Using ALL of my video card

or 'No Port Left Behind'


So some of you who follow me on social media may have seen me tweet or post a photo of my home office setup on my desk.

And speaking of social media, I have switched three more identities over from YiddishNinja to LetMyPeopleCode: Reddit (actually had to create a new one there), Discord, and Stack Exchange (including Stack Overflow). I’m slowly discovering social media accounts I created and rarely use, but to paraphrase Liam Neeson: “I will look for you. I will find you. And I will change you.”

Anyway, above you see my three-monitor setup. I’ve had the two 32” (~81cm) monitors for a few years… bargain basement ViewSonic, 2560x1440, not 4k, 60hz and not the best color, but I don’t have the color vision to need perfect color reproduction and I’m not a gamer. They look good to my old eyes. The mini 7” monitor is new and on a very stiff wire connected to the tripod, so it can float there. It was like $52 on Amazon and you can tell, because the picture is is barely decent when you’re right in front of it, but its primary use is for text (like a teleprompter), so it’s good.

They’re all connected to a halfway decent video card, the primary splurge in my new desktop… but still not top of the line. Like I said, I don’t game, so I just wanted the encoding circuits for better video compression and streaming. They used to be connected to a dual monitor USB 3.0 docking hub.

I need to take a moment. It may feel like I’m humblebragging about all my “cool stuff” by saying it’s all cheap, but it is. I’m a huge bargain hunter and I buy in a very utilitarian way. Where I splurge is on experiences, not on posessions.

Back to your regularly scheduled programming…

The new video card has 4 ports (3 DisplayPort, 1 HDMI), so after hooking the big monitors to DisplayPort and the little one to HDMI, I had one DisplayPort left.

My youngest (age 11) and I have taken to doing piano lessons two nights a week. We’re both beginners. I have an inexpensive MIDI controller (not cheap, but got a deal on it used) and got him one that cost even less. He brings up his laptop, we connect our controllers to our respective machines, put on our headphones, and take online lessons at our own paces. It’s like hacking together, and every once in a while, we’ll unplug our headphones to play something for the other.

But to face my MIDI keyboard, I have to turn so my monitors are to the left. It was really uncomfortable and hard to follow the lessons. So the next time, I tried putting my laptop behind it and running the lessons on that, but reaching over the MIDI keyboard to reach the laptop keyboard or mouse pad was really uncomfortable.

The smaller, older monitors that the big ones replaced hang out in my garage. They’re great for when I need to take a bigger monitor than my laptop screen to do a Seattle CoderDojo demo for kids at a STEM/STEAM fair. I realized I had one port left on the graphics card and I just so happened to have a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter leftover from when I had a laptop with a full-size DisplayPort output that couldn’t connect to anyone else’s projector.

So I grabbed a monitor from the garage, plugged in the adapter, the cable, powered everything on, and…


Piano lessons next week will be so much better.