While in the States, I bought some new toys for myself, including a Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor. That’s a long and imposing name for what could be more easily called a Magic Invisible Monitor Cable. But then Microsoft have never been famous for catchy marketing.
The adaptor plugs into a spare HDMI socket on your TV, and then allows you to use the screen to mirror the display from your laptop. We already have a Chromecast doing roughly the same into one of the other HDMI sockets, but the Wireless Display Adaptor is a bit more powerful.
With the Chromecast, you’re limited to a few apps that stream video; you can use it to play Youtube videos and not much else in Singapore. In the US you could use it to watch Netflix or Hulu, but that’s pretty useless here with the regional restrictions that come into play.
The Microsoft Wireless Display Adaptor (can we just refer to it as the MWDA?) allows you to put whatever is on thr screen of your laptop on the big TV. That means that I can get comfortable on the sofa editing photos, and easily show my wife what I’m doing without her having to crane her neck over my screen. I could do that before with a wireless keyboard and mouse, but that meant peering at applications on a screen on the other side of the room, which sucks when there’s lots of intricate menus and controls, as in Lightroom, my photographic software of choice.
Now, I can use the laptop to play around with photos and have a decent way to manipulate things without straining my eyes. Wife’s happy, and happy wife means happy life.
In turn, this makes the little Apple Mac Mini on the shelf rather redundant. It’s only really useful now as a connection to the enormous hard drive all my photos are on, and as something to plug my DVD drive into. But if I had a way to get the DVD player attached to the network, I could get rid of the little computer. It’s sad not to be loyal to hardware, but it’s been showing its age recently (or else it’s clogged up with old data, which means much the same thing). We’re in an awkward transition period where not all media is available over the internet (all my comedy rarities are on DVD) but when that’s over, I’ll have far fewer cables snaking around the back of the television. That in turn should help baby proof the flat.
There’s a few downsides to the MWDA. No, that still doesn’t feel right. It’s only compatible with Android and Windows devices, which renders it useless for talking to the family iPad. And I haven’t figured out how to use the TV as a second screen for my laptop, rather than just mirror displays, if that’s even possible. But thus far it’s been a taste of the future, or at least a future.
Hmm. My parents were probably impressed when they got a man on the Moon. I’m excited when I don’t need to plug my laptop into my TV. How times change.