So, while working at home today I decided it would be great to have a third display (besides the laptop and 24″ monitor hooked up to it) so that I could monitor server performance, but not sacrifice my work area on the primary monitors. I have an iPad and I thought that there must be some way I could hook it up as a tertiary workspace area, so I did a little searching and found DisplayLink.
DisplayLink is a desktop server, iPad client software system that runs in the background and allows you to connect an iPad on the same wi-fi network as another monitor. This is nothing particularly new except for two major selling points 1) Its free and, more importantly, 2) it works without shutting of Aero in Windows 7! This is a major win for desktop extension software for the iPad as most others traditionally cost you at least $10 in the marketplace and they don’t work with Aero turned on. Without Aero on Windows 7 and Vista, the Windows interface slows down considerably, you lose previews, and everything in general looks like trash. With DisplayLink though, I’ve got my iPad sitting next to my laptop running a terminal screen with htop going and I’m able to keep working like normal on my other two screens.
Oh, and as an added bonus, the integration of the iPad as a monitor is really tight with the Windows OS. When you have the DisplayLink software running and linked with your iPad, the iPad just shows up as another display in your monitor configuration area and you can move it around and change how it’s linked (extended, duplicate, etc.). The monitor view on the iPad also does not hinder notifications and messages coming through on your iPad either – they just appear over the view like any other application.
Major win for DisplayLink!