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I like to have my laptop connected to an external monitor. I often find the 2 screens helps productivity. But there are times where I'm doing something on one screen and the monitor just sits there unused for long periods of time. Or, I'll go sit on my couch in the living room and my big screen TV, which has a computer attached to it, sits there off and I wonder if there's something that could be displayed on the screen which I might find informative or useful. (I often use it to play internet radio stations, but the screensaver just shows on the screen)

What can I use the idle second screen for? Is there something which might be interesting to show on it?

The only things I've come up with are the various web things at Digg labs, or installing and running a distributed computing thing like Folding@Home - but I feel like that'd be unnecessary load on my already aging computer, and its poor little processor wouldn't really contribute much.

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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Switch it off and help reducing energy consumption! ;)

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+1 If you don't currently need it and are wondering what to do with it then I reckon it should be switched off! –  w3d Aug 2 '10 at 19:57
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I used to use an animated weather radar map on my secondary screen when it wasn't in use, but that's because I live in Florida and it rains almost every day.

I've seen others use their personal pictures as a slideshow screensaver, effectively turning their 42" LCD TV into a 42" Picture Frame.

You could also use some kind of network monitoring software to monitor your network (for home use, you'd be a big nerd but who cares? =D). Or a system resources monitor.

At work I use my secondary monitor for my email and if I'm using Linux I'll use a secondary monitor to either watch the process list, or tail -f /var/log/messages to have a real-time error log monitor.

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