Multi-Monitors and Productivity Boosts

I’ve been reading an article by Eric Spiegel about developers needing a second monitors. I have to agree that I’m more motivated coding with two, instead of one monitor. I usually use the main one for my preferred editor-of-the-day (I have a couple because don’t stick with a specific editor) while the other I use for monitoring purposes. I usually tail error logs and slow SQL queries, top to monitor cpu/mem usage as well as processes, a separate window for unit testing and profiling, online or pdf/chm references, and – if I’m working on a web application – a detached Firebug session.

I’m flexible enough to work on a 14″ LCD (which I have at home) or a 24″ LED (which I use at work). Currently, I use only one monitor both at home and at work, but I have a spare one on hand for when I need or feel it (again, both at home and at work). I don’t really require dual-monitor setup to do my job, it just motivates me. And on a slow day, might even encourage me to procrastinate.

There’s one question bugging me after reading the said article. How do they qualify a developers code and come up with 20%-30% productivity boost?

Survey after survey shows that whether you measure your productivity in facts researched, alien spaceships vaporized, or articles written, adding an extra monitor will give your output a considerable boost — 20 percent to 30 percent, according to a survey by Jon Peddie Research. [link]

A code can easily be quantified (Lines of Code or LoC, minus the docs), but every developer worth its salt knows that a code is judged by its quality. Chances are the smaller the LoC, the more efficient the program runs. This is another reason why I admire Perl-mongers who challenge themselves to write one-liners to do a task.

Qualifying codes are probably up for debate and differ from one company to another. What I do is I profile and run tests until I’m satisfied with the outcome before I update or pull to the production server. If a task runs over a predefined time or if a query finds its way into my slow_sql_query.log, then that particular class is up for review or replacement.

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