor solution, the CSRs would have to toggle back and forth between screens. Now, ACT! remains active on one screen while the quote or policy change form is active on the other screen.

“We needed a way to streamline our customer service practices,” commented Tim, one of the agency’s co-owners. “Tech Experts showed us a dual monitor system that lets our employees look up information faster.”

The dual monitor solution was part of a larger technology refresh project the agency undertook last year. As part of the upgrade, Leski invested in a new, faster IBM eServer to store their customer data, documents and accounting information.

The agency also upgraded the staff computers to new Lenovo compact workstation computers. The compact workstation computers are about the size of a box of cereal.

“We really like working with Tech Experts,” Tim continued. “Technology changes every day, and it has become increasingly harder or small business owners to manage their computer systems. With the Tech Experts team taking care of our technology, I can focus on what our agency does best – taking great care of our clients.”

Leski Insurance Agency was founded in 1980 by Robert Leski, a now retired Monroe County Community College professor. The agency writes general lines property and casualty insurance, and specializes in the insurance needs of educators through the MEEMIC insurance company.

Need a Large Monitor?

We have several large-sized CRT monitors, ranging from 19 to 21 inches, that came in from a client on a recent upgrade.

Normally, we dispose of old equipment for our clients by listing it on eBay.

Unfortunately, with the size and weight of these screens, it doesn’t make economic sense to try and ship them.

So, if you need a large sized screen, and would be interested in a “gently used” model, give us a call – we can make you a great deal!