[kwlug-disc] Switch between monitors

unsolicited unsolicited at swiz.ca
Thu Apr 5 12:15:58 EDT 2012


On 4/5/2012 11:19 AM, Chris Irwin wrote:
> On Wed, Apr 4, 2012 at 16:43, unsolicited<unsolicited at swiz.ca>  wrote:
> * KVM connected to magic switch (DVI or maybe HDMI will work?).
> * Magic switch toggles KVM's output between Left-side monitor and TV.
> Workflow-wise, if I'm working on something interesting on my laptop, I
> can have two displays attached. If I want to watch a video, I can
> throw the second output to the TV and sit back on my couch.
> Likewise, there are times when a second display on the gaming machine
> would be handy (particularly when installing mods and patches, etc).
> I'd also like the ability to throw the game display to the TV (for
> example: Driving games with my steering wheel). I'd also have to
> switch "Primary" monitors in Windows, which is a manual process.

When I have been in the situation of trying to evaluate whether a KVM 
makes sense or not, AND, each machine already has its own keyboard and 
mouse (such as a laptop) ... I'll get a monitor extension cable, then 
put an elastic around the 3 ends on the desk - when I need the other 
monitor, I unplug the extension from one monitor and connect it to the 

Sort of a ... proof of concept / exploration of how often monitor 
switching is going to (actually) happen.

Doesn't apply to you, but if running a box that largely just sits there 
doing its thing, especially if VNC is available, it's sort of a "poor 
man's KVM". Until facts in evidence, not just anticipated.

> If anybody knows where to get 15cm HDMI cables, I'm listening.

John's favourite cable place seems to be ...

Well thought it might be cablesunlimited, but ... 
http://www.cablesunlimited.com/. Perhaps 

I think it's http://www.monoprice.com/.

>> As best I remember, KVM's are such commodities that you may find such
>> cheaper than a real video switcher. Get one with a button (not just
>> keystroke switching), and forget the K and M parts?
> I've got a pretty decent 4-port DVI+USB KVM currently, which I have
> connected to my desktop and laptop. I was under the impression that I
> couldn't reverse a KVM as the "PC" side exposes a fake monitor when
> disconnected, suggesting it is not just a dumb passthrough.

Don't forget you can daisy chain kvm's, if that's useful. It's a little 
weird / strange / disconcerting, sometimes, though.

My experience has been that although the monitor sends back its 
capabilities, and things like xrandr are able to react / adapt, if you 
nail the resolution to the floor, switching back and forth is OK. Hint: 
Using the same monitor resolution / refresh on all connected machines 
will go easier on your eyes when you switch back and forth.

>> However, warning: 2nd monitors are addictive. If you have the ability for a
>> second monitor, now or in the future, you will likely want both monitors at
>> the same time. For some amount of time.
> Yes. Unfortunately my laptop only allows one external monitor, so it
> is either screen or tv, not both.


Get one today! Astonishing! (Note, not for games, etc.)

3 monitors on my wee little Asus Eee PC 1201n.
(For some reason, thermal event frequency has increased, though) :P

>> Doesn't mean you have to use both monitors all the time. Although it is
>> disorienting when your mouse pointer disappears, and you can't for the life
>> of you figure out where it went. (If you really want to confuse someone with
>> 2 monitors, sneak in and change the order in Xrandr - reverse which is left
>> of which.)
> I wish I could use xrandr. Nvidia laptop, so xrandr doesn't work with
> the closed drivers, and nouveau isn't quite there yet.

Hurry up and wait? Some day?

Good luck on your quest!

Sort of surprised, given his description, that Andrew hasn't whomped 
something up to just connect a monitor cable (without the cable) 
directly to his optic nerve.  Tomorrow, perhaps? Nah, if he did that, he 
just want more eyeballs. Then he'd need to virtualize them, invent a 
hypervisionvisor ... only so many hours in a day, I suppose.

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