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Go Vertical!

Nice, Sunday article time (I get to let my hair down on Sundays). Grab your screen and try to rotate it from horizontal to vertical. Stuck? find some duct tape or krazy glue because I am telling you going vertical, at least with one of your screens if you have multiple, is where it’s at. That’s what’s hot on the streets right now.

Why? Well, unless you’re rocking a 27” screen and splitting up your windows in half, most things you look at, whether a website or a document, they work better with your eyes and your scrolling finger on a vertical aspect ratio. I’ve got my share of screens, only one of them rotates like this, and I’d say that my eyes are on it far more than they are on the other horizontal screens combined by far. My phone too, and I bet this is true of you, it’s hardly ever in landscape. Vertical is what God intended.


If you’ve got a screen with a mount that rotates, you owe it to yourself to at least give it a try vertically, unless I suppose if you’ve got low, girly-man resolution. I’ll go even farther and say that if yours doesn’t rotate and you’re out of duct tape you should consider digging through your couch for spare change to buy another screen that does goes vertical (and for Pete’s sake, at least 19:10 aspect ratio, no less than 1200px on its smallest dimension), or checking to see if you can buy a replacement mount for your existing screen or screens that flips or maybe one of these things. Money well spent, get it over with now and thank me later.

On a related note, if you haven’t already, go multiple. I’m surrounded by six screens, which I’ll admit is ridiculous, and though I use the vertical one mostly, the rest are filled up with things I need visible including a bunch of Putty terminals monitoring various aspects of a few servers including that of this website, I’ve got other browsers, maybe some WebM transcoding taking place on another, WP emulator on  yet another; and yet another I’ve got, shall we say, another with some other content and leave it at that — it’s great! And when you’ve got people over and they check out your mancave and see three or more monitors, especially if you leave a lot of Matrix-looking stuff on a few of them, …. well, actually I don’t know what those people think of me when they see the screens. At worst that I am eccentric, I suppose, which incidentally is a fair deduction.

Imagine firing up Flight Simulator and trying to land that 747 on a short runway when you can spread out the throttle, flaps, radar and outside views across a bunch of screens. Especially if you’re the type that fantasizes about being the only passenger on an airliner who could land the plane if the pilot suddenly died because you played enough Flight Simulator growing up – to realize that dream, for the sake of the other passengers, rehearse on multiple screens or snap out of that dream because you won’t be able to find those thrust reversers when it counts, okay Captain Sum Ting Wong?

Protip for Windows users, especially those with multiple screens, whenever you’ve got a lot of … sensitive material on your screens and you hear your wife coming up the stairs, the Windows logo button by the left Ctrl key, hold that puppy down and hit D, it minimizes everything in a hurry. Once you hit it, start to stand up and stretch as if she’s ambushing you just as you were wrapping up to go to bed, shutting everything down, otherwise she’ll get suspicious that there’s never anything on your screen if you married a smart one. But scrambling to shut off six monitors one at a time, three second window, panicked? Yeah right pal, that’s a dead giveaway, you’re in the doghouse.

Of course, if you have enough “hand” in the relationship, you could just forbid her from looking at your screens and not have to worry about this key combination trick, but if the cops ever question her when you’re not around, they might ask if there’s a special place you told her firmly that’s she’s not ever supposed to look. Just like in the movies, as sure as you were born she’ll say yes, then the feds will think you’re the serial killer and take your computer, and probably your shiny new vertical monitor too. What a bummer, right?

Doug Simmons