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Tiny additional screen

Next to or below your computer screen.
  [vote for,

I usually work with the application I'm working on maximised to the whole screen. However, I often have a small window displayed which I have to check on occasionally and which goes to the 'back' whenever I focus on my 'main' application.
These windows are e.g. Windows Alerts, Copy/Download Progress, MP3 player, Palm/AvantGo Sync.
I could have my main application not take up the whole screen, and have all the small windows at the bottom of the screen for example, but the problems with this are that I don't always have additional small windows, so space would be wasted, and the 'maximise' button would be redundant, and also, a 1024-pixel wide slice of my screen is too big and the wrong shape for these windows.
So what I propose is that computer monitors come with a small LCD screen just below and to the right of the main screen which would be used only for displaying designated small windows. The cursor would move between the two screens as if they were both part of one big screen.
hippo, Feb 28 2002

for bristolz http://lwn.net/2001/0802/desktop.php3
this link also talks about xinerama, another similar application.
there's a lot more info out there if you search for it. [mihali, Feb 28 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

(?) A... um... tiny addional screen... http://www.synaptic...m/products/cpad.cfm
...and mousepad. OK, I admit it, the functionality that hippo's asking for is completely lacking, but it is a second screen and it ships on some Toshiba laptop or other. [st3f, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Multiple Monitors http://www.9xmedia....Configurations.html
I don't know what I would do with 9, but it would be fun. [notme, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Not really related but. . .holy GOD http://www.hammache...p?promo=el_computer
Imagine freecell on THIS [notme]

Helping [moinefu] with the ability to post links http://www.thinkgee...g/display/lcd/6016/ [notme, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Helping [moinefu] with the ability to post links http://www.thinkgee...g/display/lcd/6016/
[Cedar Park, Oct 04 2004]

www.matrixorbital.com http://www.matrixorbital.com
[hippo, Oct 04 2004]

Hmm! This might be baked http://itunes.apple...ay/id368158927?mt=8
[hippo, Nov 22 2010]

http://www.theregis...pur_workplace_play/ Baked? [hippo, Jun 25 2014]

If your monitor has enough pixels... http://www.dvinfo.n...de-qhd-monitor.html
...(3440x1440) you might be willing to not use all of them on one application. That would leave pixels available for other/notification apps. [Vernon, Jun 26 2014]


       Don't the tool-tips on the task bar give you the information you need?
angel, Feb 28 2002

       You can run two monitors with recent versions of Windows. But not having done it, I'm not sure if you could achieve your objective here (admittedly not using a smaller display as you specify). Is the second display considered a desktop "extension"; i.e., can you drag an object from one screen to the other by moving off the left edge of one display? Or can you only address the second display with applications specifically written to support this function? If the former, you could sort of pull this off.   

       Your description of window layout reminds me of an idea I had. I think it would be useful of Windows or other UIs provided another option besides the standard Minimize, Maximize and "Restore" (window partly filling the screen). I'd like a "Shrink/Grow" option, which actually adjusts the scale of the window content as you resize it smaller or larger, in a similar manner to the way Opera allows the option of changing the "Zoom" view of web pages as a scale percentage.   

       With this, you could reduce your Word document to, say 20%, and you'd have a small window 1/5 the height and width of the screen, with your miniature document visible inside it. Menus, titlebars, would also change.
waugsqueke, Feb 28 2002

       [wuasqgeak] You can run two monitors with special screen drivers (I used to have dual 21" monitors) - Windows support for this is v. bad (unlike say the support that Macs had for multiple monitors 15 years ago...) - e.g. it pops up alert boxes in the middle of your 'virtual' screen, so half is on one monitor and half on the other.
The other problem with two monitors, is that if you're running two big applications you tend to have one maximised on each monitor, which still leaves no dedicated space for small windows.
hippo, Feb 28 2002

       THey build this style of system into visualisations for winamp, using the twin outputs on some graphics cards. The main screen shows the images being displayed, while the second screen allows you to make changes to the images without them being visible on the main screen (its used for shows or gigs where you dont want messages being displayed on the main screen) - quadruple croissants for this though - I know exactly what you mean.
Danzarak, Feb 28 2002

       Pocket PC (except they don't share the coordinate space). I use my iPAQ as an ancillary "screen" by leaving it in its cradle right at the lower left corner of my primary monitor. Pocket Outlook issues meeting reminders and inbound mail alerts there while remaining continuously synchronized with Outlook on the desktop (even though it may not be running on the desktop).   

