Try This: Use a Sideways MacBook Pro as a Second Monitor

Try This: Use a Sideways MacBook Pro as a Second Monitor

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Taryn Williford
Jun 8, 2011

The dual monitor setup is the holy grail of digital desktop space. But what if you don't have the real life space for a second monitor? Well, you get creative and flip your MacBook Pro on its side, of course.

Faced with the need to work with two computers on a tiny desk, writer and designer Noah Watenmaker tried something a little unconventional. He flipped his MacBook Pro on its side, where it takes up a much smaller footprint and functions as a second continuous monitor for his Mac Pro.

In a post on his blog, he explains all of the great free and paid software he used to get it done:

The trick is simply turning the MBP on its side. Teleport lets me control both computers with the same keyboard and mouse, and MacFlip automates screen rotation using the built-in accelerometer. A few Divvy shortcuts keep my windows organized when everything goes vertical. Since I use GeekTool, I whipped up a few super-simple scripts to switch groups when I turn the MBP. Lastly, MacDropAny creates symbolic links that sync my desktop and vital files between the machines. It's "flipping" awesome.

Noah also modified his MacBook to include a solid state drive, because, as you can imagine, resting a MacBook on its side is not the way Apple intended its hardware to be used. If you want to try this at home, make sure you realize that keeping an un-modified laptop on its side will definitely result in some serious damage to your hard drive and any other moving parts.

But if you follow Noah's lead and do it right (he's detailed the programs, process and even a script you'll need here on his blog), you'll end up with a seriously cool and customized workspace with plenty of space on your digital and real-life desk top.



(Images: Noah Watenmaker)

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