Multiple monitor RDP connections

Posted on July 21st, 2011

I typically work with 4 1080p LCD monitors on Ergotron arms. I have the same setup and layout at work as I do at home. When I remote in from home, I’ve found in Windows 7, I can check ‘use all my monitors’, and the remote desktop actually uses all the monitors, even in my non-square and non-linear layout(my monitors are roughly in a + shaped pattern).

The one negative of this, is that the speed wasn’t great. Flipping windows and such, there’d be a noticeable lag. It was usable, but not comfortable. I figured this was due to my 1Mbps upload speed at the office. I watched a bandwidth meter on the router, and I noticed it wasn’t maxing out the 1Mbps upload speed… I have noticed, however, that when I do a speed test, the upload always starts slow, and doesn’t reach full speed for a couple seconds… I was thinking, “maybe the RDP packets are always in the start of that incline and can never reach full speed”…

Well, recently I found that Time Warner Business Class in my city just added ‘Wide band’ service. I was able to upgrade for a reasonable price to 35/5 service– that’s 5Mbps upload speed! I can use the bandwidth for other purposes as well, but I was particularly excited about having a faster RDP experience when I do work from home, trying to be fully productive with all 4 screens…

Well, I just tried the connection, and the RDP experience is MUCH better! I don’t see a constant lag when working. I looked at the same router bandwidth meter, and it was often spiking to 2Mbps or so– definitely above the 1Mbps it wasn’t reaching before… So I think my hunch about the upload connection starting slow was definitely the issue… To prove how awesome the connection was, I played a video someone posted on facebook, and it was actually watchable over RDP! Sure, it maxed the 5Mbps bandwidth meter, but it was watchable! I did try to put it full screen to see how I could push it, and that didn’t fair so well… But I’m certainly not watching video through an RDP connection for any real purposes…


The negative of using multiple monitors

Posted on March 18th, 2011

Using multiple monitors is great. Personally, I use 4 large 23″ widescreen LCDs on Ergotron arms. This works amazingly well, and my productivity is improved considerably by using them. I’m able to have multiple copies of Visual Studio 2010 running, and sometimes even lay them out side by side. I also have a browser on one screen, Email on another, spreadsheets for tracking misc. info shared on another, etc.

The big problem with this, comes when I’ve been couped up all winter, and spring hits… The last couple days have been a “false spring” with 60º+ weather(quite pleasant for Rochester, NY). I would love to be able to sit out on my deck and work on my laptop… The problem with that, is I’d have to make due with only one 17″ screen. That means going from 976 square inches of desktop space to around 129 square inches… That’s losing 86.8% of my desktop!

The only solution I can think of(until multiple screen laptops are a feasible reality), is finding a single task that I can do on a single screen, and simply tolerate a longer turn-around for Email responses(considering I can’t monitor it as well), etc… Unfortunately, I can’t always find such simple tasks, particularly that need to be done when the weather is nice…


Buy a good brand UPS

Posted on February 23rd, 2011

I’ve never really liked spending money on UPS’s… I have fairly reliable power, so it’s really not something I’ve wanted to commit the money to. Recently I got an APC Rackmount UPS for my servers off Craigslist, and it’s worked well. About a year back, I got a 1500VA ‘Cyber Power’ UPS from NewEgg for my workstation– it was less expensive than the others, and had decent reviews…

Well, just now the power went out. My servers kept running so I was able to shut them down(I really should setup some kind of notification so they shut themselves down, but I haven’t gotten around to it…). Unfortunately, my workstation blipped out immediately with the power. After the power came back, it kept complaining about ‘overload’ when my workstation started up… The LCD read-out said 123W. I know my workstation can pull ~250W at times(measured with a Kill-o-Watt watt meter), but that’s still well within the limits of a 1500VA UPS that has nothing else on it(I have monitors on a separate old APC UPS)… It appears this UPS is junk. Even though I’ve done the little “test” in their control application regularly, it still didn’t work once power actually was removed… It looks like I’ll be getting a brand name UPS from now on… APC or maybe Tripp Lite.