       Hippo, one way to get around the "alert in the middle" is to use either an Appian or Intergraph utility that moves the alerts from the seam, or, better yet, use 3 monitors. Windows supports up to 16 monitors and some (financial) traders are building arrays of flat panels that are 3 wide by 2 tall for a total of 6 screens.
bristolz, Feb 28 2002

       Windows, Linux, and Mac all support multi-monitor setups with which you can (and I do) do exactly what you suggest. If you want the other screen to be a tiny lcd, then just use one.   

       Quite baked.
5tonsofflax, Feb 28 2002

       // wuasqgeak //   

       <Fred Flintstone underbreath cursing>
waugsqueke, Feb 28 2002

       How easily can Windows have a secondary screen which does not change the primary screen dimension reported to software but is nonetheless usable by programs the user explicitly wants to go there?
supercat, Mar 01 2002

       Pretty easy, supercat (if I understand your question correctly). What's reported to the program seems to be the dimensions of the main window the program is running in. If you scale that window up to fill one screen, that seems to be the screen size that is reported back to the program. If you drag that main program window off to another screen (monitor) and then exit the program, upon relaunch the program assumes the spot that you dragged it to.   

       If you want the program to span several monitors, you just enlarge the main program window.
bristolz, Mar 01 2002

       ...but you'd still need some additional gubbins to ensure that if I maximise a window, it maximises to fill my main monitor, and if an alert pops up, by default it pops up in the middle of my Aditional Tiny Screen.
[bristolz] - A screen the size of your iPaq would be about right - just having it synchronised with calendar and mail though isn't enough. I'd also want to be able to drag small windows onto it and have mouse control over it.
[5tonsofflax] I already know about multi-monitor setups. Read the idea.
hippo, Mar 01 2002

       Although it's not the same thing, this is baked in the Sega Dreamcast video game console, which has a little b&w LCD screen in the controller (actually in the memory card that plugs into the controller), and which can display in-game messages.
pottedstu, Mar 01 2002

       With the specific behaviors that hippo is describing I think it is not highly baked but maybe just warm.
bristolz, Mar 01 2002

       //one born every minute//

Nice, Rods! That would be the 'One Per Desk'. Back in the dim, dark days, our (I had no involvement in this, I might add) first venture into putting a computer on every desk was to buy a shed load of these for the managers. They was rubbish (the OPD's and the managers both)!

I like the idea hippo, the dual monitors thing is a favourite of mine. I'm sitting here at the moment with a chess programme running on my old Amiga and have just bought the 'Amiga Forever' program to enable file swapping with my PC. Perhaps there's a possibility there. I'll report back when I've got it running properly (ha! Fat chance!).
DrBob, Mar 02 2002

       Familiar/X on a Compaq iPaq docked into a serial cradle, x2x talking to my main X server on my laptop, judicious use of styles in my window manager, and tada! everything you asked for.   

       Isn't Linux lovely?   

       On the other hand, some people have been doing LCD mods to their cases. Might also be worth a look.
sachac, Apr 24 2002

       A USB or firewire display device might be what you're looking for. AFAIK they don't exist, but I don't know why. It'd be small and cheap, and useful for other things (like a portable console for looking at servers in a rack, or an embedded PC). They'd probably be too slow (in terms of repaint time, not necessarily refresh rate) for animation but this is acceptable for many display applications. You wouldn't be tying up a fully capable display port on your machine (which you might as well connect to a fully capable display).   

       I'm not sure if the USB or firewire HID classes can describe a device that an OS will recognize as a display. Maybe they can't and this is why these don't exist.   

