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30″ Monitors Rock But Smugmongous Is Really Cool

Posted by Bob Warfield on December 8, 2007

Recently I bought a Dell 30″ monitor.  I got a new one from eBay for circa $1000, which seemed like quite a deal to me given that it hadn’t been that long since I paid nearly that for a much smaller monitor.  I was immediately enthralled with the thing after setting it up.  Playing first person shooter games you can just about get lost in the image and motion sick it’s so immersive. 

For certain tasks, screen real estate can be very important.  I once heard Alan Kay say that using a windowed user interface wasn’t like a desktop at all.  He said it was like taking everything off your desk and throwing it into the bottom of a trashcan and trying to work on it there.  For coding, web page design, or whatever else you use your computer for, there finally seems to be enough real estate on the 30″ monitor. 

I also found that as I’ve gotten older, I’m reaching that uncomfortable state where I don’t quite need bifocals, but there are zones of discomfort where things are hard to read.  Initially, I would take my glasses off and it worked.  Now, for certain things, I move the glasses out on my nose a bit.  It was starting to be annoying, but the 30″ monitor makes everything easier on the computer.

Just as I had settled into loving this thing, I caught Robert Scoble’s video interview of Smug Mug founder Don MacAskill.  MacAskill demos their new services on a pair of 30″ monitors.  The SmugMug site has the cool ability to open a window that spans both monitors with tons of thumbnails and a giant view of the currently selected thumb.  Holy photo sorting Batman!  I need this thing.  It’s so hard to be able to wade through tons of thumbnails, and the Windows Explorer makes the thumbs too small anyway.  I may have to give this a try, although I don’t know where I’d even put a second 30″ on my desk.

SmugMug is a really cool business, BTW.  Watch the interview.  I met MacAskill briefly at the Amazon Startup Project.  I’m hoping to interview him some time soon–waiting to hear back on their interest. 

P.S. It was so annoying not to be able to get the interview to pop out on Scoble’s site.  It popped out once with Seagate.  I zapped that window and then could never get it to pop out again and zoom up.  Oh well.

One Response to “30″ Monitors Rock But Smugmongous Is Really Cool”

  1. You are right on target about a couple of things in your post, Bob.

    1. Larger monitors are better (as long as we don’t set the resolution to fine!) I just got a 21″ cheapy (which I now wish I had held out for something with better specs, cause color control is very difficult to match to another monitor, which I have it next to a 19″ CRT).

    2. I discovered SmugMug a couple of years ago when I was developing an non-profit historical society that wanted to be able to sell their 10,000 black and white historical photos online. Not only is SmugMug one of the very few systems that are designed for just such purposes, I learned from their extended documentation that they offer free Pro accounts to non profits that can send in their appropriate documentation!

    3. You are not the only person that has had challenges with the podtech player. It has to be one of the poorest ones out there thus far. I read most of my news in Google’s Reader program. While I may not get all of the feature set in desktop applications, I can get my news on your computer, my computer, or anywhere I can open a web browser. That’s valuable to me! When I get to a podcast that I might actually want to watch, I do not want to be stuck inside the reader, so I’ll always choose to pop it out (if that capability is available). Not once, ever, have I popped out a podtech player and have it go to the correct story (that was being advertised within the feed). Which means that I have to go into their playlist, and find the show that I want to watch. Irritating, just plain irritating. I’ve posted comments to these effects on their site, but nothing has changed, and nothing has been said. Clearly, you and I are the only ones bothering to pop out their players in order to watch shows and continue reading our news.

    Oh, well!

    Thanks for the great post!

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