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SwitchResX helped me switch my Mac machine to 1360×768 and 1888×1062

Posted by jpluimers on 2010/12/24

A while ago, I got involved in Mac programming again after more than a decade of absence.
It felt like a warm reunion.

A Mac Mini Server serves as a development machine: it is about the same price as a regular Mac Mini, but packs 2 HDDs which for me is more useful than one HDD and a DVD player.

However, living in the Windows world for a long time long, and having had RSI in the DOS era almost two decades ago, I had a few wishes for using it.

The first was keyboard wise. The second is custom resolutions.To start with keyboards: I love Macs, but I can’t stand their keyboards.

The reason is that I had RSI in the past.
I RSI from using external mice, and the only pointing device that really works well for me is a TrackPoint (which can be embedded in quite a few input devices and even give feedback).

In the PC world, I saved that a long time ago by using TrackPoint keyboards, and switching to ThinkPad laptops (in the past by IBM, currently by Lenovo).
I’d long for a bluetooth version of the TrackPoint keyboard, but they are not available yet.

The most recent TrackPoint keyboard I bought was for my wife: she had similar RSI issues, so I bought a full size 31P9304 USB TrackPoint keyboard with numeric keypad for her.
Like me, she doesn’t use trachkpoint
Before that, I bought a pair of 31P9490 USB keyboards that matched my T42p keyboard layout.
They even designed a USB keyboard almost matching my current T61p keyboard layout – excluding touchpad – for a very offordable price of USD 59.

In fact, I still own my two original black model 01K1220/KPD8923 102-key PS/2 TrackPoint IV keyboards. Back then they cost like more than USD 400 a piece. They are still manufactured by Unicomp and sold now as EnduraPro PS2 for USD 99 a piece (either as PS/2 or USB keyboard).
They have been used a lot over time, and still – after 15 tears of use – they are in good condition.
Given the right USB to PS/2 Y-Adapter,  you can even use them on modern equipment that goes without PS/2 connections.

I could fill a book by writing about input devices, but it looks like Dan’s Data did a good job on that already.

When I left the  Mac world, they were about to introduce the iMac G3: the first iMac with USB support.
Before that, the only option you had was Apple keyboards, and I already wrote I dislike them.

So: I love TrackPoint keyboards, wanting to use them on the Mac Mini Server.
I ran some tests, and I’m glad that all of them worked well with the USB port on the Mac Mini.

The Mac Mini Server is hooked to a HDTV in our media room.
Which is great, as it natively displays 720p and 1080i both at 50 Hz.

There is also a regular PC running Windows attached to the same HDTV, and that one had a lot more video options, especially when using the NVIDIA Custom Resolutions or ATI registry based custom resolutions.

I wanted to be able to run at least these common resolutions supported by my HDTV:

  • 768p (1360 or 1366 x 768 both 16:9) at 50 Hz
  • 900p (1440 x 900 or 1600 x 900) at 50 Hz

A bit of research found the tool SwitchResX by  Stéphane Madrau.
For me the most important function is that it can add custom resolutions to the list of display resolutions. But it has other features too.

Well: after a bit of twiddling, it added 1360 x 768 at 50 Hz and 1600 x 916 at 50 Hz for me.

To stretch it even further (and because I love my T61p keyboard and 1920 x 768 screen so much), I’d wanted to operate the Mac Mini Server remotely.
I tried a few options, and the most important feature there are to be able to

  • send all of the keys (including Shift, Ctrl, Alt/Option, and Windows/Command) to the Mac
  • quickly switch between the Mac and Windows session

The easiest way to do that is to have the remote desktop software to be not full screen (full screen makes it harder to switch).
Which needed me to get a video resolution at the Mac Mini Server of almost 1920 pixels wide.

The cool thing is that the HD Display Resolutions list contains this interesting resolution:

  • 1888 x 1080 at 50 Hz

The cool thing is that SwitchResX added this resolution to my list without any problem (just a reboot, which is always needed to test a custom resolution).

SwitchResX is really cheap, so for a price of merely EUR 14 (excluding VAT), I am now completely set!

A future step is to virtualize my Mac development to run on an ESXi server.
Easier backups, but officially not supported. We will see :-)

–jeroen

via: What is SwitchResX ?

10 Responses to “SwitchResX helped me switch my Mac machine to 1360×768 and 1888×1062”

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  2. […] Apple MacBook still don’t come with a TrackPoint (and having suffered from RSI, that is about the only pointing device I can use) there are only two options for […]

  3. […] to move my iOS dev env from my Mac Mini Server dev env over to this fully loaded 13.3 inch MacBook Air model (1.8GHz Dual-Core Intel Core i7 / 4GB […]

  4. […] Delphi Tage PS2: Now it probably is more clear why I bought and installed my Mac Mini Server last year :) Rate this: Share this:LinkedInTwitterFacebookStumbleUponDiggRedditEmailPrintLike this:LikeBe […]

  5. […] was in fact the main reason I bought a Mac Mini Server last year: it had 2 HDD drives built in and no […]

  6. Fabricio said

    Mister, you can use that touchpads as a mouse? And that trackpoints?
    You’re the second person I knew in my entire life that like to use touchpads.
    The one in my Dell laptop I don’t use for almost 2 years now.

    • jpluimers said

      Actually I have switched off all the touchbads of my ThinkPads; I *only* use the TrackPoint stick, *not* the touchpad.
      –jeroen

      PS: mispelling touchbads is of course intentional

      • Fabricio said

        The best alternative point device that I got my hands and liked is a trackball…. The precision is awesome.

        But those are difficult to find here in Brazil and were very expensive too last time I bored to check about it.

        I once used a trackpoint, but that was very lousy and I loathed it. So I never bothered to think about them until today.

        Don’t know your timezone, but here hour is GMT-2 after applied DST setting (officially is GMT-3).

        • jpluimers said

          I’ve the same with trackpoints that you have with trackballs: I tried various trackballs, they still give me RSI, are difficult for me to handle and most importantly: make me take away my hand from the keyboard.
          I don’t get your timezone comment, but I live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, which is currently at GMT+1 (summer: GMT+2); here is a nice list of timezones: http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/
          –jeroen

      • Fabricio said

        The timezone comment was a leftover of a joke that I planned to do (because ‘today’ in the comment was about becoming ‘yesterday’ – it was written at 23:50 here) but haven’t.

        I’ll look for a trackball next year, possibly a Genius or Logitech one – is difficult to find a MS one (and they are more expensive than the rest). This is because the space I have here in the desk ;-)

        I didn’t knew that existed really useful trackpoints, maybe I give them a 2nd chance. Until there, my MS Wireless Mouse 3000 will rule ;-)

        Best regards and
        A great 2011 for you, Jeroen.
        Fabricio

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