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    I’m not really convinced. Going through the authors points:

    Focus: Humans can only focus on one thing at a time.

    Humans only do well focusing on one task at a time. For me as a web developer, that can mean I’m toggling between my editor, my browser, and my terminal. These are spread across two windows, but I’m still working on one task at a time.

    If my email or social media feeds are available at a glance, then I’ll check them constantly.

    This is a bad idea, but just because you have two monitors up, doesn’t mean you need to put Twitter on one of them.

    As Barry Schwartz explores in “The Paradox of Choice”, decision fatigue is a real problem. Sometimes, more is less. […] With a single screen, I eliminate decisions. I don’t waste time deciding where to drag windows or fiddling with where to place a given window.

    For me personally I don’t spend any brain energy on where my windows go. IDE on the left, browser on the right. Even when I’m moving things around to see two browsers side-by-side it is just a non-issue for me.

    So I treat virtual desktops like physical screens that reliably present the same content.

    That’s great, but you can also just have two monitors to do this.

    Same Workflow When Remote

    This is the one point that I really agreed with. However for me I find I’m much less productive on a single laptop 13” non-retina screen than I am across two 27” 4k monitors. I wouldn’t want to downgrade my desktop experience so I don’t suffer on a laptop.

    When I had multiple monitors, I had to rearrange my windows every time I undocked my machine.

    This is annoying, and definitely something Apple should fix.

    So why do so many workers demand multiple monitors? I believe it’s a case of the illogical allure of extremes.

    I think this is because many workers do tasks that benefit from having multiple monitors. Accountants with Excel are a great example, because the benefit of multiple screens is so obvious.

    It’s great that the author is happy with a single monitor, but this seems more like a personal preference than a demonstrable improvement.

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      It’s great that the author is happy with a single monitor, but this seems more like a personal preference than a demonstrable improvement.

      Yup. As someone who doesn’t care for multiple monitors, I found the author’s argument to be pretty weak. Arguing for the number of monitors is as fruitless as arguing Emacs vs. vi(m). If it works for you, great. Otherwise, stop preaching.

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        IDE on the left, browser on the right.

        This right here. And when I am doing server maintenance - terminal on the left, massive spreadsheet checklist on the right.

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          I agree with all of this.

          I’ve used a 21:9 monitor – 29” flat and later a 34” curved – and found that I’m far more productive with two monitors than one. I use Hammerspoon profusely with a 4x2 grid configuration while full-screening just about every app in which I need to focus: Outlook, OneNote, Slack, etc. For the most part, the “center-stage” apps stay on my laptop screen while the browser, code, and other ephemeral things traverse the big screen. It’s lovely to be able to move windows around easily and have 8 readable windows open on my Dell 34” curved ultrawide.

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          I don’t understand why people write articles like this. Monitor choice is clearly a personal preference. It’s fine to write about some trade offs and personal quirks that make you prefer one or the other, but why try to go the extra mile and “prove” people with different preferences wrong?

          I use three monitors and I love it. I built my own window manager so that I had something that worked exactly like I wanted. (Dynamic workspaces, per-monitor workspace, tiling, stacking-when-I-want-it, etc etc.)

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            • Documentation on one screen, code in the other.
            • Manuscript on one screen, code in the other, new version of figure in yet another.
            • Paper with formulae on one screen, code implementing it on the other

            I find it easier to move my eyes/head from one to the other than to switch windows or desktops. To each their own.

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              Sorry that my comment is so brief and not very useful…

              “A Manifesto”. Seriously?

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                I’ve found that at work, when only coding, a vertical monitor - not too big - is great with Vim/Neovim.

                This implies I have the laptop screen, as usually work involves them, as the place for UI testing or docs.

                But at home I don’t flip the screens. Nor do I have a laptop. The 27” is pretty much the one I use and the 24” is for minor crap that doesn’t require the real estate.

                So all these “Why I did XYZ” posts always boil down to opinion pieces with nothing but opinions in the comments. Maybe useful for someone who hasn’t had virtual desktops and window placements ingrained in them since 15” 1024x768, but meh.


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                  Yes, so basically you can enjoy all the benefits (almost, and not really) with a single H-DPI monitor.. ok then, enjoy that.

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                    I actually agree with this but I also think it will not work for some people or work setups. I use a tilled window manager to assign windows to desktops and switch efficiently. But if your work involves repeatedely going through the same windows I think a larger screen is preferable, you save your fingers a lot of work.

                    As a side note, now that I use progressive lens I find my home screen too big and want to switch to a smaller one :)

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                      I actually started using the same workflow ever since I installed i3. Don’t bother with a bar anymore on linux, I always can remember which programs are where. I do have a little notification xkeybind for finding out what the date+time is.

                      Also, Windows and macOS both have a ‘multiple desktop’ feature with touchpad gestures, I really enjoy the one screen workflow after learning how to do all of the weird gestures. Doesn’t slow me down at all.

                      All of my dev work is now done from a Surface 4, which means I can carry my work around in a small bag and I don’t even bother plugging into extra screens anymore. This is coming from someone who uses 3 monitors on their home desktop :-)

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                        So Randy was wrong ? :) See pages 8 and 9 of the transcript of his talk Randy Pausch Lecture: Time Management

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                          Personally, I don’t quite agree. I find it much easier to have 2 normal-sized monitors side-by-side. It’s great to be able to have docs and code on screen at the same time, or debugger and UI, a reference doc and a doc you’re writing, or any number of other combinations. I find that swapping back and forth, even rapidly and easily, just isn’t the same. I would agree on 3 monitors or 2 huge monitors being overkill, as far as being too much or too far to look at easily.

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                            I am more productive in a full screen terminal on an 11” MacBook Air than on my dual monitor setup in the home office. (34” + 27”)

                            This is very personal and also greatly depends on the type of work.

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                              For much of my day job, multiple monitors help maintain focus on the task at hand, which requires navigating website frontends with a dev tools window and having an IDE window open, which is split between source and a debugger. The extra real estate of the second monitor really helps. Because I can switch context seamlessly. When I am writing stuff that requires fewer “views” on the different aspects of a task, I usually just use one monitor.