I have just fine tuned my working environment and have come up with the ideal setup.
OK the monitor heights are a bit wonky but I very rarely span monitors, I like to have discrete items open in each and focus on one monitor at a time.
In this picture I have outlook split between monitors 1 & 2, thunderbird between 2 and 3 and firefox crossing all 3.
I have three physical machines, left to right, my work laptop, my RedHat FC5 PC and my Windows XP home PC.
The laptop and the FC5 box have a KVM to I can use both at the same time, this also gives me an easy way to extend my laptops desktop onto the “middle” monitor and use a proper keyboard and mouse.
The Windows PC is just a “normal” singles creen setup.
I have started using the amazing software from MaxiVista to allow me to stretch my desktop over the network onto another PC !
In the setup pictured above, I am running my laptop in a “normal” dual head setup and I am then extending my laptop desktop onto my windows PC and monitor 3. This gives me a three headed setup for my laptop driven by a single keyboard and mouse.
The fun does not end there. Instead of extending my laptop desktop onto my PC I can run the software in “remote control” mode. On monitor 3 I see my PC desktop, but I can control the keyboard and mouse on my PC from my laptop. I simply slide my mouse across from monitor 2 to monitor 3 !
Although I have a keyboard and mouse for each system, I can do everything from one !
It is amazing how much more productive you can be with this setup, having two reference documents open full screen on monitors 1 and 3 and then editing your work on monitor 2 is amazing. However, do beware of having all of those “distracting” applications open: e-mail, instant messaging, rss feeds, I have started to ration myself and only check these twice or three times during the day.
Just in case you are wondering:
To the right just out of shot is the hifi, NAS box and two ADSL routers.
To the left behind the laptop is a spare power strip, all the cables, the desk phone charger and the KVM.
At each extremity of the desk is a speaker and under each end is a PC.