Ask Mr. Modem!
Q. I recently purchased a 19-inch flat-screen monitor, but I still have a clunky, old 19-inch CRT, which works fine. I work with Excel spreadsheets all day and Ive heard that if I have two monitors connected, that I can drag items from one spreadsheet to another. Is that true, and if so, is it possible for a computer novice like me to do that? What would I need to do or what do you recommend?
A. Yes, what you describe is possible, though you may want to retain the services of a reputable computer repair person or service to set this up for you. It can be rather technical and require some tweaking and troubleshooting to get everything working properly.
Before moving to a dual-monitor setup, however, there are a few things to consider: Do you have a free AC outlet to plug in the additional monitor? Do you have room for a second monitor on your desk? As far as your computer, you will need a dual-monitor capable graphics card, or you will need an available AGP (accelerated graphics port) or PCI (peripheral component interface) slot on your systems motherboard to insert a graphics card that will support the dual-monitor setup.
Be aware that many graphics cards require a higher-capacity power supply, typically 350W, so you will need to inquire what the card needs -- which is another reason Id suggest letting a professional set this up for you.
When considering video cards, Matrox (www.matrox.com) has a good reputation for multiple monitor configuration, as does ATI Radeon (www.ati.com) or nVidia (www.nvidia.com). There are many types of video cards, so the selection process can quickly become overwhelming. Not to pummel a necrotic equine, but thats another reason you would be well advised to retain a professional to review your system, assess your port situation, discuss video-card options, pricing, and configure your dual-monitor setup for you.
For additional information, read Microsoft's, Expand Your Workspace with Multiple Monitors article at http://tinyurl.com/29g9l3, and Get the Most Out of Multiple Monitors, at http://tinyurl.com/2okk5.
An alternative to a multiple-monitor setup is a super-size monitor. For example, I replaced a three-monitor setup with a Samsung 28-inch monitor, which provides enough screen surface to simultaneously display several documents, Web sites and email.
Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week
The study of philosophy is typically left to the tweedy inhabitants of the halls of academia and complex texts and articles with small print and few pictures. This site bridges the gap between true intellectuals and knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathers like myself. Here you will find profound topics discussed among visitors and a panel of esteemed philosophers. You are invited to submit your own philosophical query or browse the list of categories that range from Beauty to War. The sites Question of the Day as I write this is What is nominalism? I would have enjoyed participating in the discussion, but I was afraid that my head was going to explode. Perhaps next time.
FEMA Disaster Center
Learn about various types of disasters ranging from chemical emergencies to earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, and more. Each disaster provides a list of potential hazards as well as items you can do before, during and after disaster strikes.
Have you ever sat in a movie theater, robotically consuming a $17 tub of popcorn and thinking to yourself, I can write something better than this drivel!" Judging from some of whats passing for entertainment these days, youre probably right. In fact, its even easier than you think. Using the Plot-O-Matic (patent pending), select your characters and the plot elements you would like to include in your movie. When you're satisfied with your choices, click Lights! Camera! Action!
Mr. Modem publishes "Ask Mr. Modem! each week, featuring PC tips, tricks, and plain-English answers to your questions by email. For more information, visit MrModem.com.