Friday, March 7, 2008

Adding a second display to a Mac Pro

Having almost completely decommissioned the P4 Wintel box on my other desk, I've now got a Samsung SyncMaster 193T† LCD display that's not really doing much. So tonight I dragged it over to meet the Mac Pro. Observations:
  1. After Googling ridiculous phrases like “when i connect a second display to a mac pro do i need to turn the machine off” and getting nowhere, I figured I'd just experiment. Result: it's sufficient to put the machine into sleep mode, connect the second display, and wake the machine. I have no idea if it's necessary.
  2. Mac OS X has a colour profile for the Samsung SyncMaster 193T. I've had this monitor for maybe four or five years—it's not new. I was impressed.
  3. I reset the monitor's display settings, and selected the provided profile. The results are not spectacular. Granted, it's an old monitor, but sitting next to my brand new Apple Cinema Display, white looks far from white on the Samsung. There may be some scope for adjusting its settings, but maybe it's just a crap monitor.
  4. Having a monitor that can rotate its display is actually quite cool—great for showing A4 documents, for example.
  5. While the monitor has a DVI input, I don't have a cable, so I'm using the DVI-to-VGA converter that came with the Mac Pro. I wonder whether a DVI cable would improve the image.
†: Yes, I'm pretty sure that's Swedish. It was the first hit for the search “samsung syncmaster 193T”.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Default mail recipients in a reply

Reasonably frequently, I find myself replying to mails I have sent to others. For example, I might come across additional relevant information after sending the original, and want some context for a new message. A neat way to do this is to find the original in the Sent folder, reply to it, trim the quoted text if applicable, and append the new information.

Now, I can't think of any other reason to reply to one's own Sent mail. In particular, I can conceive of no universe in which I would want the recipient of the new reply to be me. And yet this is Apple Mail's default behaviour. (Did I say “default behaviour”? That makes it sound like there's a preference to select sane behaviour. If there is, I cannot find it.) If you reply to a mail which has your name in the ‘From’ field, you'll be the recipient listed in the ‘To’ field. This happens with Reply (Cmd-R), as well as Reply All (Shift-Cmd-R). The only redeeming feature is that the original recipients are preserved in the ‘Cc’ field. They can be manually cut and pasted into ‘To’. A real mailer would not make me do this.