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lexin: (Default)
Sunday, July 5th, 2015 03:04 pm
What I’ve done is to fall madly in love with a purple laptop. I don’t need a second computer, I already have an iPad after all, but it is so beautiful.

So, I ordered it.

No thanks to my bank, who managed to block both my cards in the process and I had to unblock them.

It should be here Tuesday, after 5pm. Fingers crossed and Currys permitting.

It’s more logical than is sounds (yes it is, stop giggling at the back) even if it is the most expensive solution to the problem that I outlined the other day that [personal profile] doire has been helping me with, that was ever thought of in the history of history itself.

It even beats the time my sewing machine went belly-up in the middle of making a frock for someone, meaning that she and I headed out to Bluewater (posh shopping mall) and bought a new machine from John Lewis to finish it. I would have gone somewhere local, but it was a Sunday. It would be. Just call me three sewing machines Lexin – I bought an overlocker not long after that. Now I’m to be two computers Lexin, too.

What I mean about it being more logical than it sounds, is that the iPad extender apps that I was whinging about should work from the laptop as that won’t (presumably) have dual graphics switching and will be intended to operate external screens in a way the desktop is not. Windows 8.1 on laptops has something called Wi-Di, which my TV has natively. Desktops don’t seem to have it, or if they do it’s not accessible.

Worst case scenario is that I buy the Player version of the Realm Works program and put that on the laptop separately under an assumed name and let the players use that.

Like I said, most expensive solution to the problem ever, ever.

But it does give me a laptop to take to HeroMeet in Wales in August to extend my capabilities.

The background…

What I have is a thing called Realm Works which is a program for writing up role playing games and sharing (or not sharing, as the case may be) information with the players.

There is a Game Master screen (which only I should see) and a Player Screen (which is what I want visible on the other monitor/iPad/whatever). You can run Realm Works on as many computers as you like if you have a licence. What you can’t do is open your ‘realm’ simultaneously on two computers or you’ll corrupt the database.

Looking at the screen options from inside Realm Works, it clearly expects that there should be two screens attached to the computer for this sharing to work optimally. Alternatively there is a ‘players’ version of the software for players to use on their own equipment, for a fairly nominal cost – it’s $5.99 or about £4.00 and I could load that on the laptop.

Meanwhile, if none of that works, I’ve checked the back of my computer and there are currently two HDMI slots unused, one which looks to be on the motherboard and one on the graphics card, so I’ve ordered a 7m HDMI cable just in case, and will try that option before investing in Miracast solutions.

I do think that I have ‘dual graphics switching’ on the desktop, and this may be why the iPad solutions don’t work properly there. They are great for cloning your screen, and I can see uses for that like operating my desktop computer from the comfort of my sofa (laziness FTW) but won’t extend.

Plus, Win 8.1, which is what I use, doesn’t identify anything as a second screen, it's all a mare's nest. I think that what “Display Settings” under “Control Panel” is seeing as a second screen is actually not – I think it’s the fact that there must be native graphics controllers on the motherboard and actually the graphics card has taken over operation but the motherboard graphics are still there, hidden - there isn’t really a second monitor there, even if Display Settings thinks there is. Plus, that is an indication that I do have this ‘dual graphics switching’ thing that is such a problem.
lexin: (Default)
Saturday, July 4th, 2015 01:53 pm
What I want to do should be fairly simple, or at least there should be a means to do it which isn’t a complete hassle to set up. Computers, however…

OK.

What I want is to set up a second monitor using either my TV or my iPad so that it shows something different to what is on my computer screen, an alternative view, if you will. Additionally, I’d like this to ideally be a wireless solution.

One, not ideal, option is to buy an HDMI cable (and possibly a splitter as I can’t remember where my monitor is plugged in, whether it’s an HDMI cable or a standard monitor connection) and run it from the TV to the computer. This will mean (a) rolling around on the floor to get under my desk, which is never good for me as I struggle to get up again and (b) a long wire across my living room floor as my TV and my computer are on different sides of the room. It is possible to buy a 5m HDMI cable, but only from Amazon that I can find.

Note here for those in the UK looking for an HDMI cable – do not buy one from Argos. They are three times the price of those on Amazon and you cannot get long ones. I was shocked as Argos are meant to be cheap.

The TV screen option is possible – apparently – if I spend £140+ on an item of hardware and some kind of software called Miracast. The problem with that is that I can’t even be sure it will work as I want it to without shelling out on what is a considered purchase for someone in my position. Advice, please? Would this be worth it? Has anyone any experience of this?

The iPad option is more attractive, and there are (I think) six apps which purport to be able to do this. Three won’t work on my system because they are only for Macs. Scratch them.

One, (Airdisplay), probably won’t work on my system because the information says it won’t work on systems which have “dual graphics switching”. I cannot be sure that mine is one of these, but my feeling from the description on the app’s advert of what to look for is that it is. (Anyone who can confirm, please contact me by email, a PM, or as a reply here and I’ll post a screencap of what my device drivers look like.)

That leaves three possible options for apps that might work. They are iDisplay, Splashtop, and Twomon.

I’ve tried iDisplay and that didn’t work for me. The system interfered with my mouse for one thing – I just couldn’t operate my computer with it loaded up because the mouse disappeared. Plus, it only showed a copy of my desktop on the iPad, which wasn’t what I wanted. On the other hand, the iPad did show up in the program I want to use as a second display, which is useful at least. I couldn’t check what Win 8.1 or the device drivers were seeing because of the mouse problem. Put that on the back burner, perhaps try it again, but mental note to ask Apple for a refund.

I do wonder if it's the 'dual graphics switching' thing that prevents iDisplay from working properly. If so, I should warn the sellers.

I then tried Splashtop. No system interference with the mouse. Hurrah! However, this only shows a copy of my desktop on the iPad, and nothing I’ve done so far has changed that.

From the support web page of the designers, this was a known problem in 2011 and even up to 2013, but there’s nothing on the support pages since then about it. I’ve tried the solutions set out in the support pages, but nothing has worked so far. And now it doesn’t load on startup since I updated my NVDIA device drivers, so I’ve no idea what’s happening there. I might have to reinstall it, but I’m putting off the evil day by writing this. On the other hand, do I want it to load on startup? I won't need it all that often.

I haven’t yet tried Twomon yet, because it’s £5 more than either of the other two (it comes as a bundle with a similar app that requires a USB cable (I mean wtf? What use is that? I suppose it would cut out lag, but distance would be an issue) and I thought I’d wait to see what happened with the other two first.

The other interesting thing is that I’ve just discovered on the Micro$oft website that some kinds of multiple monitor arrangements (presumably not all, as that would be weird) are only available on mobile PCs, which mine is not. Mine is a desktop, a mini-tower. I like desktops, I’m odd like that. So sue me.

I really don’t want to have to buy a laptop for gaming purposes. At least, not right now.