You know, I’ve always said that one of the things I admire most about a person is when they are happy to say “I don’t know”. I think that says they’re confident enough about what they do know, to be able to admit the boundaries of their knowledge.
In a similar vein I have a lot of respect for people who are happy to admit they’re wrong. And so I will step up to the plate now, and admit that after the feedback I received over the last week from a number of colleagues and acquaintances about my previous post …
I was talking with a friend the other day, about the “prehistoric” days of computing, about things we did in our youth tinkering with PCs, which ignited our interest in computers. And apart from this proving a fascinating “walk down memory lane”, these reminiscences got me thinking about some of the features of modern Operating Systems we take for granted today.
My earliest experience was on an Apple IIe, with a Z80 card installed, which allowed me to run what seemed to me at the time, an incredibly powerful Operating System, CP/M. And the highlight of using CP/M was what I thought was a very sophisticated Word Processor, Wordstar.
For those not familiar with this now ancient program, here’s a fantastic video from Youtube, which provides a quick overview of the use of Wordstar. And although I can’t be certain, given the “naming” of the drive used, I suspect it is actually being launched (very slowly) from a “floppy disk” – and for those who don’t know what they are – yes they’re the things that look like the Save Button in modern programs, that no one uses any more!
Now that so many of us are working from home, new challenges arise in our study or home office. Many will be forced to use two computers – our own, and a computer provided by our employer, because it has a prescribed or controlled operating environment, or connectivity or tools installed. Unless you’ve got a really big desk, or actually like typing on laptop keyboards – does anyone? – it’s going to get very crowded if you need to have separate external keyboards and mice for both machines, so I’ve commonly used KVM (Keyboard / Video Mouse) switches in the past – of varying levels of sophistication.
My professional work is predominantly done using Windows-based tools – Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio Code (although there is a version for Mac OS), SQL Server, IIS etc. etc.
However my favourite productivity platform is Apple Mac OS. I have a reasonably powerful MacBook Pro, which I’ve got four displays attached to; the internal display, and 3 external displays. Here’s a photo of how the displays are arranged.
And my Windows machine, although it’s a reasonably powerful i7 Dell laptop, which can support one or two external displays, isn’t configured that way. The solution I’m using now to make working under Windows 10 a better experience, is to use Microsoft’s Mac OS based Remote Desktop App. I’m not sure when the capabilities I’m exploiting now, were introduced into the App, but the features it provides, allows me to do my development work, in a much more productive way, so I thought I’d share my experiences.
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