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Displays Programming

4K Is For Programmers 520

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-are-no-longer-satisfied-with-your-display-setup dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The 4K television revolution is upon us, and nobody is impressed. Most users seem content to wait until there's actually something to watch on these ultra-high-res displays, and also for the price to come down. However, Brian Hauer has written an article promoting a non-standard use for these displays. His office just got a 39", 3840x2160 display for each of their programmers' workstations. He now confidently declares, 'For the time being, there is no single higher-productivity display for a programmer.' Hauer explains: 'Four editors side-by-side each with over a hundred lines of code, and enough room to spare for a project navigator, console, and debugger. Enough room to visualize the back-end service code, the HTML template, the style-sheet, the client-side script, and the finished result in a web browser — all at once without one press of Alt-tab.'"
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4K Is For Programmers

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  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:03PM (#45917187) Homepage
    Personally, While 1 large monitor could have some advantages, I feel that many smaller monitors actually work better. Most window managers don't really handle a single large monitor as well as many small ones. For instance, I can just maximize a bunch of different applications, each on different monitor. Only takes a few clicks. To do something similar with multiple monitors, I'd have to do a lot of manual movement and resizing of windows to get things to line up right. I have 3 17 inch (4:3) monitors on my desk right now. 17 inch monitors are fine for a single window. I could see how having them slightly larger would be nice, but I'd much rather have 3, 17 inch monitors than a single 40 inch monitor, no matter the resolution.
  • by Albanach (527650) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:05PM (#45917231) Homepage

    Indeed, if I were an investor in this company, I would be quite angry. If he's spending his own money then whatever...

    If you were an investor you'd be upset at a company spending $500 a head replacing programmer's monitors? Sorry, but that's idiotic.

    Almost any non-negligible productivity improvement is going to recoup $500 over the lifespan of an LED monitor.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:09PM (#45917289)

    Yeah, because spending $500 on a monitor is just outrageous. That's an insane amount of money to spend on equipment for someone paid several times that amount every week.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:09PM (#45917293) Journal

    So let me get this straight:

    You'd be angry that the company was spending some tiny fraction of the programmer's total annual cost (salary + taxes +pension + health insurance + building overheads + support overheads)--even smaller when you amortize it over the life of the monitor--to make the expensive programmers more productive.

    You're nuts.

    Are you also angry that they've got decent computers rather than underspecced, second hand $100 shitboxes?

    If it costs you $10k per year to make the programmer 10% productive, that's going to be a substantial win unless you have very cheap programmers.

  • by ModernGeek (601932) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:11PM (#45917309) Homepage
    The problem that you describe is just an indicator that our software has not yet evolved for this type of display. Solutions to the problems that you have described are sure to pop up as creative individuals start a race toward different solutions.
  • Re:Character size? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CastrTroy (595695) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:14PM (#45917367) Homepage
    Well, to be fair, at 40 inches, 4k actually starts to make sense. It's basically the same as 4, 1080p monitors, each being 20 inches. So, you could basically get a similar layout by purchasing 4 smaller monitors, and then arranging them in big rectangle. Plus, as I said in another post, arranging windows is easier on multiple monitors.
  • by zakkudo (2638939) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:14PM (#45917375)

    That's probably true for most users. But when you disable raise-on-click and and choose to raise windows with either another mouse button or alt-click, maximize starts to seem really *really* silly. I personally work with windows on top of other windows, making better use of my screen real estate than most people.

    Now mentally, I could see how many small monitors helps you to organize windows like workspaces. That would be a plus.

  • Too big (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Oceanplexian (807998) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:17PM (#45917409) Homepage

    For the time being, there is no single higher-productivity display for a programmer.

    You can currently buy a 2560x1440 27" display for around $350. The Seiki display they refer to is actually two 1920x2160 panels stitched together and limited to a painful 30hz. Second, the monitor is not 4k, it's 3840x2160 which is only UHD. 4k is 4096x2160.

    Finally, this is a nearly 40 inch display. They look ridiculous as a computer monitor and the ergonomics suck.

    Just give us 4k in a 27-30" form factor for people that aren't blind. I'm amazed that phones can have higher pixel densities than computer monitors.

  • Re:Philip J. Fry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danlip (737336) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:32PM (#45917637)

    Shut up and take my employer's money.

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:34PM (#45917657) Homepage
    It's only a matter of time before Window Managers and Windows itself catches up. There are in principle NO advantages to a multiple monitor setup. In principle you could essentially emulate multiple monitors with one big display. In fact it's better to have a single big display because then you also get the height which reduces neck strain. You also would avoid the gaps between the displays, and permit overlapping windows between each section.

    Unfortunately, I feel this band-aid of using multiple monitors has held back the rise of bigger monitors in general.
  • The Other 4K (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slapout (93640) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:35PM (#45917667)

    Was I the only one who thought about the 4K demo coding contests when reading the headline?

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:38PM (#45917703)

    Wait for it...

    60Hz is just starting to show up. Dell's got two monitors available now and 1 that should be available real soon now that do 4k at 60Hz over DisplayPort 1.2a. There are a couple other monitors out there that also do 60Hz and a TV with HDMI 2 that'll be out soon. Unfortunately there aren't many video cards that support it yet and firmware/driver issues are just starting to get ironed out. Give it another 6 months and you should be able to get a good setup for gaming. (Of course, then you might have trouble with 4k support in existing games.)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 10, 2014 @12:40PM (#45917733)

    Response from management:

    Eh, accounting says we don't have that kind of money and down in the basement we have some old green screen apple ][ monitors. Programmers just look at text anyway right?

    I have a business meeting in cancun, and will be out of the office for three weeks...

  • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Friday January 10, 2014 @01:03PM (#45918003)

    Oh, for "-1, Used subject line as first line of comment".

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Friday January 10, 2014 @01:07PM (#45918053)

    > Must... reopen... Dell financing account.

    It isn't like these are some crazy-expensive $3000 monitors.
    They are only $500 at Amazon.
    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00DOPGO2G [amazon.com]

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Saturday January 11, 2014 @02:43AM (#45924577) Homepage
    A window manager could split the big screen into sections (arbitrarily, not just similar to your current multiple monitor setup), and the maximize button would then maximize to only that current portion. Maybe something like Winsplit Revolution already does that. That was my entire point - it can be emulated to behave like multiple monitors if you so wish.

    Then if you really want to use the WHOLE screen, you can do that too.

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