Archive for October, 2008

DisplayLink and Mac

October 26th, 2008

I wanted to add another external screen to my MacBook Pro and decided to go the DisplayLink route and use the IOGear USB-DVI adapter. The other option was the Matrox DualHead2Go.


The DualHead2Go was attractive because it emulates a double-wide monitor. Two like-resolutioned screens can be used side-by-side with full graphics acceleration. The drawbacks however was

  • price
  • lack of discrete displays thus impeding window management and physical display relationship
  • dialog boxes would appear in the center of both screens
I liked the DisplayLink IOGear USB-DVI adapter solution because
  • The price was very low compared to the DualHead.
  • The OS recognized it as a different display. This allows me to assign on display as the primary by locating the menu bar there.
  • The driver just turned 1.0.
  • Unplugging USB port has the same effect as unplugging a DVI plug. The Mac collects the windows on the primary monitor without any reboot or other interruption.
The compromises I made are
  • The redraw rate is slow, but usable. YouTube videos play ok, but window dragging is choppy. I think this is a combination of no 2d acceleration and USB bus speed. The mouse can be jumpy. The feel is similar to VNC, ScreenRecycler, or Screen Sharing over a network, but a little faster and there is no need to have a spare computer as ScreenRecycler requires.
  • Heavy redrawing (such as playing a you-tube video) will increase CPU usage.
  • Limited color gamut; looks gradients are flattened on photogrpahic images. Text was sharp however.
  • No color matching. The colors are slightly off from the native display.
I chose the DisplayLink and IOGear USB-DVI adapter solution because the work that I do is not very graphics intensive. The second display is used as a utility screen for email, web, Adium, or text editing.
The Mac driver was recently released as 1.0. I hope a near-future update will add better 2-D acceleration.
IOGear is among many vendors that sell external USB-DVI adapters. Some LCD monitors have this capability built in.
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Mac, Review , ,

Wow, WordPress!

October 24th, 2008

I just installed WordPress in about 5 minutes. The website wasn’t kidding when it said it was easy to install. WP looks nice too! I was contemplating ExpressionEngine since I am familar with CodeIgniter (with rocks), but WP is just NICE! I am still learning the interface, but I am loving the AJAX!