Sunday, 19 July 2009

Putting Mint 7 On The Big (Well, Bigger) Screen.

Today I decided that it would be nice to see Mint on a much bigger screen than my little Eee 900’s.

Now, the TV has a VGA port on the back, the Eee has one on it’s right side. All I need is a cable.

So, I popped off to Argos and bought a Belkin Monitor Cable.

£25 FOR A CABLE!!! *falls over*

After being brought round by a member of staff, I managed to justify the purchase by telling myself “it is well made and feels nice and sturdy and I’ll never have to buy another one…”. I hope.

So I got home and had a cup of tea to steady my nerves and then fired up the Eee and the TV. Then I plugged the cable in and switched the TV’s source to PC.

Now, at this point I made mistakes. Lots of them. I assumed that by going to System > Preferences > Display, I would be able to configure it.

Stupid boy…

I spent ages lost in a pair of screens that were somehow joined together, wondering where my pointer had gone and thinking “all I want is big screen Mint. If I have it on the big screen, I won’t need it on the little one.”

I managed to get it sort of right, but the screen resolution was stuck at 800x600 on both screens.

The answer to what I wanted was fairly simple. And I found it in Synaptic.

I installed the gnome-randr-applet and added it to the panel.

To add applets to the panel, right click an empty space on the panel > Add To Panel and choose from the list.

The new applet is called Display Geometry Switcher.

With that added, it was a simple case of logging out and then back in again and choosing the resolution I wanted (1320×768) by left clicking the applet.

When I choose that resolution, the Eee’s screen switches off. That’s fine.

A word of warning, when you log out, the login page will not let you see what you are typing. Just the login page. This doesn’t affect anything else. I don’t know why.

And here it is. Not a particularly good photo, but there you go.

You can’t really see it here, but the display is nice and crisp. I’m very impressed.

And when you want to remove the cable, either log out (hit CTRL+ALT+Backspace) and remove it or change the resolution using the applet so that the Eee’s screen comes back on.

So, there you are. Now, what I really need is a wireless keyboard with built in touchpad (which should work out of the box with Mint) so I can sit on the sofa with my Eee under the TV…

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