       If you only need one additional display, the PDA idea above may suit (assuming the driver issues get worked out for your host OS). There's a pretty large matrix of PDAs and host OSs to poulate with drivers and applets, though, for this to be possible for many people.
sdpinpdx, Aug 05 2002

       Combining one of FTDI's newer USB->Serial chips [with its "parallel bit-bang mode" option] with an off-the-shelf LCD module should provide an easy way to get up to a 40x4 text display. Adding a couple more chips would allow interfacing with a larger screen (e.g. 320x240 graphics).
supercat, Jan 29 2003

       I've actually seen some computers with little bitty LCD displays (the rows-of-dots-that-form-letters type) in the front of the case to display simple text messages.
NomadOfNorad, Aug 02 2003

       Such a dual display with a small LCD just already exists: http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/display/lcd/6016/
moinefou, Sep 06 2003


       They have a USB-based LCD character display. You can optionally run a background program (LCDC) to display information about your computer, volume, weather, or with Trillian you can display status from a variety of sources. They also have serial LCD graphic displays I suspect are easy to program. I tried it out and it's nice.
jojo99, Sep 25 2003

       Nice link
(Note that you can add links below the body of the idea - look up a bit and to the left)
hippo, Sep 25 2003

       What I'd like is a full-color LCD monitor about 2" wide by 8 or 10" tall, that I could clip on to the left or right of a regular monitor, and use it to store things like toolbars and palettes. E.g. for Photoshop. I don't need a whole extra monitor for that stuff, but on the other hand I don't like having it in my main screen because it messes up the aspect ratio.
bathsheba, Dec 02 2004

       Possibly baked, by Microsoft - see link
hippo, Jun 25 2014

       The thing about this idea is, it's trying to mitigate a failing in the GUI. It isn't actually a law of nature that the window you're working on has to bully its way to the front of the stack. RISC OS, for example, worked very well with windows playing nicely. Clicking on a title bar brought the window to the front[1], but elsewhere did not, so you could quite happily work on a main window with other small windows overlapping if desired. This was really handy.   

       [1] A simplification - it was even smarter than that, but that is irrelevant here.
Loris, Jun 25 2014

       ^ but having a small notification/command-line screen off to the side comes in very handy as well. Well baked in the 12 years since the idea was posted.
FlyingToaster, Jun 25 2014

       It should be possible to use your smartphone as a second tiny screen, with a little bluetoothery and an app.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 25 2014

       That's true - I wrote this idea in a pre-smartphone era
hippo, Jun 25 2014

       //It should be possible to use your smartphone as a second tiny screen, with a little bluetoothery and an app//   

       I use my phone as a trackpad using wifiery. It's very good. Particularly if you're doing a presentation on a massive TV because laser pointers don't work so well with TV screens with their optical transmission and anti reflective coatings*.   

       * You can get around this by using MUCH MORE POWER. A 3W laser does show up. It also has some very interesting TIR angles and the power to accidentally blind a prominent mitochondrialist.
bs0u0155, Jun 25 2014

       hippo, Jun 25 2014   

       As TV tropes says... "technology marches on"!   

       A lot of things that seems science function in the past now exist. We are still not back to the moon though :/
mofosyne, Jun 26 2014

       Matrox was doing seriously smooth multimonitor setups on their Dual Head graphics cards before the turn of the century. AFAIK they're the only company to have actually gotten it completely right (which was all well and good until they let their devs go a few years later).   

       As soon as small LCD screens became widely available in the early 2000's, this post became baked: these days best realized in the form of a USB connector.
FlyingToaster, Jun 26 2014

       The Sega Dreamcast did it first (in 1998) with its Visual Memory Unit, a memory card with a small screen viewable through a window in the controller. It could also be used as a standalone handheld to play mini games or trade save files by connecting to another VMU. But the most useful feature, IMHO, was that you could select your plays in sports games without the other player seeing what you picked; the choices were displayed on the VMU instead of the TV .
Spacecoyote, Jun 26 2014


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